The Dead Zone

No, this isn’t a TV series, this is real life.  The Dead Zone may be one of the most well disguised and unrecognized traps ever encountered.  It is a place of stagnancy.  It kills ambition, innovation, imagination, growth and development.  It’s like a desert, miraging itself as a lush oasis.  It gives the appearance of everything one could desire, yet never satisfies.  It limits options and opportunities, snuffs out the spirit of adventure that might possibly lead to anywhere outside it’s borders.  It is a cage of unseen barriers and keeps it’s prey trapped by appealing to their sense of safety and security, even though it’s a lie.  The Dead Zone is like a black hole, always tugging at us and difficult to escape once sucked inside.  It is not something that can be fought with traditional weapons or tactics.  It adapts it’s bait to each individual’s yearnings.  It is certainly one of the best deceptions, and all of us face it’s temptations daily.

What is the Dead Zone?

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The Dead Zone is your COMFORT ZONE.

Think about it.  How motivated is everyone to achieve that perfect sense of comfort in every aspect of their lives?  It drives people (sometimes madly) to push for the next step, the next phase, the better possessions, positions, activities, status, etc.  The feeling of NOT being in your comfort zone, your ultimate feeling of satisfaction and security, deeply motivates action to create change toward achieving that goal.  Therefore, it is the sense of being outside of that comfort zone that really encourages and inspires growth, development, learning, innovation, etc.

What happens once someone starts to feel comfortable though?  Once comfort starts setting in, personal motivation and development tend to become more lethargic and could potentially grind to a halt.  If someone is too comfortable, they seldom want to change anything.  They do only what is necessary to maintain their position of comfort.  Comfort also commonly leads to taking things for granted.  Potentially just little things at first, but the things taken for granted can grow much larger the longer and more comfortable the individual is within their perceived paradise.  Those who live inside their comfort zones can also sometimes start feeling entitled, like others should cater to their level of comfort.  This can potentially lead to unrealistic expectations and a self-centered attitude.

I’m not saying it’s always bad to be comfortable or that we should live in an indefinite state of discomfort.  What I am saying is that your comfort zone should be treated as a nice place to visit and rest once in a while, but not a place to live.  It’s like a dream vacation, but it’s not real life, and ultimately can be detrimental if one tries to stay inside their comfort zone permanently.  Comfort zones are meant to be stretched and expanded.  The only way to do that is to regularly step outside of them.  Stepping out of the “safety” of the comfort zone is where all the really important stuff happens.

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Learning!  Experiences!  Growth!  Gaining wisdom!  Critical thinking & problem solving!  Innovation & inventions!  Creativity!  Adventures!  Survival skills!  Perseverance!  Social skills!  Plus so much more!  These things don’t happen inside the comfort zone.  That’s a place to relax and know that everything is how you want it to be.  That doesn’t require growth, learning, skills or critical thinking.  That’s where you can shut down and feel safe.  Stay there too long though and your necessary skills for when life invades your comfort zone may become dull and leave you unprepared to adapt to unexpected changes.  Bear in mind as some encouragement though, that the more you live outside your comfort zone, the larger your comfort zone expands and the more versatile and adaptable you are to various circumstances and situations.  This can enable you to find pockets of comfort where others can’t.

I heard it said once that, “a satisfied appetite always grows.”  This isn’t just referring to hunger or food cravings.  The most prevalent example is money.  So often, we commonly think that if we just had a little more money, then we’d be happy.  Then our needs would be met and everything would be great.  But what actually happens when that desire is satisfied?  When the income increases, so does the desire for more.  The quality of life might be upgraded with the new found income, which then costs more and once again we start thinking, if I only had a little more, then it would be enough.  The truth is, it will never be enough until you can learn to view what you currently have as enough.  Contentment cannot be found by wishing for what you don’t have, but by appreciating and finding satisfaction in what you do have.

Learn to be comfortable outside of your comfort zone and you will be very adaptable and satisfied no matter what life throws at you.  It will keep your skills and mind sharp and focused, always productive, always finding solutions, always finding ways to be creative.  This will lead to a much fuller and more fulfilling life.

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Staying inside the comfort zone causes growth and development to stagnate.  That’s why I call it the Dead Zone.  Don’t live a dead life.  Live a life that is truly ALIVE!

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3 thoughts on “The Dead Zone

  • So true! Grass is always greener right? God wants to take us out of our comfort zones.. and exploration is naturally part of the human character. A comfort zone is a place we shouldn’t live in: we can’t be truly happy there.

  • I really like how you start of by showing not only that stagnation happens when there is no growth, but that often, it is our desire for comfort that pushes us beyond our comfort zone. We may think that we are moving towards our comfort zone, but it is exactly how you put it. we are growing our comfort zone so it will include the things we are moving towards.

    I have always liked to think of it as a circle and as you push in one direction, the zone grows in all directions. That is because the skills and adaptations you incorporate into your comfort zone can be applied in any area of life to make that situation more comfortable.

    I also really liked that chart at the end showing the different stages. I am assuming that is for different stages of dealing with change? In any case, it is helpful to look at different aspects of life and see where they fall on that chart. In some, I feel like I am in understanding or integration, but many I feel like are in the discomfort and discovery area. These times are very difficult, but just like stressing and tempering metal makes it stronger and forms it into something useful, it is out of our challenges and difficulties that we form ourselves into something more and more useful or capable.

    • I liked that chart too, which is why I included it. When I found it, it did not have an accompanying explanation of the chart, but I would agree with your statement that it seems to be the stages of dealing with change, and I felt it was appropriate when discussing comfort zones and growth.

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