There’s an interesting biological, survival instinct present in almost all animals, including humans: Stay inside your comfort zone.
As we progress through life, we accumulate knowledge and experience. These get incorporated into and define our comfort zone. Anything new is effectively outside of it, until we reach a certain level of familiarization, understanding and comfort. Then it’s in. This then is how we increase our comfort zone or to be more precise, how we grow.
Sometimes when we think of a new idea or possibility that is way outside of our base of experience, this mechanism kicks in and makes us resist – because it’s outside of our comfort zone. So we we dismiss it and look for an idea that is more comfortable. So instead of progressing and growing, we look for an easier idea that we feel more comfort with. If we keep doing this, we stifle our growth. In general, most things that we feel are too risky or challenging, we avoid and thereby are never attained.
Here it is on a bumper sticker: Everything you strive for is outside your comfort zone.
To achieve what you want means growing – gaining new knowledge and experience; sometimes fighting your natural instincts in order to get there.
On a macro scale, it’s our quest for knowledge and its application that has driven the advancement of every aspect of human development. On a micro level, it’s what drives the advancement of every individual. So, given that this is a key element of growth, how do we expand it?
- Start by finding out where the gaps in your knowledge are
- What strategies do you need to explore to fill these gaps effectively?
- How do you personally deal with the process of learning and applying new knowledge?
Get comfortable with the idea of gaining knowledge. The gap between wherever you are in life and where you want to be is primarily defined by your knowledge gap. The more knowledge you have about your particular area of interest, the more comfortable you will be dealing and engaging with it.
In the business world, when we talk about experience we are talking about having in-depth exposure to something. Preferably where we have had to deal or grapple with multiple aspects of a concept, process or operation. Mere exposure does not really qualify as experience. For example, most people have had exposure to mountain climbing say. The know the term and understand what’s involved more or less. To say they are experienced would not be true unless they had actually faced the challenges and the dangers involved.
In this case, it is not knowledge of mountain climbing that increases ones comfort zone but the experience of it.
Chances are this is an area of challenge.