Growing up, my grandfather had this mantra he would always say, "Life is too short, eat your dessert first"...Not only is that statement 100% my life (ice cream sandwiches = life), but I used to sit and ponder on that first part. "Life is too short"....
Even from a very young age, I have always seemed to just be okay with change and being the first to do or try something new. For others, this may not be the case, and the fear of leaving their comfort zone is unimaginable.
That always used to blow my mind, and I remember never understanding why people were so afraid to do something, especially when it was something they really wanted to do.
I've also always been interested in understanding human behavior, and why people react certain ways, or behave a certain way, so this topic was something I wanted to do, and then did extensive learning and research on. (Books, Podcasts, Journaling, Talking to others, Inner Work....you name it)
From what I've gathered...
Staying in a comfort zone is not a one size fits all scenario for everyone.
For example, one person may find that taking risks, not settling down, or trying new things is absolutely horrifying. Whereas another person may find that not trying new things, settling down, and not taking risks is absolutely horrifying.
It is all based on our past experiences, our perceptions, how we have been raised and educated, what we have been exposed to, patterns we are used to, and certain beliefs we may currently have.
Regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall within, this all stems from an ego-centered way of thinking...
To break it down, think of your ego as like an overbearing parent, sheltering you in a way.
The ego is all about comfort, security, and control, trying to maintain life the way it currently is. Anything that might be a disruption to your comfort, security, or control, is a threat to the ego, putting you in "fight or flight" mode - which then keeps you in your comfort zone to avoid that change.
In order to avoid that change, we then resist any way we can.
We resist moving to a new place, starting a new job, leaving that relationship, trying that new hobby, putting ourselves out there, and the list goes on and on. We convince ourselves that the situation we are currently in is better than facing the unknown.
Ultimately, the intention of the ego is to keep us safe and avoid us from experiencing discomfort, loss of approval from others, changing from what is comfortable, etc. And while yes we appreciate that, sometimes we would like to pursue something, without feeling that crippling fear.
Now, on to move past that....
Taking that leap, means you have awareness and acceptance of the situation you are pursuing. In order to navigate the fear of the unknown, you must be willing to experience the unknown.
Yes it's scary AF at first, but you are already aware that this is a scary thing, you're accepting that you're doing it anyways, all the while proving to yourself that there is nothing to be afraid of. It's about knowing the steps you need to take, when you're ready to make that change.
Make one effort every day, to do something that is not part of your typical routine. Put yourself out there, and make a move, whatever that move may be. It can be something as big as literally moving, or as small as saying hi to a stranger. You may be surprised in what may come of that effort.
By challenging your comfort zone consistently, you will realize that you will eventually replace fear and threat, with trust, courage, and strength. You will eventually acknowledge and accept that there is no way you can actually control what the future holds, and in that understanding, you will allow yourself to see the other side of your comfort zone.
Remember the quote from the beginning?...Life IS too short. You have nothing to lose, but the opportunities you miss out on by not going for what you truly want in life.