The Break-thru Strategy

By Not Known

We have read many articles about getting out of one’s comfort zone.  But what is a comfort zone, really?  It is “a behavioural space where your activities and behaviours fit a routine and pattern that minimises stress and risk.  It provides a state of mental security.  You benefit in obvious ways: regular happiness, low anxiety, and reduced stress.”

No wonder so many are adverse to getting out of their comfort zone.  Most people just want happiness, low anxiety and reduced stress at the expense of a breakthrough.

Apparently, the idea of the comfort zone goes back to a classic experiment in psychology by Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson in 1908.  They explained that a state of relative comfort created a steady level of performance.  In order to maximise performance, however, one needs a state of relative anxiety — a space where stress levels are slightly higher than normal.  This space, accordingly, is called “optimal anxiety,” and it’s just outside our comfort zone.  Too much anxiety and one would be too stressed to be productive, and performance levels will drop sharply.  The key, then, is to find that “optimal” level to maximise performance and productivity.  

The idea of a comfort zone is actually neither good or bad.  When one pushes himself, he can actually be so challenged that he is able to accomplish amazing things.  On the other hand, others who push too hard can end up in burnout and distress.

Meanwhile, leaving our comfort zone means increased risk and anxiety, which may produce positive or negative results.  Yet, remaining where we are can prevent us from opportunities and breakthroughs in new discoveries.

As believers, our calling has always been to “go into the world and preach the Gospel,” as well as to “be fruitful and multiply.”  Comfort kills productivity and we lose the drive to reach out and be actively bringing in the harvest.  Remember the lament of our Lord when He said “that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”

We live in an ever-changing world.  Failure to learn from what’s going on around us prevents us from reaching optimally the people who are part of that change process and who need to hear the Gospel.  In order for us to be good stewards, we have to keep up and keep moving.  Keeping ourselves in our comfort zone in that sense is bad stewardship of the Gospel that is entrusted to us.

Our Creator-God is a creative God, and idling in our comfort zone prevents us from being creative in our calling.  While the Gospel remains the same yesterday, today and forever, the way we deal with the world has to be relevant, engaging, and captivating.

As such, as we seek to be faithful servants of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we need to be intentionally learning how to get out of our comfort zone and do amazing things to keep preaching the Gospel faithfully and relevantly to the next generation and the generations to come.  While there is still time, we need to seize the day (carpe diem) to fulfill the Great Commission.



Peter Poon