We can make ourselves comfortable in the so-called comfort zone. We know our way around there perfectly, know virtually every corner, have nothing unexpected to fear and don’t have to make any further efforts. Feel-good factor high ten.
The curious, adventurous voice in me calls “boooooring”. I love small trips to the neighboring zone – the learning zone. Look around there every now and then, discover and experience new things, try them out, learn new things – well dosed in digestible portions. I like the trips to this area so much that the comfort zone gets boring too quickly. I can’t help but break out. It just happens automatically. And so the comfort zone gets bigger and bigger. Lined with many experiences, it becomes easier and easier to try new things. It will be comfortable and part of this zone.
But it is also the other way around. If I never leave my comfort zone, it gets smaller all by itself. For playing the flute e.g. I perfected this for me: first I thankfully rejected solo parts in the orchestra, apologized for octave passages with lack of timbre and later gradually crumbled into the second voice. I definitely didn’t get any better than that, my comfort zone getting smaller and smaller at the same time.
But there is another ring around these two zones – the panic zone. Uiuiui, blatantly watch yourself when you reach it. Pure adrenaline. Sweaty hands, palpitations, coloring escape scenarios, avoidance strategies, thoughts of escape. Welcome to the panic zone.
The thoughts of escape are not so wrong here. Get out of the panic zone, back into the learning zone. In the area where our thoughts become clear again and we make sensible decisions, and are even able to act. But how does this “going back” works?
I had a panic zone point. Ocean! Even if I actually love the water, just jumping from a boat into the sea – phuu, a real overcoming. Not the jump itself, I think it’s great, no, arriving in this sea, immersing yourself, diving down into the unknown. Maybe I’m touching something nasty. Plants on the ground, an animal or whatever is waiting down there. My fantasy of the creepy and nasty is infinitely lively. So I stop at the top, watch the others jealously while splashing. Avoidance strategy successfully implemented! So I found the way out, just do not enter the panic zone.
Missed the fun though. And the opportunity to learn something new. What happened on my trip now? – Just arrived in the Philippines, a typhoon raging there opened up a time window of several days on which there was practically nothing to be done. Except hanging around somewhere. Time to read, learn, get started.
Theoretically, it is very simple: If you are afraid of something, you mostly “only” lack information. Information in the sense of knowledge, but also experience. I do not know exactly what is going on down there in the sea, how disgusting it is, whether it bites and what my imagination does not spin together. Enough imagination to stay on land better. In my case here the attack on the panic zone was called: “diving license”. Just go and have a look and exchange blossoming imagination for solid information and experiences. In such a full-body condom, which is common for divers, I first feel halfway protected from nasty touches. And I just don’t try to think any more. So there he was, the right step to move the boundary between the learning and panic zones somewhat outwards.
I use the rainy days for the theoretical part and then it’s off to the water – don’t forget to breathe! Yes, in addition to filling in the information gaps, you probably also need some courage, or at least a little jump over your own shadow … into the water. The reward for this is mostly everything. In my case: such an incredibly fascinating, colorful and beautiful world. I can’t get enough. At the next boat splash party I will be right at the front … and a new hobby and the entry into a breathtaking underwater world came right around the corner.
You can find out more about the model around these three zones here. It is really fun to play with and to challenge yourself again and again and to give courage to push the boundaries again.
When and with what was the last time you danced your learning zone bigger?