Why the Riskiest Thing You Can Do Is Play It Safe

As humans we don’t have time to reevaluate the safety of every situation. This why we build comfort-zones and as soon as we get in uncomfortable situations, we hesitate or run away. Because we associate the uncomfortable situation with danger. If we want to understand this behavior and learn why it is fatal to our success, we have to define the term “comfort-zone” first.

Wikipedia defines the comfort-zone as a psychological state which gives a person the feeling of being at ease and in control. The person experiences low anxiety and stress which lets the person believe, he or she has enough food, love, time etc. Stepping out of the comfort-zone increases stress and anxiety. If the stress level is too high, performance declines. The scientific term for this is distress.

But not all anxiety and stress is bad. Under the right circumstances, it increases the concentration and focus of a person. This type of stress is called eustress and means beneficial stress. So why is the comfort-zone a problem for achieving success? Throughout our lives we build habits and they are part of our comfort-zone, but just because something was not risky a few years ago, doesn’t mean it is still safe.

This is where the problem starts. There is a huge difference between real risk and the perception of risk. In the video below, Seth Godin makes a good example of why it is a problem. A good friend of him was looking for a new job. So Seth came up with some ideas for her, on how she could promote her ability to stand out from other candidates. But she told him that she wouldn’t do it, because it wasn’t in her comfort-zone.

Her idea of safety was wrong, because the job market had changed and she would have to do the things she perceived as uncomfortable in order to succeed. If she would have done the things that felt safe, she would have ended up unemployed. So the safest thing you can do is to take risk, or to do the things that feel like they are risky.

To summarize, not only can stepping out of your comfort-zone increase your productivity, it can also help you to avoid risks, by throwing off old thinking patterns and embrace ideas that may feel uncomfortable, but in realty are things that lead you to success.

I want to end this with a quote from Seth Godin: “If what you did today wasn’t hard, then you probably didn’t create enough value, because you probably didn’t expose yourself to enough risk and fear, because that is what we are paid for. If you have a job, were someone is telling you exactly what to do, they can find someone cheaper than you to do it.”

If you want to know more about risk and self-determination, watch the video below.

Watch the video on YouTube

Watch more at Behind the Brand

Thanks for watching, see you next time!

Jerome Branny

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