A comfort zone is a situation where an individual feels little or no anxiety. This can be expanded by facing fears and taking reasonable levels of calculated risk. Taking on activities that create a healthy level of anxiety is considered a basic approach to self-improvement that can increase the talents, abilities and personal resilience of an individual. The following are common examples of a comfort zone.
UncertaintySituations that are uncertain. For example, a public bureaucrat with a stable paycheck, predetermined annual bonus and high job security may feel out of their comfort zone taking a sales job with variable income where job security depends on recent performance.Situations where there is potential for a loss. For example, a big wave surfer who is comfortable in large swells that would frighten the average surfer.
TasksTasks such as public speaking that commonly create anxiety the first few times you try it. With experience this can completely fade such that speaking in front of large crowds can be added to an individual's comfort zone.
SocialSocial situations such as the comfort you feel around family and old friends. Networking and meeting new people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives may take an individual out of their comfort zone.
IdeasLimiting your intake of communication and information to people and media that agree with your worldview. An inability to deal with conflicting ideas is the motivation for groupthink whereby everyone in a group is required to adhere to an ideological framework or face social exclusion.
ResponsibilitiesThe responsibilities of a new social or economic role can become comfortable with time. For example, a coach of a basketball team who was nervous in their first season who has lost any sense of healthy anxiety after 25 seasons.
EntertainmentEntertainment is the commoditization of experience whereby engaging experiences are offered as a product or service such as a film, theme park or media platform. These can be designed to take you out of your comfort zone. For example, a thrilling ride at an amusement park that makes most people a little nervous the first time they try it. However, most entertainment is designed to be completely comfortable and highly engaging such that people many spend many hours every day in a state of zero anxiety consuming entertainment such as videos of cats.
Sour GrapesSour grapes is a type of denial whereby people believe that things they can't obtain aren't worth having. This is an analogy to a fox who sees grapes beyond their reach so they assume they must be sour. Sour grapes is often used as an excuse to stay in your comfort zone such as an employee who is comfortable in their job who convinces themself that promotions aren't good.
Status QuoThe status quo is the way things have been in the past. This is a comfort zone at the level of a society, culture, community, organization or team. Groups tend to defend the status quo in order to avoid their fears. This can be quite irrational where groups resist overwhelming changes that are inevitable such that they risk their own future. For example, an accounting team in the 1970s that strongly resists the computerization of their records and work.
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