Discomfort IS Growth

August 10, 2023

Written by Edgar Ulloa

Growing up we’re taught that we should strive to be as comfortable as possible. Have a high-paying career so we don’t stress about money, buy a nice house so our family has ample space, and establish a well thought-out routine that we follow every day. This represents goals and milestones that society has ingrained in our minds since we were young. While there’s nothing wrong with working to achieve those goals, that might not necessarily be the best way to unlock our greatest potential. What happens if we do the opposite? What if, instead of avoiding or even tolerating discomfort, we sought it out? What if our greatest self is hidden behind all of that discomfort, risk, and fear.

We each have different zones that we experience during our lifetimes. What lies in each zone differs from person to person, but the general concept of these zones applies to everyone. The first zone is where society tells us we should be. This is the Comfort Zone (CZ). This is where we’re familiar with our environment, we feel security in knowing that everything in this zone is predictable and easy. There is no uncertainty in the CZ. 

Once we push past the Comfort Zone we arrive at the Fear Zone (FZ). Most people never get past the FZ. The Fear Zone is, as the name implies, very scary. The FZ consists of all the things that stop us from moving forward and make us want to return to refuge in the Comfort Zone. In the FZ we make excuses, lack self-confidence, are afraid of failure, and can even be paralyzed by other people’s perception of us. It is of utmost importance that we keep moving forward and let go of all of the fear that prevents us from unlocking our greatest potential.

The next zone, known as the Learning Zone (LZ), is where the magic begins. In the LZ we increase our knowledge on new topics and maybe even acquire a new skill. This newfound knowledge and skill translates into higher self-confidence and even enhances our motivation to keep pushing ourselves past our own perceived limits. The best byproduct of the LZ is the expansion of our Comfort Zone. We can now overcome challenges that previously seemed impossible with ease and feel proud of ourselves for pushing past the Fear Zone and into our newly expanded horizons.

Finally, we have the Growth Zone (GZ). Our old goals and ambitions are a thing of the past and we can set new goals. We become more creative in how we tackle adversity and have new skills to face new challenges. Being in the GZ helps us discover purpose, gain fulfillment, and be proactive in living out our dreams. We are one step closer to fulfilling our maximum potential.

While there is nothing wrong with working hard to achieve a comfortable life, regularly seeking out discomfort is a powerful tool we can use to improve ourselves and those around us. The more we use this tool, the more motivated and confident we are to keep using it and to keep evolving into our best self. The possibilities are endless and we never know what we can achieve until we push past all of the discomfort, risk, and fear that blocks our path forward.