The Pros and Cons of the Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone (Photo credit: Trevor Blake)

One of the common themes that comes up in the books I read is the idea of “the comfort zone.”  Brett and Alex Harris consistently encourage teens step outside of their comfort zones in order to grow and accomplish big things.  On the other hand, Marcus Buckingham says that it’s a myth to think that people need to step out of their comfort zones in order to grow.  Instead, he encourages people to push themselves within the bounds of their individual comfort zones.  So which is it?  Is the comfort zone a limiting device we use to hold ourselves back, or indication of our innate talents and abilities?

 As our culture does these days, when I decided to write this post, I looked up the phrase “comfort zone” on Wikipedia.  Here’s the opening sentence:

“The comfort zone is a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.”   Continue reading