Self Development By Mae Davies / October 20, 2014 Most (if not all) of us would consider ourselves successful if we were rich, famous, and married with kids. Some would be satisfied with having a job, a house, and a car. These people are unlikely to want more as they feel they have all they would ever want already. While there’s nothing wrong in feeling so if you’ve achieved such success, know that it can cause you to get stuck in your comfort zone and thereby render you unable to learn the other ways to improve yourself and your life. A person’s comfort zone can be described as the behavioral state in which he acts, speaks, and thinks in a set of limited ways that deliver a steady level of performance without putting himself unwittingly at risk of failure. In this zone, he creates mental boundaries, where he behaves with a self-fabricated sense of security. If you’ve established your own comfort zone, it’s likely your tendency would be to stay within it and not explore new things. You won’t be able to gain even more knowledge that you can use to improve your life if you refuse to explore new things. You’d be able to muster the courage to explore new things only after you learn how to step out of your comfort zone. But we aren’t telling you to become a daredevil, who would be willing to do anything, no matter how dangerous, just because you believe you can do it. There’s a fine line between bravery and recklessness, which you should be aware of and not cross in order to truly improve yourself and your life. For example, if you’re a single woman in your mid-40s, who would like to pursue a new hobby, it would be in your best interest to take up photography, graphic design, or painting rather than skateboarding, bicycle motocross (BMX), or parkour, unless you wouldn’t mind putting yourself at risk of hurting yourself or worse. Here are some other ways you can step out of your comfort zone that we believe can help you improve yourself and your life: Volunteer Regardless of the cause for which you choose to volunteer, you’ll be doing work that would be challenging but good for you and many other people. For example, if you join a local soup kitchen, you’d be working on your feet for several hours a week for no pay, but not only will you learn how to prepare meals for large groups of people, but you’ll also learn about the less fortunate members of your community and how best to help them. Make friends Make friends with people who are nothing like the current friends you have. By doing so, you may learn about different cultures, enabling you to gain even more knowledge that you can use to improve yourself and your life. For example, if you befriend a catholic Spaniard, he may teach you about the Church and make you stronger spiritually. Travel alone Doing so is a way you can learn about different cultures while learning about how to best take care of yourself. For example, Venice is known for its maze-like network of alleys, so if you travel here, you may learn about how to navigate a place and find the things you need by yourself. It was Oscar Wilde himself who said this about having a comfort zone: “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” Personally, there’s nothing wrong with avoiding the stress brought about by uncertainty, but if always making yourself comfortable causes you to not change for the better, you should occasionally step out of your comfort zone if not abandon it. Given the examples of ways to improve yourself and your life that begins with stepping out of your comfort zone, we hope to encourage you to do so.