The comfort zone is a psychological state where one feels safe or at ease and without stress or anxiety.
Judith Bardwick, the author of “Danger in the Comfort Zone,” defines the term as “a behavioral state where a person operates in an anxiety-neutral position.” It’s a perceived certainty where we believe we have access to all we need — we feel we have some control.
This neutral state is both natural and human — our brain is lazy and leans toward the easiest path. We can continue living on autopilot or embrace discomfort to reap more significant rewards. Simply put: do you want to live or to thrive?
Research has demonstrated that a state of relative comfort creates a consistent and steady performance. However, relative anxiety — a state where our stress level is higher than normal — can maximize your performance. Conversely, too much anxiety drops your productivity off.
The challenge is finding what Robert Yerkes and John Dodson called “Optimal Anxiety” — the sweet-spot between arousal and performance.
Your brain, just like your body, needs training. Neurons that are weak, unused, or that don’t fit the job are pruned. Neurons that are exercised get stronger and develop more connections.
“Discomfort may be a doorway; don’t run from it.” ― Joseph Deitch
Your life is waiting at the other side of your comfort zone.