I’m guessing you know what “comfort zone” means, but I’m also guessing you’re not completely aware of the extent of this psychological behavior manipulator (or how to beat it).

I want you to think of your Comfort Zone like a bathtub. Your Comfort Zone bathtub is full of clean, warm, relaxing water.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself in your Comfort Zone tub. Now look at the fun little rubber duckies floating around you. Pick one up. Examine it.

Now see it for what it really is: a manipulative object.

Watch them all transform into their true selves: addictions, symbolic substitutes, immediate gratification, and deep-rooted emotions such as shame, fear, and guilt.

This is how your Comfort Zone tub works. It represents a soothing, seemingly safe environment surrounded by a cold, uncomfortable world. This is why you love staying in your tub and rarely venture outside its walls. 

The problem is that everything you want in life exists outside of this tub. Dreams, goals, and opportunities. Authentic connection. Happiness. 

But you’re so afraid to step out. You might slip and fall. You might be cold and uncomfortable. You might fail or feel pain. It’s much safer to stay put in the tub.

So you stay in the tub, choosing to be paralyzed by immediate gratification and meaningless, superficial decision making. You pretend to move forward when you’ve never moved an inch. At best you’ve moved from one side of the tub to the other.

Somewhere along the line, you lost your curiosity. Your willingness to learn and grow and be greater than you are now, even if it meant confronting and pushing through pain. These are things you did daily as a child, but now the willingness seems lost. Oppressed.

When the world doesn’t give you exactly what you want, when you want it, with little effort, you proclaim the world to be broken. And you crawl back in your tub.

This is the tub of unhappiness. It represents being stuck with fear, shame, and guilt. Stuck with inauthenticity. Stuck with mediocrity. Forever.

Your Comfort Zone is a powerful source of self-sabotage. It’s a powerful source of negative self-talk and toxic beliefs. And it’s a massive obstacle to getting your core needs met as a human being, serving a greater purpose, and having a body and life you love.

What you must understand is that there are three layers here. Layer one is the tub. Layer two is the cold, uncomfortable environment surrounding the tub. And layer three is the bright, magnificent environment that lies beyond that.

Are you done living in that tub? Are you ready to enter the warm sunlight of success and authenticity? If you are, here’s an exercise to help you escape…

  1. Choose something you’re avoiding doing. It doesn’t matter if it’s health and fitness related—it can be anything. 
  2. Now think of the absolute worst thing that can happen if you step out of the tub and commit your attention and effort to this thing. If “death” isn’t a possibility, proceed to the next step…
  3. Adopt a “bring it on” attitude. Close your eyes and see yourself stepping out of a warm bath tub into the cold environment. But beyond that layer, see the shining light of happiness and success—the third layer.
  4. Tell yourself, “I welcome pain.” This is not a masochistic view. Masochists enjoy unnecessary pain. The courageous enjoy necessary pain. Successful people will tell you that their success lives on top of a mountain of failures. They were willing to endure the failures to achieve the great success.
  5. Imagine yourself putting clothes on and heading out your door. At this point, tell yourself, “pain sets me free.” This is the visualization of you doing real work. Leaving the tub behind and entering The Real World.

What you’ll notice is that pain and fear lose their power the moment you step out that door. Pain and fear are the monsters in the closet—once you open the door to reveal them, you see they were mere figments. Terrible fairy tales the objects in the bathtub were telling you.

The mindset of “I welcome pain” is precisely what protects you from it and erodes the fear to a level at which you can still operate and move forward. This inner greatness is what creates outward-greatness. This is the process that will manifest true success in your life.

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