The Comfort Zone Deception

One of the most rewarding things we can do in life is to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Nicky Cullen
Jan 16, 2017 · 6 min read

“You are confined by the boundaries that you set yourself. The mind creates the cage. Set yourself free and move out of your comfort zone.” — Mhar

Unless you live like a recluse or you’re just not a fan of inspirational quotes (plausible), you’re probably familiar with the saying, “life begins beyond your comfort zone.” Well, it actually begins at birth, but the good life — the one you desire and deserve — would seem to be only attainable when you push past those perceived boundaries of comfort falsely constructed in your mind.

Our comfort zones rarely offer us anything but deceit. The wording is a manipulation in itself, and if you choose to live within its constraints, you will in all likelihood deprive yourself of the life you desire.

Set yourself free!

In life, simple acts can often seem so hard: like going up against an army of Uzis armed only with a Super Soaker when all we desire is on the other side of that minor roadblock. Because of this, we allow our fears to be all-consuming to the point where we justify our reasonings for not cocking our Super Soakers and drowning the bastards out while pushing past the minor roadblock that is our imagination.

On the surface, asking someone you are attracted to out on a date is a simple task. You literally just have to say the words, “Hey baby! Netflix and chill. My place. Friday. Boom,” and hope for the best! I’m no dating coach (clearly — you’d want to be insane to say that!) so I’m not going to romanticize this, but you might throw in a compliment with a little depth to shorten the odds.

The circumstances, however, change dramatically when two of our greatest fears are introduced: rejection and failure. Those simple words now carry significant meaning — standing in the face of potential rejection while keeping your composure makes for a slightly more daunting task. And therefore, too many of us settle — applicable to so many fears — we settle for ‘ok’ while omitting the potential for ‘amazing.’ We settle because we fail to realize life for what it is: uncomfortable.

“Sometimes being uncomfortable is the only way to save yourself from settling.” — Andrea Ager

Due to an unwillingness to accept this, we dance around and retreat to our ‘perceived’ comfort zone because we’re manipulated into believing we should strive for positive emotions all the time. This way of thinking is counterintuitive and paradoxically deprives us of the positive emotions we desire while producing more of the negative emotions we despise.

“A lot of people once they feel uncomfortable, will simply stop whatever they’re doing. But I believe in order to succeed at anything, you need to become comfortable being uncomfortable.” — Jon Jones

Until we realize that all we deny ourselves in the name of comfort is, in fact, hurting us, everything will continue to spiral into a self-fulfilling prophecy of crap falsely constructed in our minds. Retreating to one’s comfort zone is often the least desirable outcome because we deprive ourselves of an opportunity to grow and learn. Human Kryptonite.

The major deception:

The comfort zone is about as comfortable as being on the wrong end of a left hook from Conor McGregor. By definition, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s actually comfortable. Most comfort is short lived, plagued by mounting frustration that lingers long after. It should be rebranded the “War Zone.”

Contrarily, break through your war zone and the discomfort may last just a few seconds with a deep level of satisfaction to soon follow.

You break the barrier and escape the war. Even if things don’t go as planned, you are presented with an opportunity to learn and grow while being one step closer to that which you desire: a feat which should always be celebrated!

All of this rings true for most but especially those of an anxious disposition. It’s scary changing career, moving country, making a presentation, asking someone out, speaking up in a group, chasing dreams, addressing a conflict, standing up to a boss, etc, etc. Whatever it maybe, it’s all on an individualistic level, but the reasons are constant: our fear of rejection and failure.

The only thing more terrifying than all of this is not taking action. Because without action, we risk a life of regret which we’ll only admit to on our deathbed. And now the stakes are much higher than the risk of failure or rejection because now we risk not living.

Both options seem to scare the crap out of us equally because we’re conditioned not to challenge the status quo, and therefore our comfort. So we procrastinate by retreating to our war zone.

I’m not suggesting that if you’re reading this, you go out today and do everything that terrifies you! It’s always going to be a work in progress so always strive to progress. Accept the concept that life is uncomfortable. Some goals are incredibly overwhelming, and therefore it’s advisable to take a pragmatic and progressive approach to accomplishing them while desensitizing your fears by creating mini-goals leading up to the greater one. Don’t get too caught up with the goals or they’ll become all consuming and harder to attain.

As Tony Robbins says:

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited of what could go right.”

And, finally, never pitch yourself against others because we’re all on different journeys made up of very different circumstances. The last time I was comfortable I was yawning my way through a job I couldn’t stand, and taking anti-depressants to keep me there.

Because life is uncomfortable, one of the most rewarding things we can do for ourselves is to get comfortable being uncomfortable. This is the kind of shit that should be making its way into schools curriculums. Instead, we’ve got to learn all about tectonic plates, Bunsen burners, and sedimentary rocks!

The only thing life guarantees us is death. Everything after that is up to interpretation, and let’s take a moment to applaud our tremendous imaginations! You don’t have to be great at everything, but while you’re here, why don’t you start exploring that which makes you uncomfortable in the name of a more fulfilled life instead of remaining uncomfortable in the name of a less fulfilled one?

And here’s the kicker: Life gets more comfortable the more you step out of your comfort zone because the more you experience discomfort, the stronger you’ll be and the more you’ll relish all that your true comfort zone has to offer. So when you lay down on your memory foam mattress at night, you’ll sleep with ease. And when you sip margaritas on a tropical Island, you’ll drink for pleasure; not for pain.

Embrace this deception with your closest friends. Create games, have fun, learn to laugh at all your mishaps, and celebrate the wins. We’re going to be uncomfortable regardless, so we might as well have some laughs along the way and get as comfortable as possible in the process.


If you struggle with anxiety and are looking for greater peace of mind, subscribe below for free access to the anti-anxiety micro-course covering 5 fundamentals for a better life. I’ll also send you a copy of my book!

Sign me up for the free course now.

Thanks for reading! :)

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Nicky Cullen

Written by

No BS Anxiety Support. And a few life lessons to boot!

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple.

Nicky Cullen

Written by

No BS Anxiety Support. And a few life lessons to boot!

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple.