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The Paradox Of Shrunken Comfort Zones

Get Out Of Your Comfort ZoneWe Like Comfort.

Comfort is safe. Comfort makes us smile and feel happy.  We think our Comfort Zone is safe.  A good place.

We Don’t Like Change.

“I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I wouldn’t fail. The same four walls and busywork were really more like jail. ”  ~My Comfort Zone

Change introduces us to the unfamiliar.  Unfamiliar stuff  makes us uncomfortable.  Uncomfortable makes us frown and feel crappy.  We don’t want to feel crappy, we avoid change and embrace the comfortable familiar.

While we languish in the faux-safety and goodness of our familiar Comfort Zones, by the hour, change roils and swirls around us.  Attitudes, beliefs and politics are changing.  Behaviors, expectations and values are changing.   Knowledge, opportunities and possibilities are changing. Conversations are changing. Distribution is changing.  Technologies, tools, methods and competition is changing.

When things around us change and we don’t, things previously done comfortably don’t generate enough of what we need to be comfortable. Ut-Oh.  Our Comfort Zone begins to shrink.  Shrunken Comfort Zones become uncomfortable.  Paradoxically, the very things that made us comfortable, begin to make us uncomfortable, unhappy, frowny and feeling crappy.  Avoiding change actually shrinks our Comfort Zone.

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The Shrunken Comfort Zone Paradox

“How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress” ~Niels Bohr

The only way to expand our Comfort Zone is to shove ourselves uncomfortably outside our Comfort Zone, embracing and engaging in the very change that makes us uncomfortable.  I know.  It sucks.  But there you have it. Now that we have met our Comfort Zone Paradox, what should we do?  How do we progress?

The “Fail Faster To Succeed Sooner” Solution

“No, no, you’re not thinking; you’re just being logical.” ~Niels Bohr

The question is, how do we progress?

First reaction, “Do Something”.  [That is correct.]

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Second reaction, “Let me think about it.  Let’s be logical.  Let’s think about it some more. Let me research it.  Let me get ready to get ready, to get ready, to get ready….”  [This is incorrect.  This is Creative Avoidance. Avoid Creative Avoidance like the Swine Flu or Herpes, or the bi-polar ex. ]

Russell Shaw has a great post titled, “The Secret To Becoming A Top Listing Agent”  Russell sums it like this, “The secret to becoming a top listing agent?  First become a really crappy listing agent.  Become a really crappy one, then a bit less crappy, and so on.  That is the actual path.  There is no substitute for “stage time”.  None.  Fail.  Fail more and go right on doing it.”

David Kelly, CEO of IDEO said it like this, “Fail faster to succeed sooner.”

David and Russell are both right.  Are we ready to get started?  If not, why not?  What will happen if we don’t?  We are surrounded by cataclysmic generational change, what happens if we don’t?

Two Master Keys That Unlock Success

1.  Untended Comfort Zones shrink.  Paradoxically, doing uncomfortable things expands a Comfort Zone. Therefore, in thought, deed and action, we must embrace and engage in change.

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2.  Don’t over think it.  Don’t employ Creative Avoidance.  Instead, Ready, Fire, Aim.  Do it now.  Do it crappy, fail faster, learn faster, do it less crappy, do it faster, learn, do it better, do it faster, succeed, grow your Comfort Zone, get uncomfortable, change, do it crappy, do it faster….Rinse, Lather, Repeat.

If It Was Easy, Everyone Could Do It

You can’t have winners without losers. Yin-Yang.  Pain and Pleasure.  Happy and Sad.  Passion and Apathy. Rich and Poor.  Smart and Stupid.  Surprised and Disappointed. Etc.

Whata we gonna do?

Photo Credit:  Get Out of Your Comfort Zone by ~slickwilly5891 on deviantART


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Thanks for reading:-)

Business Is Change

Written By

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.



  1. Joe Loomer

    June 1, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Excellent Ken. Sometimes we get mired in the day-to-day and forget to get out there and fail some more. Years ago I’d take every listing even if the Seller and I were tens of thousands away on what the list price should be. Because I failed to sell them, I don’t take them any more.
    “Doc, it hurts when I go like this”
    “Don’t go like that.”

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Lani Rosales

    June 1, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Ah, I SEE! The secret to business success is that there is no secret…

  3. Brandie Young

    June 1, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Hi Ken,
    I like to think that’s why *some of us* have big butts … it doesn’t hurt so much when we fall flat on ’em!

  4. Ken Brand

    June 5, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Joe – No kidding right. If it stings, STOP. Classic.

    Lani – Yahtzee, no real secrets. Like Yoda said, ‘No try.” “Do”…or something like that.

    Brandie – I like big butts and I cannot lie….. No harm in falling as long as we get up right? Cheers.

  5. Mark Eckenrode

    June 5, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    @ken: i sort of follow the “sink or swim” idea of getting out of the comfort zone. just jump in, if you want it bad enough you’ll figure it out. however, i still catch myself sticking my toe into the water to test the temperature sometimes 😉

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