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Beyond the Comfort Zone, Pt. I – Got Fear?

May 4, 2009


As Featured On EzineArticles

If we look back in our lives, we may experience regret. If we look ahead, we might feel anxious. So, if nothing else exists except the now, then we make our choices, moment by moment. We live the consequences of these choices each day. They form our life path.

Our Comfort Zone

You program what is right for you in this moment. If it changes tomorrow, then change to match it. There is nothing dishonorable about change. –John-Roger

What then do we choose? Meet a friend for dinner or watch TV? Go to a concert or listen to our Ipod? Take risks or avoid them?

There is a tendency to make choices nestled in the place where the well known and well worn, the safe and secure, the familiar and the repeated reside. That place, is commonly known as our comfort zone.

We like it there. In fact, some seldom stray too far from it. And some never leave. Why?

When we attempt to leave our comfort zone, we may encounter fear.

Fear Limits

If you remain in your comfort zone you will not go any further. –Catherine Pulsifer

Have you noticed something funny about this most familiar emotion? Fear arises from not actually doing what we fear, but from anticipating what will occur if we do it. Most of us don’t even get near doing what we fear.

Not only that, we also look around for something else to fear. And that’s not difficult to find in modern media, our environment or in our own imagination.

Fear limits movement. It dampens our enthusiasm. It stops us from trying.

Fear Energizes

Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself––nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. –Franklin D. Rossevelt

But fear, for all its bad rap, is really just energy. To help us break the barriers of the comfort zone, we need to make fear work for us. The adrenaline and cortisol that get released into our bloodstream via fear, heighten our senses. It helps us comprehend the fresh data inherent in any new situation.

Fear also sharpens our focus. We need to laser all of our powers on the new situation. When we’re in that mindset, irrelevant data is ignored and relevant intelligence gets processed.

Although trying to accomplish complex activities while being fearful may not be ideal (being excited and composed is better), it can be the emotion we have to work with at the start. It can be used to our advantage. It can provide an environment for action.

So, once we move toward the experience, the energy of fear transforms from an obstacle to an aid—and propels us toward our journey beyond the comfort zone.

© Ryan E. Yip, Ph.D., ELN Coaching. All rights reserved.

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