Moving Out of Your Comfort Zone

by Isha Judd, Contributor to PsychoSpiritual on

Editor’s Note from Jodi Chapman: When we make the decision to move out of our comfort zone, we open ourselves up to so many possibilities. This article is an excerpt from Isha Judd’s wonderful new book, Love Has Wings: Free Yourself from Limiting Beliefs and Fall in Love with Life.

In our society, people view comfort as king. Anything that makes life easier and requires less effort is prized. We have learned to refrain from speaking our truth for fear of conflict and to avoid confronting our fears whenever possible. We have come to value routine over the unknown, and security over spontaneity. Yet often the things that make us uncomfortable — the hard knocks, the disappointments, and the losses — are what challenge us most in our lives. We wish we did not have to weather these storms, yet they are what make us strong. They give us maturity and responsibility, and after all, what better teacher can we have than our own direct experience?

Life becomes stagnant when we remove or avoid its challenges. If a child is spoiled, her parents or servants doing everything for her, when she finally faces the world, she will find herself without the skills to function in society. Similarly, if we overprotect ourselves and try to avoid the inevitable conflicts of life, we may find comfort, but we will not build the skills that lead us toward growth. We may find distraction, but not self-realization.

The story of the Buddha is a perfect example of this. As the prince Siddhartha, he was protected from the world to the point of never seeing the aged or the sick. When he eventually discovered the things that had been hidden from him, he was unprepared for the shock he felt. He then went to the other extreme, committing himself to a life of penance and suffering, before finally finding the “middle path.” The extremes of the world are all part of life, and by exaggeratedly protecting our children from these realities, we are not doing them any favors.

How did you grow from a child into a responsible adult? Was it by not making any mistakes? Or was it through learning from the consequences of your actions? Ultimately, we have to go through things ourselves before we fully understand. To flourish and grow as individuals, we must face the world head-on and embrace the losses and disappointments life brings us. Then, instead of perceiving difficult situations as obstacles in our way, we can utilize them as opportunities to grow, to push through our boundaries and expand our horizons.

It is natural to experience ups and downs in life. We are having a human experience, and that entails a wide range of feelings and situations. When we begin to nourish an internal space of security and unconditional love through the expansion of love-consciousness, we start to experience these extremes more freely. We begin to embrace the contrasts of life and find adventure in change and uncertainty. Self-realization is not about living in a permanent blissed-out state where you never feel any emotions. It is about embracing the contrasts of life fully, without fear. When we are rooted in internal freedom, the need to control our circumstances falls away and we can dance unfettered to the varying harmonies of the symphony of life.

Moving out of Your Comfort Zone

Comfort stems from fear of the unknown and fear of failure. We feel safe within its confines, but in reality comfort is a gilded cage barring us from our true greatness. When we’re not challenging ourselves to be more, we are settling for mediocrity. We lament what’s missing from our lives, but we don’t move into action in order to change it. The fear of failure clouds our perception of our full potential. The mind convinces us we are not capable of more, so we stay put.

We cling to comfort because we fear our greatness. It is safer to sit in the shadows than stand in the limelight: there we risk criticism and external judgment. Greatness requires the courage to stand alone and not compromise our truth. It provokes change and causes evolution. Greatness goes out on a limb; it doesn’t stick to the status quo. To trust ourselves, to stand in integrity without abandoning ourselves in order to please others — that’s greatness.

There is a certain level of collective complacency within society. To break with that and stand alone requires courage, but if we wish to be free from our own inertia, we must take the risk and stop worrying about what other people might think. We must be willing to make what we consider to be mistakes; to try new things and have new experiences; to dare to show ourselves and express ourselves.

If I stand out from the crowd, if I do something noteworthy, I put myself in a place of responsibility. It requires less effort just to sit back and blame my financial situation, my upbringing, or society for not fulfilling my dreams. Yet we are all capable of moving beyond our comfort zone and achieving greatness; in fact, some of the most inspiring and celebrated individuals in history have gone beyond all odds to realize spectacular achievements. They are the ones who said yes when the world said no, the ones who could have used their extreme circumstances as an excuse to achieve nothing, but chose not to.

Can a black man be president of the United States? Can an open lesbian host a top-rated talk show? Can a nonviolent ascetic liberate a nation from imperial reign? Can a man with severe paralysis inspire scientific minds more than anyone else since Einstein? Can a deaf man write a concerto? Of course they can. So why can’t you overcome your self-imposed limitations? We are surrounded by people who have gone beyond mediocrity, even though they had quite valid reasons not to. When we have passion in our hearts, when we are willing to challenge what we are accustomed to and push through our fears, nothing is insurmountable: everything seems possible, and our dreams start to become a reality. When we create our dreams, we become unlimited.


William C
William C2 months ago


W. C
W. C3 months ago

Thank you.

Andy H.
Andrew Harris5 years ago

What made the life of the Buddha so special was that he became enlightened. This was not achieved through moving out of his comfort zone but through developing an understanding of the nature of reality that enabled him to set out a path which people could folow to overcome cyclical existance.. He taught that we must move beyond attachment and aversion and this means even the concept of a comfort zone needs to be done away with. The process he taught involves challenging our tendency to believe in an independant existing self and this is inconsistent with the idea of a comfort zone which is basd on a such a self existing.

Kynthia R.
Kynthia Rosgeal5 years ago

I have been moving out of my comfort zone for a very long time. I hated my body, so I took a nude co ed yoga class, and found my body only mattered to me when I practiced yoga.

I was afraid of bees. So I took up beekeeping and fell in love with the beautiful little creatures, so much so I would sit beneath the hives on a summer evening to listen to the peaceful buzz of a healthy hive.

I was terrified of high places, so I took up rappelling and working in steel to get over my fear.

Each move out of my comfort zone rewarded me with growth and peace. Confidence is not something I am terribly short on.

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado5 years ago

This I have to do.

heather g.
heather g5 years ago

I took a huge leap of faith a good few years ago and moved out of my comfort zone - being the sunny country in which I was born and where I grew up.
What I have learnt from that is that the grass is not necessary greener on the other side.

However, life has turned out to be one long lesson. On a day to day basis I receive a few hard knocks as I seek to understand another culture in an effort to embrace behaviour and values that are different from mine. But then I'm also very accepting of who I am and aware of who I am not.
My mother's favourite quotation often comes to mind : "There is nothing as permanent as change."

Liu Wai   Ling
liu wai ling5 years ago

thanks share, great.

irene fernandez
irene Fernandez5 years ago

Last sentence is the best, thanks!

SeaTurtleZee K.
Helen Porter5 years ago

It sometimes irrirates me how a few words of wisdom, taken out of context, that, properlly applied, can often change a life for the better but can also destroy your happiness while you're supposedly learning a lesson can be mistaken for knowledge. No pain, no gain. I can think of lots of things I can gain without pain such as a leisurely walk through beautiful country, relaxing, enjoying a picnic lunch, then sauntering home quietly reflecting on the
beauty of my special day. No pain!

First there is wisdom without words, just feeling intuitive perhaps or mystically seductive.

To use the wisdom safely it takes understanding. Think on it. Talk it over with people you respect. Get information. Then, with both feet on the ground, apply.

Thus you will gain knowledge.

There's the old saying, (wisdom) you can take a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

I can. I'll feed him salt. (understanding) and (knowledge).

SeaTurtleZee K.
Helen Porter5 years ago

I used to get into lots of trouble impulsively moving out of my comfort zone. If you're naturally reticent to try something new, you may need to move out of that zone. But, those who are like me, naturally impulsive, need to take time to think it over and maybe get some advice from a good friend.

One thing I have learned. I actually learned it when I was taking classes to become a Recovery Support Specialist. If it's too hot in the kitchen, get out of the kitchen. Don't get stuck on an ego trip of "I can take it." or "But she NEEDS! me." (Usually she's just using you!)
or "Never quit." There are times when you'd better quit. If you're unhappy in a job, the people have a different value system and you've got an offer of a position that would better suit who you are, QUIT!