Why I don’t believe in the myth of Comfort Zone

Sabina-Irina Gavriloaiei
2 min readFeb 16, 2024

In short terms: it is something that can’t be clearly defined, like a “recipe” with some steps to follow.

In the same way, going out on the street and jumping in front of a car can be also seen as out of your comfort zone, right?

Nowadays we can hear a lot advice of about “going beyond your Comfort Zone”. And I can agree that pushing yourself can lead to growth. But also it is important to give yourself time to integrate these safely.

Pushing yourself too far can lead to anxiety, depression, and burnout when the terms are not properly defined. It is good to pay attention to details, but perfection (as a form of constant or extreme attention to details) can be seen as a bad thing.

Learning can be achieved with better results in the long term in a safe environment, and being resourceful. That is the reason why I embrace more the concept of psychological safety (1, 2, 3). I feel it has better scientific support and is accessed mainly by specialists.

On the other hand, everybody knows your comfort zone and everybody can advise you on this. It is like a pill generally applicable to all the problems. But this doesn’t guarantee your success.

Going beyond your comfort zone comes from a background of competitively, but psychological safety is based on collaboration.

In Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs, the second level is for safety needs. And this is a theory with a lot of years behind it and recent researches only complete it on the top.

Where is the comfort zone on this pyramid? You can say that is part of the “self-actualization”. It can be or it can’t depending on how you define it. But for sure the author didn’t find this concept similar because he would use the “comfort zone” there for the top (and not “self-actualization”).

When I started to doubt all the advice regarding my comfort zone, I found a TedX to support this. I enjoyed it and it helped me to put some clarity in my ideas.

So what would be advice: don’t think to your comfort zone because this is like a “one-night shot”. It is not sustained on long them.

It works better to develop a learning mindset and to find an environment safe for all your mistakes, weaknesses, or falls. Find an environment and, better, find some people to support this.

Comfort makes us happy. On this feeling, you can build anything. But fear affects in different ways each of us.

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Sabina-Irina Gavriloaiei

I’m a passionate HR consultant, a talent counselor, and a life-long learner. You can check my blog here: https://hrjournalbysabina.blogspot.com/