Welcome to this series about Confidence. Enjoy the precepts and principles. Enjoy the many benefits of good confidence.

Human beings are intrinsically lazy. When we reach a level of comfort, either as individuals or as groups, we take fewer risks. After all, if you have a roof over your head, food in your pantry, and all your bills paid, why rock the boat?

If all you are aiming for is a normal, regular life of boredom and low levels of achievement, staying comfortably ensconced in your comfort zone seems the best move.

However, there are good reasons to challenge your comfort zone on a daily basis. T. Harv Ecker is a successful American businessman, philosopher and best-selling author of the book “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind”. Here’s what he has to say about stepping outside of your comfort zone.

“Nobody ever died of discomfort yet living in the name of comfort has killed more ideas, more opportunities, more actions, and more growth than everything else combined. Comfort kills!”

Do you have a different opinion? Do you believe that being comfortable leads to more success than trying new things that might make you feel a little uncomfortable? Unfortunately for your belief system, science disagrees with you.

As far back as 1908, psychologists and behavioral researchers John D. Dodson and Robert M. Yerkes noticed something about achievement and its relationship to personal comfort. They found that a state of “optimal anxiety” leads to the highest possible levels of achievement, performance, rewards and goal attainment.

However, you must be careful.

Their research showed that stepping “just outside” your comfort zone is where the biggest rewards and achievements are found. If you totally ignore that inner voice that is telling you that you’re entering unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory, productivity and performance both plummet.

Leap outside your comfort zone

In this and many other endeavors, understanding the Pareto Principle leads to the best results.

In 1906 (oddly about the same time Dodson and Yerkes were making their revealing findings) Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto noticed something remarkable. Roughly 80% of all Italian land was possessed by a mere 20% of the population. Wondering if this same 80/20 rule applied to other endeavors, he began conducting research in a wide range of fields.

Astonishingly, he found that most of the time, 80% of results come from 20% of a person’s efforts. Applying this to achieve optimal anxiety means staying 80% comfortable, and 20% anxious and uncertain about trying new things and moving past your accepted comfort levels.

This is tough for some people.

However, when you are confident in your ability to take on, and succeed in, new endeavors, you possess a strong self-belief that removes any fears of stepping just outside of your comfort zone. Done daily, you continually grow your circles of influence and capabilities. This creates a self-perpetuating cycle of growth, confidence and achievement that can lead to unlimited successes.

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Nick Thorne is the founder of NicksDigitalSolutions Limited a company that specialises in Education, Training and Writing. He lives in Levin, New Zealand