I love my comfort zone. To me, that’s where the real magic happens.
In my comfort zone, I have my family, friends, work, music, books, movies, bike, gym, park, you name it. Everything I love.
And from that place of safety, I’m more open to trying new things and taking risks.
I’ve never believed the idea of that silly little drawing. You know what I’m talking about, right?
- “Your comfort zone.” A little circle.
- “Where the magic happens.” A big circle that stands for the promise of success.
As if “magic” only happens when you step outside your comfort zone; that’s ridiculous. And while we’re at it; why pretend as if your comfort zone is bad? It’s this little circle displayed against the bigger “magical” circle.
Sure, I’m all about pushing yourself, trying new things, moving forward, growing, etc. But in contrast to many popular self-help people, I don’t believe the comfort zone is a bad thing.
Call me a pessimist. Call me a stoic. But more than anything, I’m merely a practical person.
And practically speaking, you don’t even want to make a huge leap outside your comfort zone. In fact, I believe in the slow road to “magic.”
Where’s The Magic People Talk About?
I’ve found that I do my best work when I don’t worry about money, finding new friends, getting familiar with a new environment, and anything else that is related to always moving around.
But don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I prefer to stay put. Stagnation is a death sentence to me.
I believe that there are different phases to life. Sometimes, you take it easy, work on your skills, your character — you invest in yourself.
And sometimes, you just go out there and take a chance. Life’s too short to be a wimp.
But those two things are interconnected. If you don’t work on yourself, and if you lack self-confidence, you will never take a risk.
For years I wanted to do what I’m doing now. But instead of jumping out of my comfort zone (which was scary), I slowly took on new and bigger challenges.
First, I got two degrees in business. Then, I started a business together with my father. That was in 2010. And after two years of working in that business for six or seven days a week, I started doing freelance marketing work.
Again, after a few years of freelancing and starting (and failing) other businesses on my own, I took a job at a research advisory firm because I wanted to know how it is to work for a major corporation.
And after doing that for a year and a half, I finally decided to write and talk about productivity, career, and entrepreneurship on the internet.
By then, I‘d been doing the things I write about for more than 10 years. And yet, I don’t have all the answers—I just share the stuff I’ve learned.
So it would be ridiculous if I would join people who scream: “If you want to be successful, all you have to do is step outside your comfort zone. NOW!”
Well, have you ever stepped outside your comfort zone? Even just a little bit counts. And what did you find? A leprechaun with a bag of money?
That comfort zone shit is just a story. It might motivate some people, but you don’t have to believe it if you don’t want to. It’s just like when people claim you have to wake up early if you want to be successful. Says who?
I believe this: If you step outside your comfort zone, there’s only more work waiting for you. It’s not fancy at all. There’s no magic involved. Just blood, sweat, and tears.
Work Your Way Up From A Place Of Comfort
I think that most people who read these types of articles want to achieve something. Maybe you want to quit your job, start a business, grow your business, become an artist, publish a book, or whatever.
And you probably also know that it’s not easy. So why do you make things even harder for yourself by doing shit that makes you very uncomfortable?
Instead, start from the very bottom. Build a strong foundation. Get comfortable before you do scary stuff.
“How does that foundation look like?”
If you want to live stress-free, you need enough money in your savings account so you can live and eat for six months in case things go south—see it as a fail-safe system. Again, that’s my practical mind speaking for me.
Make some calculations and figure your what that number is for you. And don’t even think about taking a risk before you have that money in your savings account.
Also, build a skill set that’s worth something. One of the reasons I don’t care about money is that I trust my ability to find work. Even when I go broke tomorrow, I’ll find a way to get a job the next day. I’ve invested years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in my education.
Other things that complete your foundation:
- Family. If you don’t have a family, create one.
- Friends. You can’t be friends with everyone. Stick to a few people who also stick to you.
- Yourself. Consciously improve your body and mind. Go to bed a little stronger and wiser every night.
Lastly, don’t try to be something you’re not. If you’re an introvert, don’t pretend that you can work in a highly public-presenting job. If you’re an extrovert, don’t pretend you can work solo most of the time.
Stay close to yourself—there’s no point in pushing yourself so badly that your life becomes miserable.
In the end, we all need comfort: It’s one of our basic needs as human beings. But we also need growth. So whatever you do, don’t stay in your comfort zone for too long.
Try to keep moving forward every day: Even if it’s just a tiny step. No magic. Just consistency.