Our Comfort Zones not only create Inertia; but also inhibit Efficiency & Growth!

Psychologically and biologically, we are always tempted to create comfort zones at work as well as in personal life and our natural tendency is then to live in those! Our comfort zones are actually the cause of our inertia, inefficiency and inadequate growth.

When individuals, management included, in companies start creating comfort zones, the result is unwieldy systems, structure and processes, rendering them uncompetitive. That is when companies have to go for costly ways of restructuring, reorganization or reinventing themselves!

Why we fall prey to inertia created by comfort zones

  1. We like path of least resistance.
  2. We talk of challenges; but hesitate to walk the same.
  3. We have implied liking for gap between our desires and drive.
  4. We relish things on a platter; that’s what comfort levels can provide.
  5. We are mostly risk averse and hence like to wander on roads most traveled.
  6. We carry false notion for developing expertise by only doing repetitive activities over a long period of time, which is devoid of challenges and instead develops comforts.
  7. We like Change; but don’t like to change ourselves!

What we crave and create, we own and don’t want to abandon i.e. comfort zones; this is what invites “inertia in our thoughts and actions”.

How inefficiency and stagnancy creep in

Comfort zones are big barriers to achieving higher efficiency and growth.

  1. Comfort levels are invariably coupled with complacency. So, people like to perform same function or work same way, they are used to do. They do not seek or even see areas to improve.
  2. Every activity or function has 2 parts – (a) what needs to be performed on a repeat basis and (b) what can be changed and done differently.
    Part (a) has possibility to execute faster through use of tools, methods and/or experience. But, if one is in comfort zone, he/she would be averse to apply the same, as mentioned under point 1 above.
    What is far more damaging is reluctance, which comfort zones create against implementation of part (b)! It is this part, which brings new ideas, innovation and usher in real change.
    When part (b) remains dormant, it drowns companies or individuals into gross inefficiency and ineffective growth and development!
  3. Rut of routine and repetition make leaders to lose their luster!
  4. Comfort zones are like cancer, which would only spread, unless cut away.
  5. Comfort zones are the cause of illusion that direction is right and drive is smooth.
  6. Companies and cadres lose momentum and rhythm; therefore, they are no longer vibrant and agile.
  7. Being devoid of Change and Innovations, all stakeholders would go downhill and degenerate.

When we are aware of consequences, why we still crave for comfort zones!

There are two main causes:

a. We constantly live in fear of known or unknown. It is because of this that we humans have become habituated to save our skin, seek safe routes and create secured environments!
Above succumbs most of us to tested and tried things. We start to relish things, which are routine and repetitive! That is how we develop inherent inertia and invariably resistance to Change!

b. This is strange; but true! It is easy for us to be complicated; but difficult to be simple. Therefore, we tend to complicate matters, methods or means, rather than simplify the same!

This is rampant across the globe. Such complexities make us to spend more time and energy in doing our things, test our patience and create fatigue. Feeling of comfort comes in when we gain experience by doing or executing these over number of times or we discover some steps to do these faster (which is actually not a simplification; but using familiarity for faster actions).

Comfort zones are nothing but emotions of ease in execution, which arise from past experience; but these are not necessarily efficient and are barriers to new Ideas and Innovations!

How to kill or come out of comfort zones

  • Contrary to your belief, comfort zones provide only temporary relief. It is the constant drive for Change, which provides continuous thrill. So, you have a clear and only one choice – cut out comfort zones!
  • Comfort zones would eventually kill or throttle your career.
  • These can enhance your experience; but not efficiency.
  • Preference for little constraint over comfort would always pay you.
  • Shed away your emotions for comfort; just capture experience or knowledge, which past instances have created. Your inertia would vanish, if you truly do that!
  • Very important to know is that it is easy to complicate matters; but difficult to make those simple.
  • Simplification brings elegance and efficiency.
  • When we reinvent, we actually convert complicated things into simple ones; not other way around.
  • Put stress on simple thoughts and approach, actions and executions. That would bring you out of your comfort zones and make you:
    • Agile
    • Vibrant
    • Innovative
    • Courageous to traverse on roads less traveled and discover how your dreams become realities!
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14 Comments
  • DNYANESH
    Feb 10,2013 at 10:31 pm

    I would really like to thank you for this. Not just Making aware of the facts about disadvantages of comfart zones but also providing good ways to overcome it.

    • Feb 12,2013 at 11:47 am

      I am very pleased to receive your valuable views and feedback! It is very encouraging. I am sure your interest in such topics would not allow comfort zones to come in way your progress!!

  • Murli Lohia
    Feb 1,2013 at 4:02 pm

    Transferred from LinkedIn
    Hemange Koul has sent you a message.
    Date: 1/31/2013

    Subject: RE: Our Comfort Zones not only create Inertia; but also inhibit Efficiency & Growth!

    Really Good Sir. I appreciate 🙂 Keep sending such mails .

    Regards,

    Hemange Koul

    • Feb 1,2013 at 4:04 pm

      Many thanks for your feedback. I would do my best to meet your expectations!!

  • Murli Lohia
    Jan 31,2013 at 5:20 pm

    Transferred from LinkedIn

    Himanee Savadatti has sent you a message.
    Date: 1/31/2013
    Subject: RE: Our Comfort Zones not only create Inertia; but also inhibit Efficiency & Growth!
    Hi Sir,

    Good Afternoon..

    We ladies always look for a comfort zone. Be it at home or in the office. And if you converse with us, most of us are constatly cribbing about both.

    When I decided of moving out of EEEC the comfort zone. was one of the main reason of my decision. I came into organization as a fresher, direct from college. I didn’t have experience about other companies and my career was going good. But what I felt was that I need to talk a leap now. And if I dont do it now, then it would be very difficult later.

    I’m facing a lot of challenges and learning new technologies in my new job. And the truth is, it is not easy too! But I think taking the leap has helped me in knowing me better and the way I can handle new things and challenges.

    I can very well relate to this blog. 🙂

    Thanks & Regards,

    Himanee.

    • Jan 31,2013 at 5:22 pm

      You were very wise to take a bold decision and abandon your comfort zones. Challenges and new learnings are golden. One rich dividend, which you have already got, is to reinvent yourself. Many would follow; I am sure. What is not easy has tremendous potential to enhance your knowledge. Please keep your faith and confidence.

  • Pankaj
    Jan 31,2013 at 3:47 pm

    A challenging piece indeed. Thanks for making us uncomfortable.
    I suppose a lot of us justify dwelling in comfort zone as prudent risk management.

    • Jan 31,2013 at 4:44 pm

      Very correct! Many tend to justify their context under pretext of this or another reason!!

      I appreciate your commendable views.

  • Murli Lohia
    Jan 31,2013 at 12:29 pm

    From: Jayateerth.Kulkarni@emerson.com [mailto:Jayateerth.Kulkarni@emerson.com]
    Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 9:52 PM
    To: murlilohia@gmail.com

    Subject: RE: Our Comfort Zones not only create Inertia; but also inhibit Efficiency & Growth!

    Fantastic article, enlightening and provoking ideas, views and thoughts in self.

    With Best Regards,

    Jayateerth Kulkarni (JK)

    • Jan 31,2013 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks a lot for your valuable views and thoughts on this article. It is indeed encouraging!

  • Rudra
    Jan 30,2013 at 10:20 pm

    True!! To a great extent… I (along with many others) do believe that one has to get out of his comfort-zone to achieve anything big and different in his life.

    At-times, I have also found myself falling prey to my comfort zones :(… but then I ask my manager to find some alien opportunities/conditions for me to work-on so that I get deputed somewhere else and get to work in a new environment – well, it helps more often than not!! 🙂

    Hope your this very post takes me much forward in getting out of such “comfort-zones” and work more efficiently and effectively…

    Cheers!!

    • Jan 31,2013 at 12:07 pm

      I appreciate your views and feedback. Also, thanks for sharing your experience and how you go about, when you get into comfort zones.

      It is good that your manager is able to help. Perhaps, it would be more useful how you can help yourself – the article suggests how you can keep comfort zones away from you!

  • Murli Lohia
    Jan 30,2013 at 5:28 pm

    Transferred from LinkedIn

    On 01/29/13 5:01 PM, Pratik Desai wrote:
    ——————–
    Dear Sir,

    Though I am really late in reverting, it was always in the back of my mind that I must acknowledge you on a discourse (below). I think your very recent post on “Comfort Zones” has been timely in that aspect.

    Your facebook post makes sense much more now than it did few months back.

    I guess not all things can be put under acceleration drive. It requires time.

    Wonderful post once again.

    Thanks & Regards,

    -Pratik

    • Jan 30,2013 at 5:30 pm

      Many thanks for your observations and feedback on CYI and Face Book posts. I appreciate the same.

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