There are many ways to define the comfort zone. Probably the most popular definition of it is a place where you feel safe and content with the way your life is. When talking about success, we are sometimes told by those who have succeeded that the comfort zone is where progress does not happen.
I believe that too.
But there’s more to the comfort zone than we generally think about when talking about it.
Let us talk about the Locus Of Control concept.
The concept describes how every person has an internal and external locus of control. The internal locus of control representing situations in and around one’s life that are completely controllable by that individual. While external locus of control represents situations/events in and around one’s life that cannot be controlled by that same individual.
A simple example would be dealing with cleaning up an environment around where you live.
You have two ways you could react to the situation. The first way, is that you could make a public complaint about the unclean area and hope that whoever governs that area deals with the issue.
You could ensure that you keep clean a portion of that area surrounding your home.
Now this isn’t the best example of locus of control, but it was necessary to ease-you into it if you haven’t heard about it before.
A more accurate example would be…
In a business setting. You probably work for a company that seems to be struggling to keep itself operational. Your employer probably has a sit down with you to explain the situation in detail. Your employer then tells you that the company is going to have to reduce your salary for the next 6 or 8 months as they work on increasing profits.
At that moment, you are probably thinking that you won’t be able to get that car you were going to buy in the next few months. You are also thinking that things will be a lot difficult at home because you have a new baby on the way.
You get stressed. Because, there’s nothing you (at your level) can do to change the company’s situation.
This is how we let things we cannot control affect our moods, our choices… our lives.
However, if we instead think of looking for better paying jobs, earning some extra money from doing side hustles… then we realize something important.
The company’s situation doesn’t have to be our own.
When we begin to focus (in thought and action) on what we can control, then we are working on our internal locus of control. Realizing that we have more options to take ourselves to a better place than we initially thought.
We are… and always have been, the masters of our own lives.
The second thing I wanted to bring to your attention is about how we consume information.
Information that affects our everyday lives. Including how we choose to deal with life’s challenges. Challenges we face at school, work, relationships or business.
If you are watching business news, and it suggests that economy in your country is doing poorly and will continue to do so for the next several years… how would you react?
A typical reaction for a SEASONED and SUCCESSFUL entrepreneur is excitement. More often than not, these minds tend to go looking for the answer to this question: “What is the opportunity here?”
And unless you are seasoned entrepreneur, you might not have such a reaction to a situation that seems hopeless.
By why is that?
Why don’t we naturally have a tendency to try derive some kind of solution from a setback?
We may have not intentionally started out with habits, but we often pick up progress-focused or progress-preventing habits sub-consciously.
When you train your mind to not see solutions… you don’t develop that “muscle”.
You become what you repeatedly do.
It is almost natural to see aspiring entrepreneurs following up on successful entrepreneurs. Like on social media or in person. They do not naturally want to follow those who gave up or didn’t succeed.
Rappers who want to succeed in rap… follow, study and focus on thinking like great rappers.
This is very powerful. This information or knowledge we are trying to acquire has a significant psychological effect on us. We form life-long concrete habits and mindsets based on this kind of strategy. Following or keeping up with information is like feeding your mind.
Your mind… or even YOU… talk and think about what you consume. Even your own dreams and ambitions are shaped by what’s in your mind.
But how did it get into you mind?
No one who has lived in a locked room for 5 years without TV, internet or information on business will suddenly be inspired to be an entrepreneur once released to the world.
Whatever was on that person’s mind is what we he will work on developing most until he/she begins consuming different information.
So before you begin thinking that Henry Ford was a genius from establishing the assembly plant… or that Bill Gates was a one of a kind genius for establishing Microsoft… first think about what dominated their minds in the years leading to those historic moments.
If you attempt to replicate other people’s success by focusing on that one discovery that made them famous as opposed to who they are and how they think… then do not be surprised when you run into a roadblock.
That one victory was probably the result of life lived rather than a strategy implemented.
Bringing them all together… Comfort zone, locus of control and consumption of information.
The comfort zone is a place where you put faith in the future you do not want to build for yourself or those around you. It is the present day reflection of what you want in the future.
Many of us will not be forced to change how we are today, unless we begin to see drastic signs that our future isn’t going to be what we thought it would be.
And putting faith in the future is another way of saying that you are putting faith in others to ensure that you get the future you want. For instance, an employer, chairperson, government official, community manager.
So with regard to locus of control, this is a strategy that suggests that external factors will take care of your modest needs. Whether now or in the future.
However, if you pay attention to how times are changing you will realize that the schools we went to… aren’t the same as the ones future generations will go to. Our entry-level job markets… aren’t the same as the ones future generations we get.
What has been the value of a 100 US Dollars for the past several decades? Has it not changed? Can it not change in the future?
All these are examples of things we cannot control.
But is there something we can do from this moment going forward to better our own futures?
That is a very important question. A question I have never stopped asking myself despite all the drama that seems to be a part of our every day lives.
Is there a skill I could learn? An opportunity I could cease? A market I could serve? A business I could own?
My answer is yes.
The next step would be to fill my mind with everything I need to know about that which I desire most.
From books, to tutorials, to blog articles to podcasts to TV shows to magazines to newspaper articles on business, success and achieving goals… the more I consume that information, the more I stock my mind with it.
Inevitably, the more I understand the subject. The more I understand, the more capable I become of taking action that will lead to progress.
And over time, practice will make permanent.
If you want to leave the comfort zone, you must first draw a clear picture of what it is your living for today. You must ask yourself this question. You should not avoid it. What are you currently building with the action you are taking daily? Is it leading to the future you want? Has it been leading to the future you want?
Have you been consuming information that’s given you idea of where you might be headed?
Don’t hope that things will change for the better when you yourself can contribute significantly. It doesn’t have to be massive action. It can be some one activity you perform daily.
The mindset and habits of one who sees themselves succeed at the end of their pursuit… is developed with active practice. Don’t wish you had the traits… begin to adopt them.
You might find it hard and challenging at first, but that’s why you don’t give up trying to ride a bike on the first try. Continue to practice them until you get it.
You will be walking out of comfort zones as easily as changing your mind on what you want to have for lunch.
Practice makes permanent.