November 30, 2011

The funny thing about the comfort zone



I've probably mentioned the "comfort zone" 20 times on this blog. Because understanding your comfort zone is an important step to becoming a better speaker.

What is the comfort zone, exactly?

It's that place where everything comes easily, there's no stress or anxiety, and you're not challenged, not stretched, not pushed.

So, if the comfort zone is so great (and yeah, it is), why would we want to get out of it?

Most of us don't want to get out of our comfort zones. Because they're comfortable. Hello.

But if you want to get better at anything, be it basketball, singing, playing the drums, speaking a foreign language, riding a unicycle, rock climbing, baking, parenting or public speaking, you can't stay in the comfortable place.

There is always another level past the level where you are now. There is always another level of skill, another level of experience, another level of intuition that comes with first practicing what you know, and then trying new things.

As you stretch yourself into new areas (shooting the ball from farther away, taking on more complicated grammar and tenses, making your own puff pastry...) your new skills, experiences and knowledge will make you better. You will become more well-rounded, more complete, more of an expert.

And you will also become more comfortable.

Because every time you stretch yourself, you eventually get comfortable at the new level! Things that previously seemed difficult and scary are now easy again. And so the cycle continues.

There is always a new comfort zone. Your task is to challenge it and escape it, as many times as it takes to keep learning, growing and improving.

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