“Fear is a useful measure of proximity to comfort zone. It recedes to a manageable level when taking measured steps beyond the boundary of what is known. Step by step, you expand what is comfortable into the unknown.” — The Prolific Creator
Fear is a useful measure of change.
Leap and fear flares to terror.
Step and fear fizzles to discomfort.
A spectrum of emotion stretches from the center of the comfort zone to well outside of it into the unknown. The key to taking more measured steps toward growth lies in understanding this spectrum and its associated messages.
Comfort extends from the center of the comfort zone to just inside its edge. Life is familiar here. Well explored. Safe. Secure. A warm blanket. Free from worry. The only danger is in staying too long where comfort becomes an illusion masking decay.
Straddling the comfort zone’s edge is discomfort. Nearing the edge and going just a step beyond leaves one feeling uneasy. The unknown awaits, but comfort is still within reach. The optimal path lies here. Not too difficult a stretch. Not too little to be absent value.
Beyond discomfort lies fear. A chill running down the spine. Hair standing on edge. The feeling of being watched. A sense of impending doom. It is not safe here. The terrain is too difficult to navigate. Only great willpower and courage can overcome.
Beyond fear lies terror. The landscape is alien in all directions. Lost with no way back. The wolves of uncertainty circle tirelessly. The world is harsh and unforgiving here. It seeks to devour and obliterate. The amygdala signals fight or flight. Nothing else matters.
Emotion is a useful guide when delineated by the underlying message.
Comfort → familiar and safe
Discomfort → opportunity for growth
Fear → unfamiliar and dangerous
Terror → lost, drowning in the unknown
Aim for discomfort when stretching the comfort zone’s boundary. Expand it one step at a time after exploring the edge and mining its secrets.
🤔 Food for Thought:
How do you measure the best way forward?
Do you confuse discomfort with fear?
Can you separate the medium of emotion from its message?
Can you use both to take more measured steps?
⚙️ One Small Step:
Discomfort comes in many forms: embarrassment, shame, silliness, distraction and more. It is the mildest form of resistance. It is curiosity seeking the edge. You must learn to see this feeling as a signal to step forward. Its message speaks of opportunity for growth.