In your Comfort zone, you are familiar. You are familiar with your habits; you know your preferences. There is no mental or physical challenge.
In everyday life, being in your comfort zone can affect your life in a few ways. You might always order the same food when you go to a restaurant, drive the same way to work each day, talk to the same people, or sit and watch the same shows. In a daily setting this can be fine, but it also comes with some problems. People in this zone tend to be… lazy. Not in the sense they aren’t doing anything at all, you might be a very busy person, but more in the sense that people tend to become unaware.
In almost any martial art, people can become equally unaware. You train with the same people, in the same room, and at the same level of intensity, It’s all easy and risk free.
We don’t want you to freeze in a fight, so we always encourage, after some time has passed, that you progress out of this zone.
Discovery or Learning
This zone is probably most optimal for many people. The discovery or learning zone is not where you master, but where your curiosity drives you. This is where you will start to question yourself. Here, you will start to observe, compare, earn, and understand. In this area, very situation is an opportunity to learn. You will make mistakes, but if you are trying you will see improvements at this stage.
For example, if you start a new job, the first day you might be in the panic zone (we will get to that), but after a few months, you get to know everyone, but you are still learning new things in the job itself. You are in a safe learning environment, and the people around you have your back. This might sound comfortable, but there is a distinct difference. In the comfort zone, you have stopped learning. In the discovery zone, you are actively making improvements.
Panic, anxiety, fear.
What may be your comfort zone is someone else’s panic zone.
I believe the panic zone is most common when someone is trying something for the first time. You are thrust our of your comfort zone and you are acing the unknown. It’s not all bad though.
Stepping out of your comfort zone or your learning zone will have a lot of added value because you don’t know anything, but you also KNOW that you don’t know anything. Going into this zone can consolidate and improve your other zones with the right mind set and teacher. Be careful though, you will also run the risk of having a bad experience and turning you off the task. the result might be to return to your comfort zone, never to leave it.
In our martial art, we tend to take steps into the panic zone, so that we can expand the other 2 zones. At the end of the day, martial arts are about experiencing, so it is important to confront those fears.
For me personally, I get restless when I am in the comfort zone, so Ninjutsu was an excellent lifestyle to start, because I am always discovering the new, and putting myself into these (controlled) panic situations. Many times, when things are demonstrated people will get nervous, and the mind starts racing.
- Will it hurt?
- and if so How much?
- What will happen if I fail?
- Will people laugh at me?
But the truth is we are all here to learn, so context is key. Build our confidence, work together, and push yourself. Most importantly though have fun.