Cats are creatures of habit. This may be one of the thousands of reasons why I love these gorgeous creatures so much: I love my routines, and change doesn’t always come easily for me, despite the fact that most, if not all, change in my life has always been for the better. And there’s nothing wrong with positive routines. When the Dalai Lama was asked “if you only had one word to describe the secret of happiness, and of living a fulfilling and meaningful life, what would that word be,” he replied without hesitating: “routines.”
But there is a lot to be said for moving outside of your comfort zone.In fact, stepping out of your comfort zone may be crucial to your personal growth, creativity and success.
Jackson Galaxy coined the term “challenge line” in his work with cats. The challenge line is the point where a cat crosses from comfort (“I think I’ll just stay under the bed, it’s safe down here” to challenge (“Let’s see. I may be shy, but maybe there’s more fun to be had in the rest of the house?”) Jackson uses the challenge line to push cats just past their comfort level to see how they react, because, he says, “then I know exactly what I can do to benefit the cat.”
It’s up to us as cat guardians to help our cats cross that challenge line, but when it comes to our own lives, we carry the sole responsibility for pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zone. Trying new things and stretching may be uncomfortable at first, but ultimately, it will help us grow.
Increase your creativity
Stepping out of your comfort zone makes you more creative. Sharing creative work carries an innate risk: you’re opening yourself up to rejection and criticism. The most successful people fail more often than those who never take risks.
Become more adaptable
Challenging yourself past your comfort zone makes you more adaptable to change in general. Once you’ve experienced that you can step out of your comfort zone and succeed, unexpected changes won’t feel like such a daunting experience.
Age more gracefully
For many people, their comfort zone gets smaller as they get older – yet another reason to push past it more frequently. For many people, their world shrinks as they get older. By forcing yourself to move past your challenge line and embracing new experiences, you remain fully engaged in life, and as a result, your life will become richer.
Stepping across your challenge line doesn’t need to happen in big leaps. Start by taking small steps. Sometimes, something as simple as taking a different route to work can shift your perspective.
Have you stepped across your challenge line? What was the experience like for you?