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The saboteurs of our mind, holding us hostage inside our “Comfort Zones”​

Stepping out of the Comfort Zone is indeed rewarding, especially when the outcome is something that we have long dreamed of or aspired for. 

Yet, a vast majority of individuals actually struggle to move out of the comfort zone consistently. Sometimes we do manage better with smaller tasks but give up when it comes to taking a bigger leap outside that zone. 

Our comfort zone represents the circumstances & conditions in our life or work that are familiar to us and that our mind has got accustomed to. 

Leaving this “bubble of comfort” usually gives rise to a range of negative emotions (fear being one of the primal ones) and mental resistance, which eventually lead to most individuals getting pulled back into the safety of their comfort zones. 

It’s important here to realise that anxiety & fear associated with stepping out of the comfort zone, especially while trying out something drastically different in life or work, is a natural “survival instinct” of the human brain. So there is nothing unusual about these fears and you are certainly not the only one facing them.

From the evolutionary perspective, our brain is wired to help us survive. This means that, by default, it interprets any uncertainty or risk (which we see outside the comfort zone), as a “risk to survival”.

Research on Positive Intelligence, conducted & published by Shirzad Chamine & his team at Stanford University, explains the psychological basis of our survival behaviors and emotions. 

The research shows us different automatic & unconscious patterns of the human mind that create fears every time, we think of trying something new while stepping out of our comfort zone. 

All of us have these automatic patterns. Only some of them dominate over others, depending on our personality, upbringing, circumstances in our formative years or other factors. 

We call these automatic mental patterns, “The Saboteurs”, as in most situations, they sabotage our happiness as well as our ability to fulfill our highest potential. 

Here are a few common examples of the fears & unconscious thoughts generated by the mental Saboteurs, that come in the way of us stepping out of our comfort zone : 

Saboteurs are automatic , mental patterns of the human mind that sabotage our happiness & success

  • The Controller : “There are too many uncertain factors here. What if I lose control over my life if I try this?”
  • The Hyperachiever : “I have to succeed at everything that I do. What if I fail while trying this?”
  • The Hypervigilant : “Oh, there are too many risks in this venture” 
  • The Hyperrational : “I do not have all the information and resources I need yet” 
  • The Stickler/Perfectionist : “I haven’t worked out the perfect plan yet”
  • The Avoider : “Now is just not the right time. Let me wait for a better time” 
  • The Victim : “I am just no good, and I am bound to fail with this, just like in the past. There is no point in even trying.” 

Any of these statements ring a bell ?

Over time, these kind of Saboteur patterns become such an integral part of our subconscious mind, that they become second nature to us and we often do not even realise how these unconscious thoughts may be sabotaging our happiness or success.

To step out of the comfort zone and to live the life that we really dream of, we need to train our brain to recognize the saboteur patterns of our mind. 

Once we heighten our awareness, it is possible to slowly re-wire the neural connections that automatically activate negative emotions such as fear and anxiety. 

Over time, we can even learn to perceive the initial anxiety as a healthy emotion that keeps us from sinking back into the familiar environs of the comfort zone (which the brain tries very hard to do). And with practice, we can train our mind to dissociate ourselves from fear-inducing thoughts & to stay on course to accomplish the task at hand. 

What is your experience with stepping out of your comfort zones? What kind of fears or thoughts may be keeping you hostage within your comfort zone?


I assist leaders & professionals with Mind-Training tools to overcome the inner barriers that come in the way of their peak performance, well-being & happiness.

Our unique Mind-Training Program combines Positive Intelligence, Neuroscience & Positive Psychology & is aimed at training & re-wiring the brain, so that you learn how you can consciously tame your self-sabotaging inner voices and step out fearlessly to accomplish those ambitious goals and to embrace the life that you have always dreamt of. 

DM on my Linkedin profile or use my Calendly link below, to setup a free call, where I can share with you how your mind may be sabotaging your success and happiness. 


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