Some days ago, I stumbled upon tsunami videos, and before I knew it, I got knee-deep into it.
I saw how tsunami waves can aggressively hit the shore, enter the land, and destroy everything in its way. It was one of the most terrifying things I have ever had to watch.
Another video of a tsunami that occurred in the Indian Ocean in 2004 showed what it looks like underwater. A few scuba divers who had their cameras on them underwater experienced it firsthand. What they had to say was interesting and shocking at the same time. Right before the tsunami was about to occur, the fish around started acting odd. They didn’t elaborate on the odd part, but there’s more…
When the tsunami hit the scuba divers, first there was a blanket of dust rushing right through them, and they couldn’t see anything. It was like seeing a cluster of clouds rushing at you in the sky. Similarly, this was underwater. After this, their bodies rolled 360 degrees for a long time like clothes in a washing machine. Their cameras recorded everything, and yes, they survived, which was unfortunately not so for the people on the land. The tsunami that occurred that year was considered one of the deadliest and most devastating ones to have occurred.
Tsunamis, also called seismic sea waves, are caused by underwater earthquakes in the ocean, volcanic eruptions, and landslides. The ocean waves start to become longer in wavelength and larger in amplitude.
But, why am I giving you a brief about tsunamis? Because they are deadly. We have no control over them, except for striving hard to survive them, if at all. However, there is another type of tsunami that occurs internally in almost everyone who has attempted to step out of their comfort zones.
Making The Mistake Of Exiting One’s Comfort Zone
“Experts step out of their comfort zone and study themselves failing.” Freelance Journalist and Author, Joshua Foer once talked about how one can evaluate their failings by stepping out of their comfort zones. While I respect his views, we’re still looking at it the wrong way.
Stepping out of our comfort zone is nothing short of subjecting ourselves to multiple tsunamis. Think about it. One wishes to do something that DOES NOT naturally come to them. They think it might help them to get out of their comfort zone.
For instance, a coding expert wants to start a business because he is bored with his job. He thinks that it may be due to not stepping out of his comfort zone which is leading him to stagnate his career growth. Even though he knows nothing about starting a business, he wants to jump out of his current profession and just do something else.
While there are many factors that we can discuss here, like his need to re-evaluate his passion for coding, his purpose, his abilities, etc., we must look at what he is doing to himself in the process. He is stepping out of his comfort zone, which is coding. As a result, he is inviting all kinds of stress because he is not aware of the kind of business he wants to start or the in-depth market analysis demanded. Instead of improving on his strengths as a coding expert, and figuring out different ways to enhance his area in this field, he is doing something completely out of his domain.
This results in a variety of disappointments, time wasted, efforts invested in an unknown area, and energy spent on an aimless project with no vision. So, now he is working as a coding expert for 8 hours during the day and coming home to work on his idea of starting a business for the next 6 hours. He does this every day, including weekends. He is getting tired faster, burning out, missing valuable family time, and feeling overwhelmed. Why? Because he must step out of his supposed “comfort zone”.
Wouldn’t following this routine create a massive ripple effect of tsunamis in his life? Wouldn’t this further increase his stress levels? The internal struggles he would go through, learning about business management, and processing information and concepts that are probably not his area of expertise. Finally, one day, he is tempted to give up on the idea.
Yet, many people and great motivational speakers, even the directors of a large or small company will advocate that a comfort zone stunts one’s potential to grow.
I am here to tell you that we have been looking at it on the other side of the lens. And that by stepping out of it, we are hurting ourselves with seismic waves of internal destruction.
Why Your Comfort Zone Is Your Strength Zone
Your comfort zone is your strength zone and should be named as one. It’s a place that you inadvertently or knowingly create based on your ability to play on your strengths and natural tendencies.
That is why, one must not call it a comfort zone, but rather a Strength Zone.
A Strength Zone doesn’t form by itself overnight. It takes a long time to craft and design the nuances of this zone. The coding expert did not become an expert overnight. He worked hard for several years, made mistakes, learned from them, achieved milestones, and developed accurate skills that made him an expert. Suddenly the idea of starting a business came to him because of boredom but with no relevant foundation to back it up.
We see several MBA graduates opening up small businesses, some work, some don’t work. That doesn’t mean we have to follow the same path. Instead, we must identify and develop our unique strengths that fall within the purview of our Strength Zones.
For instance, Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. was a defensive genius and arguably the best technical fighter ever seen to enter the boxing ring. If he had never expanded his skills based on his strengths, he would have probably never been known famously for his unique moves as a boxer. Mayweather would make heavy use of his round, boulder-like shoulders to deflect his opponents’ punches. He had swift head movement, helping him to easily slip and evade shots. Almost no one could beat him and that’s what made him a legend – his unique strength that he worked on and sharpened.
“Those were the GOOD OLD DAYS. I love those songs… Those were magical moments with all my brothers including Jermaine. But uhh… you know, those were good songs, I like those songs a lot, but… especially, I like… the NEW SONGS.”
These opening lines by Michael Jackson set the crowd on fire during his first-ever solo performance on ‘Billie Jean’ on-stage. They screamed louder and louder as Michael strutted all his famous dance steps in front of them. What they were completely bowled over was the special moonwalk that he did way later in the song. His producers and those watching in the crowd were surprised and awed. He had not revealed that he was about to pull that move on stage. He had practiced it secretly for a long time until he could use it in front of the crowd. Today, almost every Michael Jackson fan knows and remembers him for his legendary dance moves.
Michael Jackson had learned to moonwalk. It was initially called the ‘Backslide’ done by Jeffrey Daniel who performed it on Soul Train. As Michael was confident about his dancing skills, he wanted to further expand his talent. And that’s when the media called it the Moonwalk when they saw it for the first time done so smoothly by Michael on-stage in 1983.
What did this legendary singer do? He knew his strengths and worked on them instead of working on something he wasn’t good at. That’s the difference!
These successful people have become legendary not because they stepped out of their Strength Zones, but because they expanded their boundaries from within.
That is why a comfort zone is a breeding ground for strength. It is a zone that encourages one to experience their natural talents and tendencies and allows them to grow and branch out.
Only when you are playing to your strengths
can you sharpen them, leverage them,
and make your Strength Zone broader, wider, and deeper.
So, what happens to those who are made to think otherwise, and therefore, step out of their Strength Zone?
In many complex situations, people try to resolve their issues. However, rather than resolving something, the Strength Zone helps you to dissolve the issue. Resolving an issue involves unnecessary expenditure of your time, energy, and effort. However, dissolving an issue will come naturally as you do the same based on your strengths.
For instance, the ancient Indian teacher and philosopher, Chanakya was once walking in the woods when he felt the piercing prick of a thorn under his foot. The thorn happened to be from a shrub nearby, to which his friends teased him saying that he was not strong enough to cut down the rebellious woody plant.
So, he walked over to a shop that was close by and bought a drink made from curd called Matha. Instead of drinking it, he poured it onto a nearby shrub to destroy its roots so it could not grow again.
Chanakya dissolved the problem and also acted on his strength which was his intellect rather than using the physical force of cutting down a tree. By pouring that sweet drink, he sent an indirect invitation to the ants to come and feed on the shrub, hence, nullifying the problem.
Had Chanakya tried to use physical force to cut down the tree, it would have caused him much discomfort, and frustration. Also, the tree would have regrown as it was not destroyed from its roots.
Now that I’ve clarified the role of a Strength Zone, you can understand the tsunami effect one can undergo with the decision to exit this zone. The internal conflict that would arise would be nothing short of an underwater earthquake or a volcanic eruption.
Getting out of your Strength Zone would mean that you are stepping into an undefined zone not meant to take up. In conclusion, a Strength Zone harbors the right resources, putting you in a better position to help yourself and others.
I leave you with this song that perfectly demonstrates how you can lead from within your Strength Zone.
I Am My Own Hero ~by Fearless Soul
I am perfectly capable
of creating a life I love
I am learning to trust myself
And make peace with what I can’t control
I always have a say in who I am today
And I can always change who I’m becoming
This is my life, I am my own hero
Nobody but me can decide where I will go
This is my time, no matter what life throws
I always have the power to change my state of mind
Owning all of my past mistakes
Moving forward with more confidence
I don’t know what the future holds
But I choose to count my blessings every day
I will never win by holding onto pain
Happiness begins within
Day by day I will keep building my future
Nothing can get in my way
This is my life, I am my own hero…