Track 9 – Revising Comfort Zones

It is important to understand the power of comfort and how to alter them. It’s funny we even call them comfort zones; they really should be called what we are willing to accept zones.

Comfort zones start to appear as far back as grade school. For example, in fourth grade the teacher may assign a composition on the flag, due Friday. The first question we knew to ask was “How many words does it have to be”?

As we get older, they become more customized depending on the expectations of yourself that develop. You may walk into the first day of ninth grade history class and ask yourself, “I wonder what it takes to get a C in this class”. So we learn at a very young age to calculate what are minimum requirements are to complete a task at the lowest level we are willing to accept.

As we get older it becomes politically incorrect to verbally ask minimum requirement questions, but we have minimum requirements calculated in our mind.

By the time that we become adults; we have jobs, we have families, we have health issues, and we have a lot of responsibilities. So we have both consciously and unconsciously figured out in every area of our lives what the minimum amount is we need to do to keep the kids happy, to keep your spouse happy, to keep the boss happy, and to keep the sales at a certain level.

A lot of folks may think that’s just human nature, but there is a clear underlying danger in following this so called natural path. When the minimum you must do becomes the maximum that you are willing to do, the sum of your life is mediocrity.

That’s how we lose a great portion of our personal potential. We end up under-utilizing our talents and abilities and miss the opportunity to develop more effective personal attributes.

Once we maximize our time and effort we tend to develop routines that keep us producing results at the same level and drastically slow down continuous improvement in our achievements and accomplishments.

When we max out on how much time and effort we can afford to invest into a particular area of our life we need to be able to move our comfort zones to the next level. That will enable us to adjust techniques attitudes and habits that contribute to things like our time effectiveness, organizational skills, design ideas and creativity.

The ability to move comfort zones forward will direct us to what attributes that need to be re-calibrated to eventually synchronize ourselves and our activities to the new level of achievement.

Another natural occurrence in productivity is that we have stronger times and weaker times. We have successful weeks, followed by not so successful weeks. We have good months followed by not so good months. But over a period of time we tend to keep the same average. This is how we become stuck in a productivity limbo.

A good metaphor to visualize as the way comfort zones are revised is a person walking up a flight of stairs, working a yo-yo. The yo-yo represents the natural tendency we have to have more effective times than others. The height of the yo-yo represents the actual overall quality of our results. Where half way up the steps the low point of the yo-yo was actually a high point a few steps back.

To put it into perspective, a good sales month in February may be a mediocre month in July, and that same level of productivity may feel very uncomfortable in November.

When we understand how to continue on this progressive path we can, at will, improve our productivity and the quality of our life.