Human beings are creatures of habit. We like certain foods, we have a morning routine, and we generally like to partake in activities and behaviors that reduce risk and stress. It’s safe, it doesn’t require much thought, and it’s also known as our comfort zone. But if you ask any successful entrepreneur, he/she will tell you that the magic happens when you step outside of your bubble to embrace the unknown.
One of our biggest mantras at BeyondCurious is “unlocking limitless potential.” It’s our company mission and something we strive to live by at work and within our personal lives. Last Friday our CEO, Nikki Barua, interviewed Eileen Moore, the regional president of Flamingo Las Vegas, The LINQ Hotel & Casino as well as The Cromwell (Las Vegas’ first standalone boutique hotel). When asked why she’s been so successful, Eileen responded: “I always took the job that made me the most uncomfortable.”
Here are 3 reasons why you should take Eileen’s advice:
1. You’ll Be More Productive
A relative amount of anxiety pushes you just outside your comfort zone and it’s often referred to as “optimal anxiety.” It’s backed by science and studies have shown that performing under these conditions enhances productivity. When you operate in a state where your stress levels are slightly higher than normal, you’ll maximize your performance because you’re motivated to succeed. Just ask any professional athlete. You’ll rise to the occasion because that’s what the situation demands. You’re choosing the right job if its responsibilities fall outside your normal scope and you’re challenged in new and exciting ways. By embracing optimal anxiety in unfamiliar professional waters, you’re bound to grow.
2. You’ll Enhance Your Mental Health
The phrase “use it or lose it” applies to your physical as well as mental health. By leaving your comfort zone and taking a job that scares you, you’re challenging yourself to think in new ways. One of the most important relationships we have in our lives isn’t with our family or significant other; it’s with our thoughts. Our thoughts impact these relationships and influence how we respond to success or failure in life. By throwing yourself into unfamiliar professional (and life) scenarios that require creative problem solving, you’re stimulating brain activity and therefore enhancing your mental health.
3. You’ll Lead a Fulfilled Life
As a society we’ve been taught that comfort and security are desirable life goals. But living within our comfort zone reduces our openness to transformative life changes and new opportunities. So many people don’t chase their dreams because they’re too comfortable with the way their life is presently unfolding. In Psychology Today Ran Zilca captures this idea perfectly:
“Many of us are like lions in the zoo: well-fed but sit around passively stuck in a reactive rut. Comfort equals boring shortsightedness, and a belief that things cannot change. Your comfort zone is your home base, a safe place not to stay in, but to return to, after each exhausting and exhilarating expedition through the wilderness of life. Take a look at your life today, if you are enjoying a shelter of comfort, break through it and go outside where life awaits.”
Embrace the Unknown
Whether your goal is to be a millionaire, rocket scientist, or simply the best version of yourself, the magic happens outside of your comfort zone. Robert G. Allen, the author of some of the most influential financial books of all time, also echoes the need to step outside your safe zone: “How many millionaires do you know who have become wealthy by investing in savings accounts? I rest my case.” So next time you’re applying for jobs pay special attention to how the idea of the job makes you feel. If you read the job description and it makes you uncomfortable, chances are it’s something you should consider.