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The Comfort Zone is Not Your Zone of Genius

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Comfort Zone - Your greatest growth is on the other side of your comfort zone. #ComfortZone #YourComfortZone #ComfortZoneQuotes

You’ve probably heard the quote, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Or some variation on that, right?

By nature of definition, we rarely grow from within our comfort zone, though it is also essential. The comfort zone is R&R for the next level of growth. It is the plateau before the next climb… where we recharge before our next valiant vision and ensuing effort.

Now this may be an uncomfortable conversation, so before we go much further it’s important to convey this fact: that we must each decide for ourselves what is just beyond our comfort zone. Only you can decide for yourself what is for you pushing beyond to your next level, and even if you wish to put forth the effort to do so.

Only you can decide if you will be happy and satisfied making — or not making — the effort that represents your aspirations and your next level of growth. So while this is absolutely true, what’s also true is that — without exception — we’re all capable of vastly more than we can imagine. The heights of human achievement against all odds bear witness to this truth. Beyond that, it is a matter of choice, will and passion.

Ultimately, we’re accountable to ourselves and our own conscience, which is why it’s imperative that we each choose our path and with how much intensity of focus we shall travel it. But in the end, it’s just you, your conscience and your relationship with your divinity… between you and God by whatever name you choose to use, or not.

“My definition of success is peace of mind obtained only through self satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you’re capable. And only you as an individual will know whether you did that or not.”
~John Wooten, Acclaimed head basketball coach, author, 1910-2010

The Lotus Hotel

Have you heard of the (fictional) but infamous Lotus Hotel featured in the young adult movie and book, Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan? It is a place where people get trapped in an illusory, sensuous rich world where time slips by as they live “the good life”, oblivious to the passing of time.

You may enjoy reading, listening to and/or watching the movies if you haven’t already. Our family enjoyed them numerous times as our kids were growing up. Rick Riordan is a great case study in being a mega successful author too. In this series, he very cleverly introduces the mythological characters of ancient Greece to the youth of today.

But back to the point of the share: that scene from The Lotus Hotel has always stuck with me as a very graphic depiction of how we can become entrapped in our luxuries and vices… often — usually — more than we know. And yes, even our comfort zones. Perhaps especially that because comfort is perceived as a good and desirable thing, obscuring the manner in which we might become trapped there.

Hypnotic Rhythm

In his book, ‘Outwitting the Devil‘, Napoleon Hill portrays the The Lotus Hotel effect in a different way. He calls it The Law of Hypnotic Rhythm, which redounds to the power of habit, including that this law can be used to uplift or depress progress.

“Your greatest growth lies on the other side of your comfort zone.”
~multiple authors

Time to Fly

What if these turbulent times are divine intervention intended to get our attention? The great hand of God, signaling a-okay… “You’ve come a long way, children. But there’s still greater work to do. Now it’s time to fly.” Then turning the hand over, pointer finger to thumb, to flick us out of the our comfort zones.

Or… the eagle of freedom, if you prefer, nudging us out of our cozy nest. Fledglings, ready to fly from the comfy of the known.

For what? Isn’t the purpose of our lives to be comfortable? To be happy?

Is it to awaken to our greater purpose, which isn’t easy or comfortable?

Perhaps the answer to all of this is, “YES!”

Consider where in your life your routine has gotten comfortable and predictable… and whether such a gentle rhythm fosters your greatest growth.

“Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.”
~Jim Rohn, motivational speaker, author, 1930-2009

“Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.” 
~Jim Rohn, motivational speaker, author, 1930-2009 #ComfortZone #JimRohnQuote #ZoneOfGenius #InTheZone #YourZone #ZoneOut

Makers Gotta Make

I’m big on making the most of my time. I know many of you creators are that way as well. We’re like nature in spring time… busy growing and doing.

We’re doers and makers… always knitting, crocheting, painting, doodling, writing down ideas, expanding on characters, cooking, ideating and creating something. Once you gain access to — and immerse in — the creative realm, it’s more engaging, fulfilling and captivating than consumption of entertainment and recreation.

Of course we enjoy that too… and especially the imaginative, creative aspects, and a good story. Always. Recreation, especially out in nature, is reorienting and essential for our nature. But beyond adequate time to rest the mind and feed the soul, many of us are driven to get busy creating more than recreating.

Makers gotta make.

And if we’re not creating on a given day, (including creating schedules, order and planning for making, chances are we’re not as centered in our most creative and productive self. That’s okay too. Rainy days help us appreciate the sunny ones all the more—and vice versa. So snuggle into the down days, rest and recharge.

Making the Most of Your Time

The more we make the most of each day, the more we make the most of our lives. That’s at the core of the iCreateDaily. Engaging in daily creativity… consciously creating each day is the way into a new kind of comfort zone.

The conscious creation part is important.

It’s easy for doers to get into the hypnotic rhythm of just creating, again… like nature in spring growing wild here, there and everywhere. If you’re not yet creating regularly, then establishing that rhythm is your next step.

For those who are already creating regularly, the next step is to being incorporating purpose into your creations. Begin to invoke more consciousness around the purpose of what we’re creating. These “children” you’re creating, what will they become and for whom.

Don’t overthink it. Don’t let thoughts get in the way of your creative enjoyment. Rather, put them to work for you to by inviting them to begin precipitating ideas into your mind.

Begin asking questions that may lead you to discoveries, such as:
“What will you become…? Who will you touch…? May purpose be revealed.”

Never underestimate the power of a day to create the life you wish to live.

Creators exchange the comfort zone for the flow zone… for the privilege of working in their zone of genius. One is to zone out, the other is to zone in.

Comfort, zones out. Creating, zones in.

Creatively Engaged or Unengaged?

Whenever I travel by air, I look forward to the hours of — mostly — uninterrupted work time. That’s X number of hours for creating and getting things done and usually with fewer interruptions and distractions.

Now and then I look up from my work in thought, or to do distance viewing to rest my eyes. It’s a familiar scene. So many people who use that time to sleep or play games like Angry Birds or Farmville.

Out of Sync With Self

Now it baffles me, for I cannot imagine wasting my time in that way. But then I remember that I used to be that way! There was a period in my life where I was living according to someone else’s version of what my life should be and it stifled my creative soul. So I sought diversions and immersions for escape.

Even then I could have immersed in productive pursuits in areas of interest instead of idle recreational zoning out and over eating (they often go hand-in-hand). But living out of accordance with my own creative soul had closed up imagination, ideation and creativity in favor of escapism.

To embrace more of the life we want will shed light on what doesn’t belong.
~LeAura Alderson,®

Life Out of Sync

Living out of accordance with your core could be expressed in thoughts along these lines, (and feel free to share yours as they come to mind):

  • “I’m not happy
  • “I need a distraction.”
  • “It’s easier to veg out.”
  • “I’m too tired to create.
  • “I’m not in love with my life.” 
  • “I need an escape from reality.”
  • “It’s not easy to get in the flow.”
  • “I don’t feel connected to purpose.”
  • “I don’t feel motivated to do anything.”

If you’re pumped and ready to create, you might make a quick stop by this article on making the most of your time.

Brain Breaks Vs. Brain Numbing

Now again, I am NOT advocating there be no brain breaks and recreation. Not at all. We all need those, and some folks may need more than others. Free time creates space in the mind and brain, and what one does during that idle time is individual and personal.

However, end of life conversations don’t typically include reminiscing fondly over “down time”. Those are just the sprinkles on the ice cream.

Playing games is a brain break that can create space for creativity to flow. However, most people who regularly fill up free time playing games or habitually watching TV, aren’t typically motivated or success oriented, rather, they’re stuck in a familiar consumption loop in the comfort zone.

Just be honest with yourself about what it is for you. Probe deeply, with objective curiosity. Consider that you are your soul, looking upon you the personality, lovingly, objectively and with clarity. What would your soul see and say to you?

To observe nature is to observe creativity, productivity and rest in a balanced, and harmonious rhythm.
~LeAura Alderson,®

It’s Rarely Black and White

Remember, ANY “general” statements are just that — generalities, and thus have their exceptions. Only you know the truth for you, so your task is to discern that to the best of your ability at any given time. The more we are in integrity with ourselves the more we are in alignment with universal flow and greater creativity and harmony.

“Make each day your masterpiece.”
~John Wooden, basketball coach, author, 1910-2010

What is on the Other Side of Your Current Comfort Zone?

Consider what is just one thing that you’ve thought about doing and wanted to do but didn’t because it was a stretch for you?

An example of stepping out of your comfort zone might be to create a social page for your business aspirations. If you’re already have a teachable skill, it might be to create a course to sell that will help others learn that craft.

There are a number of platforms that make it simple to turn your knowledge into a course, such a Teachable. There are many free and inexpensive courses, such as those offered by CreativeLive, that can help you leap out of the comfort zone into a safety net and armed with a plan of action.

We can always change course but we can never reclaim lost time.

But don’t waste time mourning the loss. Dwelling on what isn’t keeps us trapped in the past and robs us of our present and future.

Instead taking immediate and positive action is the greatest salve to loss.

“Life is a constant fight against your comfort zone. You push it… it pushes back. What’s the fear that is holding you back? What are you not saying or doing because it’s outside your comfort zone? Don’t try to get rid of fear. Accept that you will be afraid, and then go do it anyway.”
~Yubing Zhang, TEDx Stanford 

Comfort Zone

Unleash Your Brain Power and Growth Mindset – w/ Dr. Andrew Huberman

This is a powerfully informative and elucidating interview of neuroscientist Andrew Huberman with the awesome Ed Mylett. Andrew makes neuroscience digestible and interesting with easily applicable tips we can readily put to use.

Yubing Zhang’s TEDx Stanford Talk – the End of Your Comfort Zone

Percy Jackson Lotus Hotel Scene

A particular scene from the young adult movie, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, (viewable in the video clip below), wonderfully depicts the concept of being lulled into a comfort zone so enticing, that it leads to the abandonment of purpose. I find this a good scene to remember whenever I’m tempted to take the easier road.

If we are to pursue our dreams and achieve our purpose we need to be aware of those things and people who lead us into the lull of the comfort zone. The comfort zone is only comfortable in the moment. In the end it becomes unbearable, so we end up employing all kinds of ways to cushion ourselves from that pain.

When we stop resisting the work we’re compelled to do, our life relaxes into a kind of joy that radiates from the lotus blossom of the heart. When we do the work we feel we should be doing, we grow stronger, happier and more confident.

That is my wish for you… that you push through the hard stuff to get to the truly good stuff. That which will leave a smile with our last breath, grateful for a life well lived.

For that… that you can take with you.

The more we are in integrity with ourselves the more we are in alignment with universal flow and greater creativity and harmony.
~LeAura Alderson,®

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