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Humans have this important, yet frustrating survival instinct that kept us alive 1,000 years ago but is now holding us back: the search for comfort. 

Some call it our reptilian brains and many reference Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as evidence for this wired trait, but neuroscience has affirmed this human need for survival at all costs. However, what’s kept us alive for centuries is now holding us back in more ways than we may like to admit. 

That’s why at Nolia Roots, one of our core values that we live by every day is: 

Growth over Comfort.

False Sense of Comfort

What’s challenging about this human trait is that it blurs the line between really what is survival and what is comfort, leading us to a false sense of security. What’s more dangerous is when we bring that false sense of security into the workplace and family life. 

We all know someone (and maybe it is or was ourselves at one point) that is staying at a job or relationship that is obviously holding them back. Maybe it’s a “secure, solid paying job with OK benefits.” Or maybe it’s a girlfriend that simply “treats him right.” Meanwhile, we’re screaming in our brains telling this person to move on because what might have served them once is no longer serving them. 

This survival instinct and false sense of comfort has cheated us and convinced us to cling to the wrong things in life. But because survival is our basic desire, we establish systems to set a status quo because the other option (change) sounds scary, challenging, or dangerous. Breaking up with a long-term girlfriend is hard. Finding a new job is potentially risky. So we stay put. We feel comfortable, even if we’re unhappy. 

But what this comfort zone does is it puts all expectations and outcomes well and known. We know what our day is going to look like, we know when our 2% pay increase is going to happen, we know how we’re going to feel when we see our girlfriend after a long work day: just OK. It requires very little adaption as part of our daily living. Yeah, our lives may not be ideal, but change seems even harder.

Because of this, growth opportunities are limited.  


According to White Alasdair, there are three psychological states: the comfort zone, optimal performance zone, and danger zone. Where the comfort zone is stress-free and familiar, the optimal performance zone includes some amount of stress but also fires you up to perform your best. The danger zone, then, is where you feel great anxiety and your performance suffers. 

The challenge comes when you have to look inward and define which state you’re in. You may think you’re in your optimal performance zone: you’re doing a great job at work and yeah, you’ll start a business one day. But then you realize 5 years have gone by and you don’t have much to say for it. Consistently prioritizing and reevaluating this idea of growth over comfort not only keeps you in check, but it allows you to do more than you ever thought possible.


It’s truly amazing how quickly time passes. And, they say it passes faster and faster the more you age. That means, if we don’t do one small thing, check off one tiny step every day (yes, every day) to get us closer to our goals, time will wash right under our feet. 

Saying, “I’ll get to it,” or “There’s just not enough hours in the day,” or “what if I fail?” is holding us back from reaching our full potential. 

Look, people with no more talent, no more time in the day, and no less fear than you are successfully doing the thing you are avoiding. What makes people successful is because they tried. And guess what? Failure is pretty uncommon in most cases. But it’s 100% certain if you don’t try in the first place. 


Maybe it’s time you include Growth over Comfort into your daily mantra. Where do you want to be in 90 days? 6 months? 1 year? 5 years? Write it down and do one thing every day that will get you closer to that goal.


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