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Conventional Wisdom about Stepping out of your Comfort Zone
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Will Offline
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Conventional Wisdom about Stepping out of your Comfort Zone

I've had many people tell me that you need to do things that are uncomfortable in order to grow or whatever, but I've recently been thinking that you don't actually need to. Either that, or the degree to which you have to be uncomfortable is so little that it seems insignificant but adds up over time.

So, like, you have to go without things that make you comfortable or you have to fill roles that you don't totally find comfortable at first, and then you find them comfortable later.

I realized that I feel totally comfortable doing many crazy, extraordinary things that others would never dare do and that I never felt uncomfortable as I the things I did became crazier. So it's certainly not true that you need to do uncomfortable things to grow.

And then when I look at the times when this conventional wisdom has seemed correct, I see that in those cases, I was uncomfortable because of something artificial. I always felt stupid trying to imitate the real Spanish accent in Spanish class when everyone else spoke with disgusting English accents, but then I realized that I had to speak loudly and Spanishly in order to speak correctly. I only felt weird because everyone else had been speaking differently.

This is reminding me of the idea of habits in the Alexander Technique. Before we get civilized and mess with the natural habits, everything works. Whatever's comfortable is healthy. When everything starts changing unnaturally quickly, we learn that we cannot trust our instincts and we learn that we have to work through pain, we develop unhealthy habits that seem comfortable. It looks like that's the only time when we need to do something uncomfortable in order for it to become comfortable. Considering how messed-up we are, however, I think that the conventional wisdom is, unfortunately, generally correct.
01-23-2008 05:34 AM
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What about this: we should stray outside of our comfort zone when we are comfortable with that. Yes, there is a difference between that and being comfortable. Doing anything you'd rather not do is usually easier if you are self motivated to do it.
01-24-2008 03:48 AM
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SoulRiser Offline
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I've also been thinking about this same thing, and I agree with everything you just said. Also, it depends on a person's definition of "grow". I mean, stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something like joining the military will make you a different person, most likely, but that doesn't guarantee that it'll be a better person than you were before, or that it won't cause more harm than good.

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01-24-2008 05:29 AM
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Will Offline
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Re: Conventional Wisdom about Stepping out of your Comfort Zone

I figured it out! If you willingly step or even jump out of your comfort zone, you must have somehow gotten more comfortable with the idea. Even if you find it uncomfortable, it can't be too bad because you actually are comfortable with the idea of doing something uncomfortable. Yeah, it gets really philosophical here; if you're comfortable doing something uncomfortable, isn't it really comfortable? They cancel out either way, I think, so my explanation works either way.

But some people try to speed up the process by pushing you out. The best example I can think of is when schoolchildren are required to present orally about an assigned topic. They are afraid of speaking publicly, and they're not even confident about their topic—They're afraid of making factual mistakes or they're afraid their topic isn't organized properly because they didn't prepare it enough because it's a stupid topic that doesn't interest them that they were required to develop in a short period of time.

For now, let's not question the value of being able to speak about something stupid that you don't totally understand or with which you may not totally agree. When I was put in this situation, I spoke terribly, I was really embarassed, and I didn't feel like I got better at speaking. Later, when I found things about which I really wanted to speak, I consciously improved my speaking ability. I was more confident of myself because I knew what I was talking about, so I realized that I should speak more loudly and fluently.
02-19-2008 03:03 PM
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Re: Conventional Wisdom about Stepping out of your Comfort Zone

Just like to point out, Will, that's what I said but you were more verbose.
02-20-2008 11:36 AM
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Will Offline
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Re: Conventional Wisdom about Stepping out of your Comfort Zone

Kirby Wrote:Just like to point out, Will, that's what I said but you were more verbose.
Oh, right, that is. I must have noticed this before and just not posted it then and forgotten, and I didn't reread your post before posting my most recent one. Oops
02-20-2008 12:12 PM
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SoulRiser Offline
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Re: Conventional Wisdom about Stepping out of your Comfort Zone

It's still true though. I'd never have considered going to a foreign country for any reason, especially not alone... but while the idea is still a bit scary, I'm going to do it anyway because I want to. If I didn't want to, but someone was trying to make me do it "for my own good", I wouldn't be OK with it, and would probably refuse to go.

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02-20-2008 08:02 PM
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Goli[insane?] Offline
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Re: Conventional Wisdom about Stepping out of your Comfort Zone

My health teacher was talking about comfort zones the other day. He said that they should make school optional, then everyone would come and no one could complain about being there. When asked why people would come he said, "You guys may be young, but you aren't idiots. Every single person in this room knows they can't do shit in life without an education" =/ I agree with the education, but not the school part.

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02-21-2008 01:44 AM
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youvebeenthunderstruck Offline
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Re: Conventional Wisdom about Stepping out of your Comfort Zone

Goli[insane?] Wrote:My health teacher was talking about comfort zones the other day. He said that they should make school optional

Fucking win.

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02-21-2008 08:44 AM
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NowhereWoman Offline
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Re: Conventional Wisdom about Stepping out of your Comfort Zone

Will Wrote:The best example I can think of is when schoolchildren are required to present orally about an assigned topic. They are afraid of speaking publicly, and they're not even confident about their topic—They're afraid of making factual mistakes or they're afraid their topic isn't organized properly because they didn't prepare it enough because it's a stupid topic that doesn't interest them that they were required to develop in a short period of time.

This is so true. I am not afraid of speaking in public, per say, but I'm extremely worried about presenting a topic I don't know very well or haven't researched enough.
I'm more afraid that I'll present false information than that I'll look stupid at the front of the class.
I actually think that that's more important. I'd rather an army general give the right coordinates than look nice and use good diction when commanding troops. Razz

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12-30-2009 02:39 PM
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OmegaWolf747 Offline
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RE: Conventional Wisdom about Stepping out of your Comfort Zone

It's good to step out of one's comfort zone, but only when one feels ready.

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04-25-2012 10:34 AM
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