Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone
Do you ever feel that you're stuck in a rut? Most people get this feeling at some point in their working lives. When we fall into predictable routines and get too comfortable in our roles, we tend to "play it safe." We feel bored and less fulfilled, and we end up achieving only a fraction of what we're capable of.
This is why it's so important to push yourself regularly, and to try new things. Challenges, whether running a marathon or learning a new skill, can bring a sense of power and exhilaration. When challenged, we feel fully alive and engaged, because we're actively participating in life, and we're doing our best to achieve our full potential.
In this article, we'll look at why challenge is so important, and we'll explore how you can push yourself in all aspects of your life.
The Importance of Staying Challenged
Stop and think about what happens when you "rest on your laurels" and get too comfortable in your career.
Your knowledge and skills can stagnate, making you less competitive in the job market. You put less effort into spotting new opportunities or engaging in new ways of thinking, and you may "coast" at work. You might also become increasingly afraid of taking risks, or of doing anything that makes you uncomfortable or that undermines other people's good opinions of your reliability.
One of the problems with getting too comfortable is that it can affect your performance. When you're working on tasks that you're extremely familiar with, it can be tempting to do the bare minimum to get by. This can eventually have a negative impact on your reputation, your team, and even your career.
Doing new things can make you feel acutely uncomfortable – after all, you're putting yourself into unfamiliar situations, and you don't know how you'll perform. However, you grow as a human being when you step outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself to pursue new opportunities, ideas, skills, and relationships.
Another benefit is improved performance. The Inverted-U Model shows that, when pressure is at the right level, people's performance increases. When you learn a new skill, or put yourself in an unusual situation, you can create an optimal level of pressure that pushes you to perform at your best....