How do you get what you want, when you want it, from your life? The answer is shocking: force yourself to be uncomfortable.

Yes, that’s right—only by pushing yourself outside of situations where you feel completely comfortable can you ever achieve your true potential. Try the following technique.

Stand in front of a person whom you know but don’t know well. Each one of you put out your arms to judge an appropriate distance where you feel comfortable. Then, both people, take a half step forward. Make a judgment on how you feel at that moment. Then, both of you take another half step forward. Then, take another half step forward until you are nose to nose with each other, and then think about these things when you feel really uncomfortable:

1.Are you more or less aware of yourself?
2.Do you feel disengaged, or do you feel very “alive” at this moment?

You see, when you push yourself past the normal threshold of “comfort” to “discomfort,” your focus improves, you become more aware of your performance, and you start to tap into your true potential. Few people achieve their ultimate potential because they simply are not willing to step outside their comfort zones. Yet, know this: outside your comfort zone lies the “performance zone.” This is where you think more clearly, are able to use your talents to the best of your ability, and achieve your dreams.

This involves every area of your life, both personal and professional. I have met many people who say things like, “Well, I have a great career, but I guess I was never meant to be happy with a good relationship,” or, “I really love my family and hate what I do for a living, but oh well, it pays the bills and I could never afford to do anything else.” These statements, and others like them, are limiting, self-sabotaging beliefs. They are self-fulfilling prophecies. Sure, people have challenges in different areas of their lives, and yet, the bottom line is that people who make statements like those above just want to be comfortable. Ironically, they have become secure in their unhappiness and even more secure in their acceptance of it. It has become comfortable to accept the status quo, to complain, and to live without true satisfaction and contentment.

Your comfort zone is defined by boundaries in your mind as to what you have accepted you could or should do, think, and become. Your Personal Development is determined by the size of your world, and the size of your world is directly defined by how you choose to look at it. If you allow fear of the unknown to keep you trapped in your comfort zone, you will never live life with the success, satisfaction, or contentment that you deserve. If you choose to have the courage to step outside your comfort zone of self-limiting beliefs and into your performance zone, it’s possible to find a life that you may have never thought was in your reach—simply because you allowed yourself to believe it wasn’t.

Achieving your dreams and living the life you always imagined takes a willingness to do the things that make you feel uncomfortable—on a daily basis. Define the actions you need to take to get what you want, and discipline yourself to do the things it takes to achieve your goals. There isn’t any magic to it, and it certainly isn’t easy. I mean, let’s be serious, nobody likes to feel uncomfortable, and yet, when you push yourself outside of your comfort zone and into your personal performance zone, you will love the results you get.

However, results will never come if your attitude is not right. It is your attitude about yourself, your surroundings, your potential, and your life that provides one of the cornerstones to your growth and the ability to push outside your comfort zone. Attitude literally defines who you are as a person. Attitude creates belief systems, and beliefs create who you become. Remember that you don’t become what you want in life. You become what you believe!

As we all know, life does have obstacles that must be overcome in order to live in your performance zone. Everyone has his own view of success, and it is inevitable that all of us will, at some point in our lives, encounter some kind of challenge or roadblock. Life itself is an adventure. Yet, potential problems are not something that we need to dwell on, and in many cases we actually create obstacles for ourselves that are only real because we give them power over our lives.

Even the simplest of things in life illustrate the intense human desire to follow what someone else tells us is the right direction or what we think someone tells us is the right direction. How many times do you see a long line at a toll booth or at a bank drive-through when there are three or four lanes open with shorter lines or not one car in them? People just assume that they have to wait a long time, so they choose the line that is already long. They literally create an obstacle for themselves.

People tend to assume the worst, accept the obstacle, and quietly stay inside their comfort zones while they go through life unsatisfied. Step outside your comfort zone, and start taking the path that you know is right for you, not what someone else tells you is right or wants you to believe is right. Engage the attitude of expecting the best and looking at life through positive filters. Don’t let anybody else tell you what line to take or in which direction to go. Define the way that is right for you, and believe that you can get to your destination with enthusiasm!

Action creates momentum. It takes discipline to do the things that push you out of your comfort zone. Yet, it is always when you are the least comfortable that you are learning and growing the most. The person who can ultimately exercise the most discipline over your life is you. Define what you want, and then go get it. Will it be easy? No. Will consistently stepping outside your comfort zone and into your performance zone give you great satisfaction and well-rounded success? Yes.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit

Author's Bio: 

Michael L. Stahl is a professional speaker, corporate trainer, and motivational performance coach. He has traveled to 18 countries around the world and focuses on teaching individuals and organizations how to achieve peak productivity and success. He has appeared on “CNN Financial News,” discussing success strategies, and is the President and Founding Partner of Motivational Concepts in Orlando, Florida. To join his “Motivational Moment Club,” go to