Mindful Living

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Pema Chodron

In this 7-minute clip Pema Chödrön offers a convincing case for being a little more daring in our daily lives. What happens when we begin to step out of our comfort zone? We begin to get comfortable with uncertainty and our whole experience becomes more inhabitable.

This excerpt comes from Pema Chödrön’s excellent upcoming online course called “The Heart of the Matter” published by our friends at Shambhala Publications. You can learn more and register for that course, which begins on June 7, 2016, and watch a personal invite from Pema by clicking here.


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  3. Leo howe says

    Thank you for this bit of wisdom. Stumbled across this by accident, it makes so much sense to me now and what I am going through with challenges related to my mental health problems etc. Much love

  4. This reminds me of something I finally learned. Complacency is a dangerous place to reside. Comfort can often makes us complacent, it is often a shaking of thr Earth that is required for us to awaken and grow again. Thank you

  5. Challenges are often associated with hardship, I think that gives it a bad wrap. In reality it is simply life experiences, however painful or difficult. Being willing to stand in the challenge zone is where we can unfold and see our true self. Lessons afforded to us are plentiful with compassion at the core. I know this to be true in the face of illness, mine is a life long from birth experience, but I would not trade it for another. And, I agree with Pema, the comfort zone in fact expands when one stands more frequently in the zone of challenge.
    We are so fortunate to experience Pema’s teachings.
    Susan livingwellwhenunwell.com

  6. Ernest Szeto says

    I see stepping out of the comfort zone to a manageable challenge in terms of mastery, capability, flexibility, and resilience. An important aspect of the “comfort zone growing” is that one actually develops the capability (wisdom, understanding, skill) for a wider range of challenges and life circumstances. This is critical. With capability, one develops confidence, hence, “comfort”. But this learning needs to managed, and paced, as indicated by the third outer most circle (overwhelm), not too little, and not too much.

    Thank you for such a practical teaching.

  7. Bridget says

    Interesting how we often embrace stepping out of our “comfort” zones when it’s not imposed. Where it gets tricky is when it’s a move we are forced to undertake and while our minds can understand the value, our guts may resist and the fear / pain cloud our ability to make the most of the opportunity presented by the challenges. Especially since our society encourages us to “learn” from experiences to avoid future pain. So what I struggle with is how to let go of the desire to protect myself from future unplanned exits from my “comfort” zone (such as trusting a friend or an employer… or even strangers). Higher power is inside each of us but not everyone listens and nourishes it. Allowing ourselves to b vulnerable seems counter-intuitive. So is that when we slip into the dangerous outer circle of over-risky situations and need to respect our gut’s logic to be cautious ???

  8. This is Great!

    Public speaking is way out of my comfort zone and exposing my poor grammar and spelling openly, is way into my excessive risk zone.
    Pema handle this so gracefully, such a wonderful lesson.

    Thank you

  9. John Kirkwood says

    Pema is so brilliant. And so ordinary. That she can make the elemental foundation of human existence – what experience we all share as people in the world, and how to deal with it – seem to clear and simple and helpful. No matter what I am going through in life, a Pema lesson comes along to wash away the grime and dirt and shadow to reveal what helps me to hear and overcome… it’s amazing to me. I don’t have a Teacher (beyond all the people and things in the world I try to learn from), but I am grateful for Pema.

    • John Kirkwood says

      PS I am very much looking forward to the full course starting soon!

      Thank you, Pema, thank you thank you.

  10. Kunsang Tsetso says

    So good to hear this teaching, Pema. Namasté. I endure my ‘comfort zone’ daily. I am working to get to my challenge zone again. I’ve had 2 major surgeries in 5 months leaving me without a colon. I’m anemic yet feeling stronger to climb out of and not cling to my comfort zone. Your words have enlightened my awareness of myself. Thank you so much. I read your books but hearing your words resonates beautifully with my soul. You are a beautiful woman who gives so much to so many people with love.

    • Hello, I too live with health challenges, good words for that. I am pleased you too find comfort in Pema’s wisdom and trust your strength of spirit will stand with you. Best wishes.
      susan – livingwellwhenunwell

  11. Julie Huntington says

    For me it is not one cause or the other
    Only the kindness and compassion of each moment

    • Anonymous says

      Julie I am with you all the way on this.

  12. Arja Toivanen says

    Thank you for making clearer where I’m at right now – ‘stuck’ in my comfort zone but recognising that I’m ‘holding myself back from stepping into challenges with a promise that I will do so LATER. So good to have your explanations as a wake-up call.

  13. John Prehn says

    This teaching is not an optional choice for personal growth. We on Earth are going to be assaulted in our comfort zones by a crescendo of crises: drastic climate change, the death throes of exploitative globalized capitalist exploitation, dictatorship, vast over-population, increasingly probable nuclear annihilation, will shrink our comfort zones to zero. If enough of us can manage to come out beforehand to confront the challenges, humans and the rest of life here might stand a chance. Such a crucial teaching! Thank you, Pema.

    • Arja Toivanen says

      I think that the learning from the teaching is always optional, even though I agree with your ‘crescendo of crises’ confronting us. Indeed, it’s the comfort zone that may not be an option if we humans continue living the way we do. However, everyday and every moment for every human being is an opportunity to be the ‘goodness’ needed.

    • Kimberley says

      Thank you….much love.

  14. Yes, I need to continue with your wisdom, Pema. I have been in jail in my defense in Aspen, Co. of the kids being bullied on the school yard. Aspen is the # 1 City of it’s size in America for deaths from suicide and murder in the LGBT Community. I am now in Washington, DC awaiting for the 8 Justices to rule on my habeas corpus case. I was illegal held in custody. Will the elder male judges continue to rule against a Lesbian? I am writing a petition to an individual Justice, the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor, the designated Justice for the 10th Circuit. Say a prayer and believe with me. With deepest gratitude, Jan, a Pema student for 15 years

    • I truly feel you Jan, and I will be sending my heartfelt positive vibes your way!
      Yours in spirit and thought,Brother Doug

    • Robin Nardi says

      Jan, my spirit is with you You are brave. Stay the course.

    • Janet Lear says

      My prayers are with you. Please keep us informed of your situation. I will come back to this site to see whether you have posted again.
      Denver, CO

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