We recently posted a graph on Instagram showing the different stages of personal growth (click here if you haven't seen it). We were blown away at how well the post did and how much it was shared. We were also intrigued to see where people saw themselves. Based on the response, we thought it would be appropriate for our Founder, Valentin Ozich, to dive a little deeper around the importance of not staying comfortable. Enjoy.
Many of us, including me, have established a comfort zone in our lives. We coasting along taking the path of least resistance and just getting by. This is an extremely common and understandable attitude and I can see why. Sitting in one spot and doing the same as you have always done is easy and its human tendency to do what is easy. Working a job that requires little effort is easy. Having a business that doesn't grow is easy. Having a belly that's only getting bigger is easy. Eating what you want is easy. Having an average relationship is easy. Spending 3 hours a day on Instagram (you should check your screen time stats on your phone, you will be shocked) is easy. Criticising someone and pointing out what they are doing wrong is easy. I call this the comfort zone.
The comfort zone frame of mind is settling for who you are today, which usually brings a lot of dissatisfaction into your life, rather than who you want to be. The bad and comfortable habits you have developed may be fine today, but without some discomfort, risk, and progression to the next level, you are never going to be who you really want to be.
If you’re living in the comfort zone, beware - the danger of the comfort zone is that it doesn’t hurt, it actually feels quite good while you're in it, and you often don’t realise until you're so deep in it.
We’ve all worked hard to get where we are today, however, if where you are today was an easy path to get to, in most cases you're probably dissatisfied and you probably are expecting a lot more of yourself.
When you get to the stage of dissatisfaction you will feel agitated, frustrated and pissed off. This isn't bad, this is just a clue that your mind is telling you that it wants change. Rather than letting these emotions annoy me, I use them as fuel to go to the next level. Low risk equals low reward. I'm not saying to go out there and bet the house on the new plan or dream, I'm simply saying that if you live in the low-risk comfort zone, you aren't growing. Simple.
I'm a believer that everybody has unlimited potential. But unfortunately, most people don't know how to tap into it, simply because they are scared to take the next steps or they are in an environment that doesn't cultivate change. You owe it to yourself to become what you dream about.
The reason people don't progress to the next step is the fear of failure, the fear that they think they don't have what it takes, that they don't have the right skills and experience. Or one of the most common excuses is that the results they want won't happen quick enough. Remember this... the last thing to grow on a fruit tree is the fruit.
The fear zone is as dangerous as the comfort zone, it's what screws it all up, however in most cases the fears that you fear rarely come true. People’s fears are often criticism from others, low self-confidence or laziness. The crazy thing is once you muster up the courage to conquer those fears, you will look back retrospectively and be very surprised by the silly excuses you told yourself and how much they delayed your path to success. Dreams and ambitions are supposed to scare you, if they don't, dream bigger. Sometimes you need to stop being scared and just go for it and if it doesn't work out, that's life and at least you now know what not to do next time around.
Once you get out of the fear zone, the flood gates begin to open as you head into the learning zone. I'm going to be honest, this zone is fun. The brain loves learning and gets addicted to progress. It's fascinating to observe the people around me who are just getting into the learning zone and seeing how quickly their lives are transforming. All of a sudden they begin seeing things clearly and start making better decisions because they are activating the creative part of their brain and learning to think again. Reading is a great way to get into this zone. New fresh ideas come in, which then generates a lot of new fresh ideas outward. A lot of your happiness is attributed to how much you're progressing in your life, and progression comes from learning and trying new things.
So it's so important to get to this stage because you will love it. You will start to see a lot of, if not all, of your old bad habits disappear if you stay in this zone. Your brain becomes so addicted to this new path you have embarked on, it will do anything to avoid going back to the old you. However, if you do accidentally slip back to the old you, you need to associate pleasure with getting back into the growth zone and pain with staying in the comfort zone.
If I ever find myself in a funk or feeling frustrated or stuck on a problem, I know it’s because there's something new I need to learn. As an example, if I’m needing more energy to perform better at work, I will dig deep and learn as much as I can on how others maintain high levels of energy and concentration for long periods of time. If it’s to double my website traffic, I will become a student of this subject matter and listen to as many podcasts and audio books as I can find until I improve it. All the information you need is out there.
When in the learning zone colours become brighter, you become smarter, happier, more articulate, you will attract better people and opportunities into your life. You will become far more resilient to the inevitable kickbacks that life throws at you. When you encounter these setbacks, you will laugh, because you anticipated this to happen rather than react when it does happen. When was the last time you did something for the first time? When was the last time you felt your brain had had a workout?
The next step is the growth zone. The zone of discovering your purpose, living out your dreams, setting even bigger dreams and goals and conquering your objectives.
Now I can't say I have achieved every goal on my list. In fact, goals that I set 10 years ago were taken away from me, forcing me to acquire new skills to be able to attain those same goals in the future. It also taught me that slow success builds character and fast success builds ego.
However, I am discovering a new purpose both through my business and my life as I am entering into this zone. This is when you begin to do things that aren't just for money and you begin to look at life differently. You're no longer just thinking about you, you're thinking more about others and the impact you can have on them. You begin stepping outside of the frame and begin seeing the bigger picture.
Deep down, you know exactly what you are capable of and you begin to get a glimpse of that potential more often. Its fully alive and activated. You constantly begin living in a positive frame of mind because you know and believe that your external world is a direct result of what's going on in your internal world. You begin understanding that all the pain you went through in order to get this stage is worth it and there's absolutely nothing standing in the way of your success.
You become so disciplined in the way you think and live out your life that things begin to manifest faster than before, and the magic of momentum begins manifesting your dreams faster too.
The amazing thing is, I had spent 22 years living in the comfort zone. Life sucked. I was frustrated and had some huge changes happen in my life which quickly forced me to make a change. With a 3 month premature daughter and no job, I had no choice. I took a small step and spent 4 years living in the fear zone. I soon got over that with persistence, and learning that fear is inevitable. It's simply the brain doing whatever it can to protect you from danger. It's not until I took small incremental risks, that I began enjoying fear because it was a sign I was growing. I soon became addicted to learning and things really began shifting quickly.
You can't let your current situation determine your future destination. You just need to become dedicated to moving through the steps. Self-investment is the best investment.
The difference between a successful person and non-successful person is not that they enjoy the shitty jobs. They just get on with it because they know it has to be done. It all begins from a willingness to change and unleashing your true potential. If you realised how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought again. You attract what you fear. You attract what you dream, so be extremely careful of what you let into your mind.