Stretch Your Comfort Zone

Stretch Your Comfort Zone
By Ian (DOC) Bartlett Revised Januray 30, 2013


If you are like me then you are most likely aware that we all tend to go through our lives doing what we know, what we are most comfortable with and especially we like to do the things that feel safe. We tend to condition ourselves to this response and are unwilling to step out and take the risk even if that means deferring the achievement of our dreams.

For those of us in the artistic family this can act as a barrier to either improving our art and our ability to grow as an artist.

Dustin Van Wechel ( ), I thought summed it up very nicely, when noted that:

Evolving as an artist (and a person) through new experiences is not about short-term rewards, but rather, long-term growth and betterment.


I was wondering about the cliché (step out of your comfort zone) that is often quoted to encourage people especially artists to try some new and or different. So what is a “comfort zone”?

Well according to Wikipedia

The comfort zone is a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk

And then they go on to say

A comfort zone is a type of mental conditioning that causes a person to create and operate mental boundaries. Such boundaries create an unfounded sense of security. Like inertia, a person who has established a comfort zone in a particular axis of his or her life, will tend to stay within that zone without stepping outside of it.


What do you think? Does this just about describe some of your actions related to art or maybe even to your life and/life style. Are you talking about yourself as being “creatively challenged”?

It so then how about taking the challenge and stepping out of your comfort zone.

A challenge, of course, is a general term referring to things that are imbued with a sense of difficulty and victory.

Are you just sitting back and letting your life go by just watching others win or create art that you wish you could try and do? This is the time for abandoning your comfort zone; time for you to grow as an artist; time to feel inspired, to be reinvigorated by the excitement that comes from the process of learning.


To step outside your comfort zone, you must experiment with new and different behaviors, and then experience the new and different responses that then occur within your environment.

Change is good. Change is scary. Change is necessary!

Too many of us get in a rut because we simply stop being open and receptive to change. Without change there can be no growth. Without growth we wither.

You have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and take the risk in order to achieve your dreams.

The first things you will need are:



A good friend

An open mind

You need to make a simple commitment to do something. That something might be:

A course or class that you wanted to take but put it off using a thousand excuses;

A paint media or technique that you have never tried before and that half scares you to death just thinking about it;

Ok, so now you have made the resolve, you have built up the courage to create your dreams and step outside your comfort zone; you have opened your mind to doing something new – opened it to change; now what you need is the support of a friend. Get a good friend to do this with you and together you can put yourselves into a position where you both have to stretch outside your comfort zones.

A caution, however, is in order, because once you force yourself to step outside your comfort zone you may just be forced to expand your consciousness.

So take a breath or hold it if you wish; step outside and let the change begin. Soon you will be able to tell yourself that:

“Once I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I wouldn’t fail. Now I have taking the steps to change and kiss my comfort zone goodbye, closed and locked the door. “

Good luck and let me know what changes you have made and how you have stepped out of your comfort zone.

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