Let’s start with the basics: learning is hard.
You have to enjoy mental discomfort because it will happen a lot if you want to achieve your goals. Your life is the result of your choices and, if you decide to actively move forward, you will succeed. But it will be at the expense of your comfort.
You know what is amazing? Your comfort zone is growing… all the time!
But, there are different zones that you will have to go through before you can actually grow and spread your comfort zone.
You have to fight comfort, you have to defy fear, and you have to keep learning to keep growing .
1 – COMFORT ZONE: the one where everything is cozy, but where nothing happens.
This is where you feel good, this is your bed, this is where you know everything will be alright because you have already experienced everything in this zone several times. You are confident in your ability to do all those things, and you do not even question basic skills anymore.
Let me give you one example:
You are not born good at your own language; you are not even born a good walker! You had to fall several times and you were wounded a few times. Have you quit walking? No! You got up, stronger than before. And walking straight is now part of your comfort zone, you don’t even question it.
Just as learning how to walk was part of your childhood growth and made you enjoy the full potential of human natural movement, learning anything as an adult, especially a foreign language, is also part of your growth.
This is the place where you should stay if you don’t mind having regrets later on. This is where you already exist, not where you can live to the fullest and conquer your dreams.
“A ship is always safe at the shore, but that is not what it was built for.”
– Albert EINSTEIN
2 – FEAR ZONE: the one that will make you doubt.
This the zone where you will find ways to escape your true goals, find excuses and procrastinate.
This is where your ego will talk a lot, and will try to refrain you from taking action. This is where everything seems to push you to give up.
This is where you let other people’s opinion affect you because you are already fighting your own insecurities and lack of self-confidence. External approval is sometimes beneficial to help you move forward.
Your brain loves comfort, your brain feels protected being surrounded by what it already knows. Looking at this situation from your brain’s perspective, this is discomfort, this is a risk, and your brain doesn’t like it.
Just imagine: you are your brain, your only purpose is to make sure you stay alive no matter what. What would you do? Of course, you would stay home and avoid any risk.
Trying to evolve is a risk, getting out of your room is a risk, getting out of your bed is a risk.
Seen in another light, getting out of your bed is an opportunity to do something that makes you dream.
When you learn a language, I know how discouraging it may be when you are doing your best to get a sentence right and you happen to make a tiny mistake that a native person is pointing out. You may feel like you’ll never achieve fluency because this seems too hard for you.
There are always two sides of a story, and you can choose to be openly positive to change, and this is when you start learning.
“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”
– Marie CURIE
3 – LEARNING ZONE: the one where you gain.
As I previously mentioned, your brain doesn’t like change, its mission is to keep you alive so it will raise awareness when there is a slight change around. This is your ego talking, and you can’t do anything about it.
Let it talk, acknowledge that something risky is going on and… do it anyway.
Once you overcame the fear you can see the external events as challenges and take action towards your goals.
You may feel awkward sometimes. It’s totally OK, your brain is still there, trying to keep you within the comfort lane.
For example, you may feel bad when someone corrects your English. But, would you have liked to keep making that mistake forever? Isn’t being aware of it and being able to improve the best option?
I know how frustrating it may be when you realize that you have been wrong. As you may know, nothing is just black or white, it is full of different shades of gray (more than 50 for sure!) And, in my optimistic reality , I think we can also go through all the colors of the rainbow.
By trying to extend your comfort zone, you will deal with various challenges. You will let go of some parts of your past self and some of them will also shine even brighter. Step by step, challenge after challenge, you will become wiser by learning and discovering from what you did differently in the past.
“What we learn with pleasure, we never forget.”
– Alfred MERCIER
4 – GROWTH ZONE: the one where you end up succeeding and going forward.
This is the zone where you live your dreams, you achieve your goals, find new ones and make a difference in life.
By overcoming fear and learning, you will definitely grow and realize that some of your learning wounds may still be visible.
Your wounds are part of your story, they are a sign of recovery and growth, not as a sign of failure. These wounds helped you build the story you want for yourself, and they may help you find your true purpose.
Never let discomfort push you away from your goals, because the true reward is in enjoying the process of spreading your comfort zone. If you enjoy the whole process, you can be sure that you will be unstoppable.
“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”
– Andy Rooney
Want to learn more?
Have a look at this amazing speech “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable” by Luvvie Ajayi. https://www.ted.com/talks/luvvie_ajayi_get_comfortable_with_being_uncomfortable?language=en
Olivia was born and raised in the Loire Valley in France, she majored in International and European business law. Passionate about languages and multiculturalism, she decided to take the opportunity to live in Tokyo for a semester as an exchange student in Chuo University where she drafted her master’s thesis. Once back to France, she worked as an in-house legal counsel in contract and business law. Slowly missing living abroad within an international environment, she then decided to build her own opportunity and go back to Japan in a move to become fluent in Japanese. This is when she joined Veritas, feeling highly motivated about the value it creates to its clients and willingness to contribute to the goals of Japanese’s ambitious leaders of tomorrow.