Автор: Екатерина Павлова,
Университет практической психологии

The way out of the comfort zone as a condition for the development of personality

Просто - будь самим собой!
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In life, we constantly face situations when it is necessary to change something or even just to do something unusual and new, but the fear of the unknown often prevents us from acting. Our inner voice begins to convince us that everything is not so bad, but who knows if it will be good if we begin to change our lives. There are internal boundaries within which we feel safe only because everything is familiar and familiar to us there. It is these internal frameworks that compel us to hold on to relationships that have become obsolete, for work that does not bring us satisfaction and even for the habitual way of thinking. These inner frames form our comfort zone.

A zone of comfort is an area of ​​living space that gives a feeling of comfort and safety. As a rule, the zone of comfort is determined by the usual patterns of behavior, to which one is accustomed, it is comfortable. A settled world where everything is familiar, stable and predictable.

Simply put, this is the state in which you feel "at ease". It would seem that the bad in comfort and safety? Nothing, except that they greatly impede the development and development of a new one.

Any teaching and learning is connected with going beyond the boundaries of the comfort zone.

Outside the comfort zone is the risk area. A reasonable way out of the comfort zone into the risk zone is a necessary condition for the development of the individual.

As a rule, the younger a person, the easier and more willingly he expands the comfort zone. When a healthy person lingers for a long time in the comfort zone and does not make any efforts to leave this zone and expand its borders, its development stops, turning into degradation of the individual.

Таити, Таити, а нас и здесь неплохо кормят...
Таити, Таити, а нас и здесь неплохо кормят...

​​​​​​​This formulation makes us very clearly feel the inevitability of overcoming borders if we are interested in our own development.

First, you need to understand how exactly we can understand that we are stuck in the comfort zone. You can understand this by your reaction to any new situation that we have encountered or even just thought about it. The first reaction is likely to be fear. We want to emphasize that the reaction to the new can be completely different (agiotage, curiosity, interest, anxiety), but it is fear that is a destructive feeling and an indicator that one does not want to leave the comfort zone. Further, based on this fear, stuck in the comfort zone can choose several behaviors: "run and hide," ignore, protest, resist and try to prevent change, whereas the path leading to the expansion of the comfort zone implies acceptance and adaptation.


«Жизнь начинается там, где заканчивается зона комфорта» - Нил Уолш
«Жизнь начинается там, где заканчивается зона комфорта» - Нил Уолш

The most important condition for leaving the comfort zone can be considered the realization that we are hanging in it. Without admitting to ourselves that we are hanging in the comfort zone, we can not get off the ground. It is very important to assume for ourselves the idea that we are stuck here and that we need to break beyond the existing situation by defining the area of ​​the comfort zone. This is our work, our business, established, but not happy with us relations, the city, the apartment where we live - all this can be our comfort zone, which we do not like, but we are afraid of changes and do nothing to change your life.

Bear in a cramped cage

In one small zoo a bear was kept in a tight cage for a long time, so that he could only make 4 steps in one direction, turn around and make 4 steps back. So he walked all day in a cage back and forth. Visitors regretted the bear and said: "How, probably, he would be happy if he managed to be free." Time passed, the zoo began to be repaired, and all large animals were made large aviaries. They were a lot of greenery, and in the pen of the bear, even a pool. Workers of the zoo looked forward to how a huge beast would be delighted when it was transferred from a close cage to a spacious aviary. And now the long-awaited day has come. The bear was sent to a tiny cage for transportation and taken to a new place. Even being in a transport cage, the bear managed to make his obligatory 4 steps back and forth. Finally he was released into a new spacious aviary. The bear looked around, took a cautious step, another, a third, a fourth ... And then turned and again took 4 steps back. He still could not understand that now the bars of the cage that limited his freedom exist only in his imagination. But these twigs in the memory of the beast proved to be stronger than the real ones. So the bear is still walking in a huge enclosure: 4 steps back and 4 steps back.

That is why the stage of realizing that borders exist is so important.

Realizing that we are stuck in the comfort zone, we need to act.

The program of actions for getting out of the comfort zone at the University of Practical Psychology was conditionally divided into five steps and denoted by the abbreviation ZORRO.


1. The task. The first step to overcome internal borders will be the formulation of the Task. That is, we will determine what we want to come to, what result we want to achieve.

Suppose we realized that we are uncomfortable or scared to get acquainted with new people. Accordingly, our task will be to get acquainted as much as possible and more often, in order to make this process familiar and, therefore, comfortable.

2. APR. The next stage is the formulation of the Volume of the planned result. The volume of the planned result (APR) is a specific, how much and what by the time I plan to receive on the basis of work on the exercises of the Distant or other commitments in working on myself. As a rule, these are figures, facts or expert evaluation. Formulation of the APR promotes more precise and effective performance of work (including work on oneself), gives the criteria for the exercise and the answer to the question: "How do I know if the exercise is done?". (APR) and prescribing specific steps to achieve it.

How do we know that we have extended the comfort zone? It is clear that the criterion will be calm when making friendships, but this state does not lend itself to "weighing". Therefore, we will define the APR in our case, as the specific number of acquaintances per month of work on leaving the comfort zone. And we will outline what a specific number of people we intend to include in the plan for each day. It is worth noting that it is necessary to gradually increase their number within reasonable limits. Will the planned number of dating to a comfortable state? Even if not completely, in any case, progress will be evident.

The main trick in this case is that by switching the focus of attention from the state to a specific job to get out of the comfort zone, we will work out the right state. The state of comfort does not come by itself, it requires specific work. And we ll do it.

3. Work. The work includes the systematic passage of the planned steps. We have planned certain actions for each day, and now our task is to fulfill them. It will be optimal to write daily reports on the work done, analyzing the results and progress.

4. Work. Repeating the paragraph is not just the justification of a double PP in the abbreviation.

We wanted to emphasize two aspects.

• First, the fact that Work is the main thing that is required to expand the comfort zone and accordingly, most of the time we devote to it.

• Secondly, the fact that this work should be carried out consistently and the increase in volumes should be gradual. And this is very important.

The problem with getting out of the comfort zone is that people often try to jump straight to the level they want to reach. For some people, this can work, but for most, such an attempt will only make them stay in their comfort zone, even simply because of the anxiety caused by trying to "bite off more than they can chew." It is gradual development and expansion that will lead to the adaptation of the new zone. And you need to understand that the passage of the stages will take a certain time. It is impossible to instantly settle in the new extended zone. We remember that the consolidation of a new habit takes 21 days. In fact, mastering a new habit is also an extension of the comfort zone.

If we are not convinced that we feel comfortable with an ever increasing volume, then we have a high risk to destroy the results of all our work. Therefore, every step and every step at this stage should become comfortable.

5. Mastering. And finally, the fifth step is full mastering in the new territory. Achievement of APR. This is actually our new comfort zone.


"My fear of something usually means I have to do it" - Madonna.

In addition to expanding the comfort zone in a specific area in which we realized the need for this, we consider it very important to develop a habit of leaving the comfort zone in any situation. To do this, you need to learn to take off your fear when you meet a new one. We offer "simulators" for developing such a habit.

1. Change the usual little things. You can try to go to work the other way, change the usual routine of the day or go to the wrong store on the way, and in that other street, buy unusual food.

2. Get to know someone. This is a very good way to get out of the comfort zone. It does not matter where or how, the main thing is that a person is new to you.

3. Find courses or trainings, clubs that you are interested in, but for some reason (and we already know for which reason) you refused to go there.

4. Learn what you once wanted to be able to do. Playing a balalaika, making rolls, embroidering a cross - these are all great simulators for extending the comfort zone.

5. Read the book, watch a movie or listen to music in an unusual genre for you. Love rock, listen to jazz. Love melodramas, watch the thriller. Love prose, read poetry.

6. Embark on an unplanned trip. Do not plan anything, decide everything on the go. You can get a lot of impressions and just expand the comfort zone.

7. Go to a new unusual place. In an unfamiliar restaurant and better unfamiliar until now the kitchen.

8. Dress unaccustomed. If you are a girl, unused to wear dresses, buy and wear. Unusual colors, styles and new brands - all this is also in our piggy bank simulators. If you are a guy who went only in T-shirts and jeans, get dressed in classics (beautiful shoes, expensive trousers, a stylish light jacket with a bright tie or scarf). Well, put on at least a shirt instead of a T-shirt - for a start it’s good.

9. Rearrange the furniture. Look at your room with a fresh look and try to arrange at least a small reshuffle.

10. Take the bus with an unfamiliar route number.

11. Make your list of simulator situations.

In conclusion - a wonderful metaphor from Gennady Pavlenko, which fully illustrates our behavior, when we cling to our comfort zone or, as in this case, for the usual worldview.

"Imagine that you are in a tank. Go ahead through life, watching everything that happens in a narrow viewing slot. The mere fact that you are a tank driver is already saying that life is a war for you. At the same time, it is clear in the gap that people are walking around. They just walk. Do not fight. They fall in love, quarrel, work, get lazy, rest, read ... How do these people look from the tank? How foolish, right? And if the sniper from the roof? Or infantry in the attack? What will they do in their shirts with flowers painted ?! That’s why it’s better to be in the tank. Yes, it’s hot. Yes, it’s shaking. Yes, it is cramped, but no sniper will reach you! And the fact that they are not, it’s just a matter of time. And the time, by the way, passes, and the tankman ends his life, and not having time to start it. True? some, at the end of life, when there is already nothing to lose, but still there are no courage to look out of the hatch, but since there is still no time, they dive back into their tank. There’s more familiar ...

But how many are there, behind a reliable armor! Yes, it is unusual. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, everything inside screams - you can not! But we have to. Why is it necessary? Why is it necessary? Then, that ... well, somehow it’s a pity to conduct such a cool life in a tank. Why is it necessary? Because there, behind the armor - INTERESTING! "

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