Today more so than ever, it’s easy to become a slave to comfort.
With just a swipe or a click, we can get nearly anything we want—food, entertainment, and even a date!.
And yet, just last week I spotted a quote that got me thinking, “Comfort is a drug, once you become addicted, forget about hopes and dreams.”
The quote is a modern-day clarion call.
It urges us to think critically about the habits and environments we’ve created and how they might be influencing our ambitions—or lack thereof.
Are you addicted to comfort?
If you are, please know you’re not alone, and it’s high time we discuss the perils of such an addiction and how to break free.
How is this showing up in your (and my) life? From the comfort of scrolling our phones in search of a virtual connection with someone we think we ‘know’ to ‘staying in our lanes’ in our careers because a subconscious limitation is keeping us there.
Be honest with yourself, take a second right now and check where your comfort zone ends.
Why Comfort Is So Tempting
Our brains are wired to seek out comfort. From an evolutionary standpoint, finding a ‘comfortable’ setting with readily available resources and minimal threats meant survival. However, in our modern society, this very instinct can become a pitfall. Comfort can lead to stagnation, complacency, and the death of innovation.
Can you imagine a world where everyone stayed within their comfort zones? For me, I’d miss adventure and expansion in all forms. The concept of the ‘comfort zone’ gained scientific backing from a 1908 psychological study by Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson. Their Yerkes-Dodson Law posited that an organism’s performance improves when under mild stress, but deteriorates when the stress becomes too much to handle. The key, then, is to find that ‘Goldilocks zone’—a state of optimal anxiety where you’re neither too comfortable nor too overwhelmed.
Consider that for a moment – mild stress improves our performance. Is this where the addiction begins? Research is minimal, yet we know that endorphins are released when stress occurs and that endorphins are addictive. So the more stressed we are…. The more endorphins are released and the more addicted we become?
The Cost of Comfort
When we avoid stepping out of our comfort zones, we miss the potential for significant personal and professional growth. According to ‘The Happiness Advantage‘ by Shawn Achor, stepping into challenges and overcoming them can lead to long-term happiness and a sense of purpose. Achor draws on positive psychology research to show that people who view challenges as opportunities tend to experience greater satisfaction in life. By staying in your comfort zone, you limit the breadth of experiences that could contribute to your personal and professional growth.
So how do you push beyond this invisible fence? The truth is, growth happens when you’re uncomfortable. Let’s consider the words of author Neale Donald Walsch: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”The allure of comfort is undeniably strong and once you realise it’s hindering your growth and dimming your hopes and dreams you will know it’s time to break free.
While it may feel like a daunting task, remember that the first step is the hardest. From there, it’s a domino effect of self-improvement, satisfaction, and new opportunities. So, take a deep breath and step out.
The world outside your comfort zone is a world of endless possibilities. Let’s not get addicted to comfort; let’s get addicted to growth.