Let’s suppose you are on the 7th step of a 15 Step Ladder to Success. The 7th step is not that high, but it is not completely at the bottom either. In fact, you quite like being on the ladder’s 7th step. It offers a good view of the surroundings, also offers you a chance to glance down to see how (somewhat) far you have come.
You are happy being at the 7th step. You pat yourself on the back for having climbed all the previous 6 steps. You are happy. You are comfortable.
Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and months turn into years. It is then you realize that you are unable to go any farther than the 7th step. You are stuck.
Welcome to the Comfort Trap.
Becoming familiar with something is not a bad thing. Having a routine is not a bad thing either! What can really hinder your growth is when you let all that familiarity and that routine stop you from pushing yourself further. The comfort trap gives you plenty of reassurance that you need not try anything new, that you are perfectly fine being at the 7th step and in fact, there is no reason why you should be pushing yourself.
However, there is a reason… a very big reason why you should never stop pushing yourself.
Breaking your personal boundaries is what is going to help you really get to know yourself.
The only way you can discover your true potential is by taking risks, breaking your boundaries and living your life. No matter how warm and toasty the comfort trap may be, it stops you from taking risks by telling you that there is no need to do so.
What does “taking a risk” mean?
Does taking a risk mean that you have to jump off that cliff or does taking a risk mean investing all your life savings into starting your own business?
It means all that and much more. However, taking risks does not always have to be something that major. It does not always have to be that intense. In fact, in most cases taking a risk could mean nothing more than just following your intuition. You have a feeling that something might be more effective if you took this route instead of that regular, old one that you are used to.
If you are somebody who has great ideas but dislikes sharing them in fear of being made fun of for having such ideas, speaking up about those ideas could also mean taking a risk. Hence, different things could take the shape of risks for different people. It could be something like wearing a bright colored scarf to work when you are known for wearing neutral colored clothes or it could be letting somebody to get to know you better even though your last relationship was a particularly bad one.
Saying yes to things that excite you, pays off in major ways. Like mentioned previously that not only do you get to know yourself better by taking risks, it also helps you get noticed by the right people. So, when taking risks leads to such massive advantages, what stops people from taking them?
Answer: The Comfort Zone
The number one way your comfort trap stops you from taking that next step is by using the Fear-of-the-Unknown Card. It is only natural to feel a little intimidated by not knowing what is coming for us. However, if we have enough faith in ourselves, we know that whatever may come our way, we will be able to face it.
This lack of faith in ourselves, in our abilities is what makes us crawl deeper into our shells (comfort zone) than step out of them. This self-doubt paired with the love for comfort makes us shy away from embracing uncertainty. On one hand we know that we have something in us which could potentially lead to something bigger, something more worth-it but we overthink that situation to a point where it seems like a tragedy waiting to happen. The other half of the damage is taken care of by our comfort trap.
Even if we somehow manage to shut that negative voice up which constantly tells us that we won’t be able to pull something off, our comfort trap steps right up to start its dirty work. It tells you that sure, you can face it, but why would you want to go through all that trouble when you already are doing well in the current position you are in?
Why would you want to sacrifice the warmth and security that your shell offers you for the bitterness and cruelty of the outside world?
This constant tug of war between the need to take some pains and go higher and the need to stay where it’s comfortable can be really exhausting. However, if you are confused and can’t decide which side to tug on harder, always root for the riskier side of things. That is where actual growth happens. We get just one life which needs to be lived to its fullest. Our comfort trap stops us from doing so.
And in all honesty, this is one of the only few reasons you need to break free from it!
This is the only way you can learn about yourself and find out what you are made of. This is the only way of not having any regrets when you are old and reflecting back on the kind of life you lived and the kind of live you could have lived.
Will you let the fear of the unknown dictate your life forever or take the reins in your own hands?