It's harmful and unfulfilling, that's why!
What have I missed out on in my life because I have shrinked back from learning to enjoy swimming? Well for one, my wife loves it! We could have had many more enjoyable times in the water with our family playing water sports and swimming in the world's oceans and seas. It is one of the best ways to keep fit as it exercises so many muscle groups and the cardiovascular system all at once. I wonder what beaches of the world we have missed walking on together because it does not attract me in the slightest?
The second reason staying in our comfort zone is potentially harmful to us is because we were designed to grow, learn and explore new things. By definition staying in our CZ actually erodes our ability and imagination to try different experiences. It leads to prejudices setting in and we get stuck in a rut. Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying for some people what could have been written on their gravestones is, Born 1745. Died aged 25, Buried aged 75.
Our Comfort Zones are like muscles.
We all know that our muscles atrophy if they are not used. So do our comfort zones. Ask any person who has been laid off from work for awhile or who has taken time out to have a family, and they'll tell you. Even what we used to feeling comfortable doing becomes uncomfortable and we lose our confidence and determination to venture out. We get "out of the habit". Resistance sets in. There seems to be a negative, downward pull like gravity that leads us to stay well and truly locked into our shrinking comfort zone in quiet desperation. It can lead to downward spiral of depression, even suicide. A friend of mine just recently did take his own life. He was a very successful husband, combat veteran who had dedicated over 40 years of his life serving his country he loved. He then decided to retire. he and his wife bought a beautiful home, car and all the trappings of success in one of the top places to live in the USA. He began to make new friends, renew old friendships and make a positive contribution to his alma mater, the USAF Academy. But something in him said, "You are worth less now because you are not getting paid for what you do". Although there of course may be many extenuating circumstances that could have led to him taking his life, I believe a contributing factor was he was not being stretched out of his comfort zone any more in what he felt was a meaningful way. He slowly grew more and more depressed, despite looking to everyone else including his wife and closest friends as if he had it all together. I weep when I think of him, and wonder what would have happened had he known how important his life is, and how valuable he was to those who knew him? We are designed to leave the "safety" of our comfort zones if we truly want to live well and be happy.
Let's explore this a bit further by taking a closer look at various comfort zones we all have, and answer the question, should we stay or should we go?