When you’ve been doing something for a while, and start getting good at it, things feel great. You like your progress, your pace, and where it has taken to you. When things feel this good, why change into the unknown, possibly “feel bad” world that may (or you know is) waiting for you. What you’ve done has worked for you up till now, so it makes sense that continuing it will work for you in the future.
It feels good. But it’s a trap. The comfort zone trap.
When you fall into a comfort zone, everything feels like a plus. You are kind of tricked into thinking that this is beneficial to you because plus is positive. But when things are always feeling good, it’s very hard to make new and significant progress, and ever step out of there. The longer you are in a comfort zone, the longer you may never leave.
There are 4 comfort zones I’ve found which Japanese learners get stuck in. There is resistance to leave and you convince yourself that everything is okay.
Zone 1: English subtitles
Zone 2: Japanese-English dictionary
Zone 3: Simple media only (manga, anime, etc.)
Zone 4: Controlled speaking environments (classes, lessons, etc.)
How do you leave the comfort zones? Well you enter the… “discomfort” zones. Places you are unfamiliar with, feel doubt and lack of confidence.
Zone 1: Japanese subtitles or no subtitles
Zone 2: Japanese-Japanese dictionary
Zone 3: Complex media (Novels, news, etc.)
Zone 4: Conversations out in the wild in Japan or with normal Japanese people
Taking a step out into these brings about discomfort… but only at first. Discomfort zones quickly turn into normal zones, and eventually into their own final comfort zones. Wouldn’t you rather be in a final comfort zone, where you have the ability to do everything you set out to do?
It’s tough. Everyone loves comfort. But comfort can be a major enemy.
What comfort zones have you gotten stuck in?
How did you get out?