As in life so in esports, comfort zones are a controversial topic. From one point of view they are very helpful – they keep our sense of order and control of our day, but from another – they could harm our long-term goals and productivity.
What is the comfort zone?
In plain words the comfort zone consists of habits or routines that “take the thinking (and therefore stress) out of daily tasks”. When we talk about comfort zones, we need to keep in mind that there are different types of them and that’s important, because each would take a different process to be outgrown. Some comfort zones are trivial and easy to live with – such as lying in your bed scrolling through social media for one hour after you wake up because you feel lazy to instantly get up and begin with your day. Other comfort zones are tolerable but frustrating like not talking back when someone criticizes you because you don’t want to embarrass yourself even more. Finally, there are comfort zones that are considered deadly for long-term performance and an absolute killer to your professional success like avoiding putting extra effort in your game and changing your environment because you are afraid of new and uncertain things. Okay, but what does all of that mean? It means that the main problem with living in your comfort zone is that you’ll continue to do the same things that you do now, with… the same outcomes.
Each player has his or her own definitions of a comfort zone, and that means to step out of it requires a different amount of time and effort with everyone. Stepping outside our comfort zone is uncomfortable and that’s the whole point. In fact, you could use that sense of feeling uncomfortable as a guideline that you are actually on the right track. To support your individual process of stepping out of your comfort zone, you could try following these simple principles.
1. Be honest with yourself
Be honest. Keep in mind that change is in its nature meant to be uncomfortable. Take some time for yourself and think about what your comfort zones are. Do you skip watching demos and working on your game? Do you prefer playing at home instead of traveling? Do you sleep until one hour before practice starts? Defining your comfort zones could be done by asking yourself questions and most importantly observing yourself in real time.
2. Break your ‘escape’ into small steps
As already mentioned – comfort zones are made of habits. Habits take a lot of time to be changed in the long term. That’s why it’s really easy to get discouraged if you try to rush your outgrowing and expect solid changes after a short term success. To avoid that try to create an action plan for each comfort zone and break it down to small steps (behaviors) that should not only be changed but maintained on a daily basis.
3. Be open-minded and self-forgiving
As every new beginning – personal change is also really hard to happen. At first, it’s normal for you to fail multiple times or to return to your comfort zone and destructive habits. During this process it’s really important to remain open-minded and even anticipate failure. Keep in mind that change is not about how many times you failed to achieve your goals, but how many times you bounced back and learned from experience. For this to happen it would also require a major practice of self-forgiveness. Avoid blaming yourself at all cost during this process, because if you allow negative feelings such as guilt or disappointment to overtake your mind, not only would you return to your comfort zone, but you would be even more afraid to try escaping next time.
Hopefully these three principles would help your personal process of outgrowing your comfort zone and further develop personally and professionally. If you have high ambitions for yourself and want to build upon these steps or add other useful mental skills to your game, message me at firstname.lastname@example.org and begin your process to success.