Your Discomfort Zone

from Seth’s Blog

Most of us need an external stimulus to do our best work.

It helps to have an alarm clock if you want to get out of bed before dawn.

A presentation. A deadline. A live performance. The threat of foreclosure, an upcoming review or some sort of crisis.

We can use these pressures to dig deeper, find new resources and overcome our self doubt.

The challenge is that sometimes, we pick the wrong stimulus. We choose a prompt to serve us, but we end up serving it, in a situation that hurts us (and others) instead of fueling the work.

It’s essential to realize that our discomfort zone is a choice, there isn’t a pre-ordained roster. If you need a deadline, for example, but have discovered that those deadlines are costing you money (because shortcuts are expensive), then it’s worth doing the hard work to find a new form of discomfort.

More here.

Posted in Ideas and tagged , , .


  1. I agree with Seth’s Blog that many things that worry us such as deadlines or presentations are the driving force in most people’s actions. I also agree with the fact that most people’s comfort zones strongly impact each individual’s life and we end up serving it in comparison to comfort zones serving us. In my case as a college student worries such as deadlines and presentations are aspects that are very apparent in my day to day life. These deadlines being an obvious driving force in my action because if I did not have grades and syllabi or tests, I would not in my own free time decide to write a paper on advertisements or a presentation on something important to me. However, I think deadlines and worries such as these are necessary and should serve us. This because these deadlines today are preparing us for the future as well as many things that we do not want to do or things that make us feel out of our comfort zone. For instance, I am taking an oral communications class, and this class puts me outside of my comfort zone. I have never been an individual who could not get up in front of people and give a presentation. However, there was actually a time in my life where it was my favorite thing to do. That is not the case now even though I can give a well-organized presentation, I get very nervous especially when the topic is not something I am well versed in at the start. Nonetheless, I feel as if these presentations are greatly helping me not only expand my knowledge of different topics but also expand my comfort zone. This being said, I have the choice to practice, show up, and present the speech however there are those who let their discomfort zone over take them and as Seth’s Blog puts it “if it’s not serving you, fix it” (Seth’s Blog). This meaning to me that if you are not trying to expand your comfort zone, challenge yourself, and change the way your approach things then you are never going to become a professional or an expert at a practice, you will simply just get by.

  2. I always heard the phrase, “step out of your comfort zone.” I always tried to follow this and do things that made me feel uncomfortable. However, I never realized that a “discomfort zone: was a term. It makes sense, that often times uncomfortable events strive us to achieve more. These event’s like deadlines put more pressure on individuals who have perform actions before their time is over. Ultimately, too much pressure on us can be harmful. In some ways these uncomfortable events can lead to self-doubt. Self-doubt is the worst feeling ever! No one wants to doubt their own abilities when they work hard to achieve their best versions of themselves.

    I came across this article, “How I found my discomfort zone,” which explores different methods of overcoming fears in your discomfort zone. The author, Olivia Hartland-Robbins, mentions how exams are the “one thing we’ve all had the pleasure or displeasure of experiencing.” This made me realize that we all experience this in our lives daily as college students. Often times in moments of pressure like these, we happen to perform our best work. What caught my attention in this article, was the steps mentioned on how to achieve the “BMD Method” (Brief Moments of Discomfort). Step number 2, “Feeling comfortable with discomfort,” is hard to pursue however not impossible. I think it takes time to be able to not feel uneasy in anxious situations. You have to build confidence! Once confidence is built, anything can be achieved.

    Personally, I have felt uncomfortable in many situations and sometimes doubted myself on how I can succeed. Overtime, I realize that too much pressure on yourself can be exhausting. It is important to be happy with the decisions you make. Stepping into your discomfort zone is a choice. If you are not happy with it, then don’t pursue it. Therefore, it is important to make wise choices in order to improve ourselves for the best.

  3. I had to read this article more than once to fully understand it and gather my thoughts. I think this article pertains to our generation the most. It calls all of us gen-z’ers and millennials out on our need to always be prompted to do something, and also to complete a task our necessity of a deadline or consequence to actually do it. This is a big flaw that many of us have (me included), that we have to try to break out of. From my personal experience working at a dentist office, (not to toot my own horn) I was told by my co-workers and boss that I was very hard working and I prompted myself to get the hygienists the supplies they needed and make sure they were on time and had all of the sterilized instruments they needed. It was surprising to hear that previous hygiene assistants were not as efficient as me, and seemed to not really care about their work. They would be caught on their phones or standing around when they could be re-stocking drawers and wiping down chairs. Many older generations look at us and see us as lazy and not hard working. This is because we have grown up relying on technology and prompts to fuel our energy level, skirting by on minimal effort and doing the bare minimum.
    I liked this post a lot, because although it was short, it really put into perspective the need to force oneself to be in discomfort, but in a positive way. An example of this would be going to the gym. When one goes to the gym, they do not expect to be comfortable the entire time like they are relaxing at a spa. By pushing oneself by running a little faster on the treadmill, or lifting ten pounds heavier than normal, we are putting ourselves in discomfort, but it is beneficial. Many people dread deadlines and other negative things that will drive them to seek out alternative measures so they do not have to experience that discomfort. But something that we all need to realize is that this exact discomfort we are feeling, is overall beneficial to oneself. Whether it be gaining experience, getting a raise or completing a marathon, nothing comes out of that unless one feels some sort of discomfort in their build up to the task at hand.

  4. I agree with Seth’s blog in that external stimulus do aid in getting the job done in time before a deadline, or some other sort of imposed external pressure to complete a task or achieve a goal. When I was a high school student, I tended to operate on an internal alarm that would wake up in the morning about 30 minutes before my actual clock alarm would go off. Now, I have to set an alarm on my phone every night before I go to bed, or else I will not wake up in time to get ready. After reading this article, I believe that by setting my alarm in the morning I am imposing a deadline on myself that places me into my discomfort zone. However, I also am taking many harder courses in college that place me into my discomfort zone because they push me to learn as much as possible. I enjoy these classes though because they are challenging.

    As Seth said in his blog, “it’s worth investing in a new way to poke yourself to dig deeper.” I completely agree with this statement because many of the experiences and achievements that I have been fortunate to receive have come from placing myself into my discomfort zone. Sometimes, the risk is definitely worth the reward in trying new activities, joining various clubs, and learning new trades. However, I have experienced what Seth described as the wrong form of discomfort. For example, I joined a club sport this semester at my school, but I ultimately decided that that club sport was not a good fit for my current academic, work, and social schedules. I think that knowing when to pull back from activities or actions that become overwhelming or turn into a chore is very important. I believe that by continuing to push myself into my discomfort zone, I will have many more rewarding experiences.

  5. When you look at any common human being, we all have our discomfort zones, but it’s really about getting over them and with that it takes time and reevaluating how we do things. Seth’s article states that we use the wrong stimulus sometimes that throw off and ends up bringing negativity rather than positivity and a better work ethic. However, it goes to show if one can get past their comfort zones than one can produce better work and create better opportunities in life.
    It’s worth noting that discomfort can often produce better results and help us dig deeper to focus on what is at hand. For me personally, I think that discomfort helps me motivate myself to work harder and be the better person in difficult situations. I know for a fact that when there are many other projects going on and I’m just trying to focus on homework I end up in my discomfort zone. However, I find it easier on myself if I do a little part of each project each day, I complete my work more efficiently and don’t feel rushed at all. Other things that bother most such as a presentation don’t really bother me too much and actually push me harder.
    If one can find what calms, then when discomfort arises then settling in will be much easier than most think. One needs to go into everything they do with a positive attitude in order to prevent discomfort. A positive attitude and mindset show that can’t be bothered by what’s going on around them and shows that their attitude can rub off on the people around them that might be going through the same type of situation. Helping others strive to get out of their discomfort zone helps benefit both parties and is a healthy thing to do to push each other. Even though our discomfort zone isn’t our choice, there certainly is things to help combat it and to help prevent ourselves from falling deeper into that zone. Focusing on what makes us happy and also focusing on positive thoughts can make anyone persevere as long as they take it one step at a time.

  6. Having an external stimulus as Seth stated really does help us to get the ball rolling and prompt us to take action. Many people do better in situations when they are put on the spot or pushed into their discomfort zones. From personal experience, staying within your comfort zone will not push you to become a better version of yourself. The only way to grow and become a better version of yourself is to stay within your discomfort zone. The more uncomfortable one is in a situation, the more they are learning and growing. For example, I have always been more on the shy side especially when I was younger. If I had stayed within my comfort zone which involved not talking to anyone I was not familiar with, I would not have been able to grow and get over my shyness over time. The only way for me to slowly conquer this was to be pushed into my discomfort zone. The more uncomfortable I was in my surroundings, the more I was learning to get over that discomfort and grow. As Seth stated, deadlines are a type of external stimulus that helps us do our best work. As a college student, I as well as any other student can attest that deadlines do indeed help us to do our best work. If there were no deadlines, there would be nothing pushing us to get the job done. In that case, the job might not ever get done if there were no due dates. In the end, Seth’s article is completely correct in the fact that discomfort pushes us to become a better version of ourselves.

  7. External stimuli are a part of our everyday life, because without them, our lives would not go how we planned, or would waste our potential. We set alarms in the morning because if we did not we would wake up far too late, and in this time that we are, in this case, asleep, we are wasting potential we could be obtaining if we were awake. The same exists with deadlines as addressed in the blog post, it is something that will make us do something else in response, something we may not have done on our own, like for instance wake up in time. Without a deadline, there would be little to no motivation to do something, because there would be no repercussions if we did carry out what had to be done or if we did not. What has to be done would be at the time of our choice, during leisure time, at minimum, in some cases it might never get done at all. As much as I take advantage of these stimuli it insinuates that there is a sense of distrust in ourselves, for example, we do not trust ourselves to wake up on time, and we do not trust ourselves to complete the assignment on time if it were not for deadlines set in place. However, this is an extremely pessimistic view on these external stimuli, when really I see them as tools that we use to our personal gain. These indirectly make us more successful by maximizing our success. Even if it means that I am going out of the way to do these unenjoyable things, the sacrifice is worth it if it means that I can be the most successful person I can be. I would rather wake up at 6am every day and have to meet dozens of deadlines if it means that I can maximize my success especially because one of my biggest fears is wasting my full potential. Luckily the circumstances that I am in have hopefully put me in a place that will allow me to achieve this potential, I am a college student of a financially comfortable family. I am far more fortunate than others who may not be able to reach their full potential, but simply because they have no choice, I have a choice and I need to take advantage of it.

  8. Self doubt is something that I constantly face in my everyday life as a college student. With everything that I have accomplished thus far. Is only because I was able to step out of my comfort zone and apply myself to certain things that I would have never seen myself doing. Stepping out of my comfort zone was definitely difficult to do however, very rewarding.

    I also completely agree with Javon’s comment, we have to work hard to achieve what we want. Being successful or achieving a dream does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of dedication, hard and a lot of stepping into our discomfort zone. Starting my own organization has definitely taught me to step out of my comfort zone. Has my organization grow, I have realized that it is only growing because I am continuing to work hard. I am constantly adapting, making adjustments, and learning from my mistakes. Because I have set the sky’s as my limit, the organization will eventually reach its full potential or more than what I have always dreamt of. It is very important to drill into our minds that, our success and dreams only goes as far as we want them to go. For example, I believe what Seth is trying to point out by saying, “our discomfort zone is a choice, and if it’s not serving you, fix it,” It means that if something is not working or we are not content or satisfied with how we are reaching our goals, we need to change it. We need to change our stimulus and our path. There are so many ways to achieve what we want to do. All though we may not have the same possibilities or opportunities, we are all capable of becoming a professional.

  9. This article was very eye opening to me especially because I have been a firm believer in using one’s discomfort zone to improve their daily life and goals. The author starts off by saying how people use alarm clocks to get out of bed before dawn. He says this to enhance his initial argument of using pressures to dig deeper and overcome obstacles. The main part of the article that stuck out to me was the part where the author mentions that our discomfort zone is a choice. As a college student being able to live and succeed in my discomfort zone is necessary in order for me to obtain good grades and get a good job after college. I always set my alarm the night before so I am able to wake up for class on time. This allows me to get used to waking up at earlier times and strive in my discomfort zone. I’ve struggled with procrastination over the past years and have been trying to get out of my comfort zone by trying to start my projects and assignments earlier. In the article, he talks about how when we hear about dysfunctional managers, it is mostly a situation where someone who should know better has chosen the wrong form of discomfort. I’ve seen this first hand in my job at PepBoys, as a general service mechanic. My manager is constantly stressed with her duties and gets flustered very easily. After reading the article, it only became more evident that she has chosen the wrong form of discomfort, as discomfort is a choice. Getting out of my comfort zone has been my ongoing goal in the last year because I have been living my life doing the same things and not getting the full benefits that I could get from getting out of my comfort zone. Now that I live on my own, that is the biggest discomfort I have had to deal with, but it has been the most rewarding. It has helped me learn to care for myself, and face the responsibilities of being an adult.

  10. I found this article very interesting for many reasons. First of all, when it comes to needing an external stimulus, I find myself almost needing some type of reason to do most things in my life. I wait until the last second to do most assignments, no matter how many times I tell myself I should try to start it days ahead of the due date. I will wait to do laundry until I know I do not have any more clean clothes for the next day. Also, if I do not set reminders for places I need to go or things I need to do, I will either forget or put it off for another day. Unless it is something I am looking forward to doing, I almost always need an external stimulus in order to get things done.
    On the other hand, when it comes to putting myself in my discomfort zone, I am not fazed by the pressure or anxieties that are supposed to come along with it. For example, being a pitcher at the Division I level puts me in many different situations that can be considered stressful and uncomfortable. However, when I am in these moments, I rarely ever feel the pressure and discomfort that is supposed to come with these situations. Actually, I find that I perform better when I am in these high pressure situations because I fall back on my training and do not think as much. I also believe that this is why I wait until the last second to complete assignments. When I know I do not have any more time to mess around and procrastinate, I bear down and attack the assignment head on. The pressure and anxieties that usually come with crunch time affect me positively and I honestly believe I do a better job because I am more focused. The article says that “the biggest difference between a professional, an amateur, and someone who is not even participating is their choice of discomfort.” I believe that the numerous of high-discomfort situations I have put myself in over the years has made me a professional when it comes to being able to handle my discomfort zone.

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