Change Through A Larger Comfort Zone

🕑 3 minutes read | Oct 07 2022 | By Steve A Klein, TTA Learning Consultant

“Two basic Rules of Life:

  • Change is inevitable
  • Everybody resists Change.”

      – Richard Von Oech

Change happens. Either we control change or change controls us. Let’s increase the size of our Comfort Zone and begin to control that change.

1) Enlarge our Comfort Zone & we initiate Positive Change!

One reason we have such a difficult time changing is because of the way change occurs. We rarely recognize change happening, and we often fear change because we don’t understand it. Once we understand how change occurs, our comfort zone expands. We’re now able to change our automatic habits.

Expanding our comfort zone is difficult and uncomfortable, but that’s also the process of change. We say we want it, but we don’t enjoy having to think; which creates what we need to do in order to create change. We like our habits that are automatic, whether they are good for us or not.

2) Change involves Thinking, and This Can Be Difficult.

There’s a theory that helps explain what and how change occurs which controls our comfort zone. These are four stages of learning:

  • Unconscious Incompetent: We don’t know what we don’t know.
  • Conscious Incompetent: We know we don’t know.
  • Conscious Competent: We know we know.
  • Unconscious Competent: We do it automatically.

3) The Four Stages of Learning.

Let’s use the “smartphone” as an example of how this process works. In the early 2000s, we didn’t know what a smartphone was because smartphones didn’t yet exist. We were “unconscious incompetent.” This is the situation about anything that has yet to be created.

When we saw our first smartphone, we became a “conscious incompetent;” we knew what it was, but we knew nothing about it. As we began using our new phone, we had to consciously think about every move we made on the screen.

When using the phone became as natural as riding a bicycle, we used it without consciously thinking. We then became “unconscious competent.” We began learning by becoming aware of something we didn’t know.

Next, we struggled through the stages of learning for the new skill to become automatic. Finally, we internalized the information so well that the whole process became unconscious, habitual and automatic; we’re now an “unconscious competent.”

So it is with everything we want to learn, do or accomplish. Once we understand that there is something to learn or change (which are both the same), we then become a “conscious incompetent.” Beginning the learning/change process, we need to spend a large amount of time consciously thinking (“conscious competent”). This is hard work since most of our day is spent in the unconscious, reactive mode. This is where many people quit and give up.

But quitting is the easy way out. If we were to begin a weight-lifting program today, tomorrow morning the muscles we weren’t used to using would feel sore. At that point, there would be two ways to eliminate the soreness in those muscles. One would be to quit exercising, while the other would be to keep exercising. Which one is better?

4) Focus On Our Results

It’s the same with any new process we are learning. The only thing we don’t know yet is how soon we’ll become an “unconscious competent”.  Since we don’t know when we’ll learn, we need to continually plow ahead and focus on the results we want to achieve.

Simply do, and quit thinking about any potential problems. It’s going to happen, we just don’t know when. We can learn and accomplish almost anything, as long as we are mentally and/or physically capable and we give it enough time.

5) Life begins outside of our Comfort Zone!

It’s imperative to continually look at our activity and to look for new ways to improve this activity and our skills. The improvements may take up to ninety days or longer, but the improvements will come if we focus specifically on just doing the new activity.

Change will happen, whether we continue doing the new activity or not. We just need to choose and control which change will happen!

“They always say that time changes things, but we actually have to change them ourself.” – Andy Warhol

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