The Powerful Link Between Comfort and Results

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A few weeks ago, a fellow reader asked me a very profound question. He wanted to know one thing:

What drives me?

Without hesitation, I knew the answer. And I’m willing to bet that it’s the exact same thing that drives you.

Results.

Results drive us. They motivate us. They push us to keep going even when we have the least bit of desire to.

It’s human nature at its finest. People are wired to be driven by results. It’s inside of us. We want results. Badly. We crave them. And we get anxious and frustrated when we don’t get them, and get them quickly.

Results mean success. And we all want success, right?

I’ve discovered something a long time ago: results drive results. Even the slightest sign of positive results can be enough to light a fire inside of us. To motivate us. To fuel us to keep going – to want more.

Results drive results.

This doesn’t only apply to the act of building a lean and functionally strong body. No way! It applies to each and every aspect of your life.

But there are two fundamental problems in today’s society that are preventing us (read: you) from getting the results that you want:

1) Lack of Patience

The first problem is that we all want everything to happen yesterday. We want change to be instant. The truth is that our patience has literally gone down the drain.

Yes, you want results, but you want them immediately.

And what happens when you don’t get them?

You quit. You move to something else.

Then that something else doesn’t give you instant results, so you’re on to the next one. A vicious cycle is initiated and perpetuated.

Here’s the issue. When it comes to changing your body (or pretty much any aspect of your life), feedback is NOT immediate. It’s slow. It takes time. Time we, well, don’t have time for. The fact is, whether you have a coke or a combination of power foods today, you will look the same tomorrow. But give it a month and you’ll see the difference.

But hey, you’re not willing to give it a month. You’re barely even willing to give it a week.

If your patience does not outlast the initial feedback period, you will never get to experience the cycle of positive results.

2) We love comfort

Oh man do we love comfort!

It makes us feel so good inside. It makes us feel safe and in control. This is why most people spend the majority of their lives in what we call the comfort zone.

And for a lot of people this is great. This is what they want. They love their comfortable jobs and their comfortable workouts and their comfortable lives. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

But if you are one of the few who want to excel, who want to do great things in life, who want to be successful in your field of choice, who want to build a lean and functionally strong body. If you are one of those who want to get real, positive results…

Comfort will not cut it.

Comfort kills the potential for results. Obliterates it.

Introducing the Law of Comfort. It is a principle – a simple theory actually – that I discovered a long time ago. It is a law that has dramatically changed the way I approach training, and pretty much anything I do in life.

The application of this law can and will dramatically change how you approach anything you do, especially when it comes to transforming your body into a lean and functionally strong machine.

The Link Between Comfort and Results

Take a second to observe the simple graph below. It tells you everything there is to know about this principle.

Intersection of Comfort and Results

What do you see?

This graph defines your struggles. It shows exactly why you will most likely never get the results you desire.

That is unless you make some profound changes to your training.

Notice that as your comfort level goes up (moving towards the right of the graph), your results become minimal. But as soon as you get out of that comfort zone and move to lower levels of comfort (towards the left), your results begin to skyrocket (upper left part of the graph).

Here’s a more detailed view.

95% of people stay in their Comfort Zone

Unfortunately, most of you will remain in the bottom right portion of the graph where you will continue to experience minimal results. This corner is safe. It’s comfortable.

If you’re one of the few who want to finally experience positive change, then you need to start your climb to the top left corner of the graph.

You need to get out of your comfort zone because, truly, there is nothing of value to be gained inside your comfort zone.

The beautiful thing about the top left corner is that this is where results begin to drive results. This will become your prime source of motivation because, believe me, when results begin to come, you’ll want nothing more than to keep them coming.

So how do you get out of your comfort zone?

It comes down to one word: Intensity.

The intensity with which you train at will determine your comfort, and you’ve probably already witnessed this yourself. What’s the difference between a jog and a sprint? One is nice and easy. It’s comfortable. The other is explosive, challenging and something you definitely don’t look forward to.

But which one yields the best results?

I think you know the answer.

We’ll get into more detail on the topic of intensity in a future post. For now, figure out where on the graph you are and where you want to be.

If your answer is where I’m hoping it is, then we got some work to do.

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Comments

  1. Srdjan, Fun topic and it left me with two thoughts:

    1) “Patiently Get Out of Your Comfort Zone” – the diagram made me realize that it isn’t just enough to jump out of my comfort zone, but to plan to LIVE outside of it. (Not just in fitness, but much of life is that way.) have patience and stick to it; live outside the comfort zone.

    2) Intensity? I’m all for high intensity interval training. Crank it up and go. But I’m also learning the importance of low intensity activity and rest/recovery. There’s a tough balance in there. It is almost as if occasionally (keyword), I need to step back into the comfort-zone to recover, do some lower intensity activity. Those breaks help refuel for more INTENSITY!

    Great stuff!

    -Troy

    • Troy, you make some excellent points (as usual). I’m glad you carefully analyzed the graph and noticed that the trek from inside to outside the comfort zone is not immediate. It’s not instant (comes down to patience again). The graph shows a slow start, a gradual progression and an explosive finish to high results as you get used to the new lifestyle. You’re right – we’re not just talking about fitness here, but life in general.

      Great points about intensity. Like everything else in life, there are always extremes. With the new (cutting) routine that I’m going through right now, I’m also beginning to learn the importance of taking a step back from high intensity training and moving back to periods of low intensity training – your body needs adequate recovery to avoid over-training. Like you said, there needs to be a balance. The problem is that most people are part of the other extreme – they never get out of their comfort zone. This is the message I’m trying to get across. Once you break through that zone, there is nothing that can stop you!

      Thanks for your great input!

  2. Srdjan,

    Great post and I think both you and Troy made excellent observations about balancing intensity with overtraining. I like to put myself through really intense workouts. In fact, I feel better about my workout if I am completely spent afterwords (maybe even slightly lightheaded) and need some time just to recuperate.

    However, it would be stupid of me to do 2 or 3 of these type of workouts daily just for the sake of upping my intensity because there comes a point when it is counterproductive. Muscles grow during rest and you need to be smart about your training. I like to think of it as controlled intensity.

    Alykhan

  3. Love the graph! I’ve never thought of representing it that way, but it’s too true–the less you are willing to leave your comfort zone, the less you can expect to change.

  4. Thanks for the informative read :-)

  5. great responses. i’ve always found it hard to find that balance when your motivation is through the roof and all you want to do is train, and train hard and all the time. before you realize it you’re not doing your body or mind any good as you are over-training. we all know just how important that REST is. i find it helps…when i’m in the stretch run of my workout (kettlebell/sprint/you name it) i tell myself “i’m not training tomorrow, and mabye not even the next day” and it can really kick up that intensity, through the roof! because I know no matter how hard it is or how much it hurts….I won’t have to feel this tomorrow. it really helps me get out of my comfort zone if i’m falling back into it.

    • Hey Mark, that’s an awesome point. I use the same little mental trick to get myself to push harder when I need to. I tell myself that I won’t have to endure this until next week and BAM my motivation is kicked up a notch. Works like a charm!

  6. Thanks for telling all of us in denial, of how toxic the comfort some can be! Definitely love seeing and feeling results. It truly is addicting! More addicting than staying in the comfort zone that is for sure!

  7. Great Post SP. It Intersection of Comfort and Results at mid point(45*) is where most of us are. as much as getting out of the comfort zone, its also the time(especially fitness) that plays a major role in pulling me down the y axis. I have a 6 day work week with 75 min of public transport travel one way.

    • Sri, we all have our personal obstacles. Time is a big one for many people. But if something is important to you then you’ll find a way to do it. No matter what. Sometimes you’ll have to do things that are uncomfortable to make that time.

      (I drive 60 min one way for and I hate it so I feel your pain)

  8. Great article. I think its puts things in perspective. I savored it and will be sharing it with others. Spot on. Thanks!

  9. Hello.\,

    Great post! I think its something that can be applied for many aspects of life!

    Also I think the obstacle in way of performance is how to measure it… I mean we love to perform and to improve on past performance. In terms of fitness it is hard to find a measurement index that shows how we are actually performing (at least I have not – so any suggestion is more than welcome).
    Again congrats on your website!

    • Robin, I definitely agree that people crave results. They love to see numbers and physical changes because that shows progress. But sometimes I find that these people get so caught up in the numbers that they lose sight of why they’re doing this in the first place…

      First and foremost, focus on how you feel. Listen to your body. It will give you insights about the status of your inner workings. How do you feel after you eat? After a workout? When you wake up? What does your poop look like? What are your energy levels like in the evening? Your body is constantly sending you signals that you need to pay attention to.

      If you’re referring to sports performance, then yes I can see how numbers would play a big part. But if general fitness and health are in question, your body will usually tell you everything you need to know.

  10. almost need a third variable…time/speed it takes to get results.
    I burn out too fast when i elevate too far above my comfort zone.
    Slow and steady slightly above a base comfort is where i like to stay.
    I know where i want to get to and i know crazy intensity just makes me feel that i should get there much faster than possible. But with the lower intensity and longer time frame, i am able to see smaller results on my steady march to my goals.

    • Matt, that’s a great point. Not everyone can venture outside of their comfort zone at the same rate. But as long as you are constantly pushing your boundaries, those boundaries will extend. And that’s the whole idea.

  11. Nick Clawson Stiver says:

    Man, you can apply this to every aspect of your life. I am sitting here procrastinating on a huge assignment for school because it is comfortable to browse the internet instead of think. Everything that was worth doing in my life has been difficult. Everything that was not worth doing has been easy.

    What a simple and profound realization!

  12. Great post! It’s definitely time I start moving out of my comfort zone to start getting the results I want to see physically and in other aspects of my life.

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