Are You Spending Enough Time in the Learning Zone?

Chalkboard with arrow leading from words your comfort zone to words where the fun starts

Each one of us has some vision for ourselves and our future.

Your vision might be something along the lines of …

I will be a successful copywriter.

I will own a cabin in Colorado and move there when I turn 60.

I will have two kids, a wife, and build the “American dream home,” white picket fence and all.

While it’s great to have a vision, unfortunately, most people don’t actually see their visions come to fruition. At least, not their TRUE visions.

The reason why is because they spend too much time in the wrong zone.

The zones we create in life include work, personal, finance, health, or spiritual. But if you want the vision you’ve created for yourself to become a reality, there’s only two zones that matter. In fact, you could take all the other ones I just mentioned and put them under these two zones:

The “Doing Zone” (aka, the Comfort Zone) and the Learning Zone.

All too often, we spend too much time in the “Doing Zone.” It makes us feel busy and being busy makes us feel accomplished. You know what I mean … Someone asks, “How are you doing ?” And the typical response is, “I am so busy.” It’s as if being busy is a badge of honor … a sign that life and business must be good.

Let me paint a picture of what being busy looks like, one I’m sure you could easily relate to …

It’s Monday. You get up at 5 a.m. and hit the gym. You then write for 60 minutes. You eat a healthy breakfast and then get your kids ready for school. You get to work, knock out your to-do list, and then go home after stopping at the grocery store to pick up milk. You have a good dinner and then unwind from your busy day. You watch a mindless show, have a conversation with a family member about the neighbors. Then you go to bed somewhat stressed about all the things you have to do the next day.

You fall asleep, uninspired for tomorrow.

Tuesday … repeat.

Wednesday … repeat

Thursday … repeat … and so on.

And the funny thing is, we think that somehow being busy like this every day of our lives is getting us closer to our vision. But let me set the record straight. Going to work and getting a paycheck might make it easier to buy that cabin, but it is not getting us closer to our TRUE vision.

That’s because the “Doing Zone” is also our Comfort Zone. We do what makes us feel comfortable … not uncomfortable. That is human nature. It’s not always smart or self-serving, but it is ever so comfortable.

It also fits Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

How do you get out of the Comfort Zone? I tell the people I coach to spend more time in the Learning Zone. But get ready, because in this zone, we experience feelings of discomfort, resistance, insecurity, and fear.

I can hear what you’re thinking, “Wow, Ted, those are freaking awesome feelings to have. NOT! Why the heck would you suggest we spend more time there?”

I will tell you why. Because it’s only through learning that you get closer to your vision. (And honestly, more clear on your vision.) This works on both a practical and emotional level.

On a practical level, that learning could be a new skill, a writing approach, or how to market yourself.

Let’s take attending AWAI’s Bootcamp as an example. If you have been to one before, you know it can be an exhilarating, yet at times overwhelming experience. There’s so much new information to take in. So many accomplished copywriters and marketers to learn from. So many new fellow writers to meet.

On an emotional level, after you made it through that first night and settled in to the three days, you notice those initial sensations of feeling overwhelmed, skeptical, or nervous were replaced with feelings of hope, confidence, and inspiration.

Emotionally, you also learned more about yourself. That you can actually move from the Comfort Zone to the Learning Zone.

When this happens, there’s only one more thing you need to do: Don’t slip back into the Comfort Zone. You have to stay in the Learning Zone long enough to see your vision come to fruition.

The best way to overcome this is to recognize when you are feeling resistant and instead, lean into learning.

Remember, it’s only when you are in the Learning Zone that you are moving closer to your TRUE vision.

I’ll wrap up with this quote from the great Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich:

“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.”

What is your TRUE vision for your future? Do you think you’re spending too much time in the Comfort Zone? Please share your comments below.

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Published: August 30, 2017

9 Responses to “Are You Spending Enough Time in the Learning Zone?”

  1. Learning zone can also "become" a comfort zone. Never feeling enough is learned to get out and do a great job. So, we hide out in class too learn just one more thing. Hoping boot camp will help shake me out of this one. I’ll be in a different kind of uncomfort zone by default if I don’t make this jump soon. Plus, initial jitters which will go away ... I know. I'll be the one swinging a white cane around camp. Hope to shake your hand next month.

    Brad Dunse

  2. This page doesn't allow me to see what is supposed to be entered into the fields represented by the rectangles. Since I don't know whether this is going to post, I'll simply say that I'm already 67 years old and my "true vision" doesn't seem to be any closer today than it did 38 years ago when it first began to crystallize.
    It's not ambitious and could be achieved with the publication of just one book about a particular part of the Christian religion that I believe to be misunderstood and has been from the first century.

    Guest (James Frazier )

  3. This is a great source of strength. This article describes me. I get myself too busy, without concentrating on my dream that I want soooooo much.

    Thanks for sharing this info.

    Guest (ROBERT)

  4. This is so true. And my experience testifies to it.
    Hopefully I've entered the Learning Zone and I will do it justice.

    Ron C

  5. My true vision is to live the writers life but going through this article, I think I'm spending too much time in the comfort zone. Most times when I want to engage in meaningful writing, I'm drawn away by work or other things which are competing for my time. I'm afraid to leave work because I don't know how I can cope without my present income.

    Lucy Anya

  6. Tomorrow, Tomorrow, it's only a day away. (Annie) I take comfort in knowing that a promise lies ahead. That I really do have it within me to cultivate the writer that is there.

    Ann W

  7. I'm a brand new member. I'm looking forward to learning as much as I can about being a successful copywriter. Nice to know that there are resources available for getting questions answered. Thanks in advance for all your help.

    Brian Loudermilch

  8. A TRUE vision is akin to visualising the future in the present moment with total intense desire to be. If you can't you WILL NOT be motivated enough to leave your comfort zone.
    I would add: just learning(gathering information), but NOT DOING, WILL NOT get you any closer to your desired objective(s) either.


  9. Educators speak of a third zone: the "panic zone." This is where you are your most uncomfortable: when you are too scared, stressed or fed up to do any learning.

    Business, sports, and motivational experts DO NOT ACCEPT this 3-zone model. It is for children, whose maturation and development are incomplete. As a mature adult, a person with goals, you need to accept ALL experiences that come your way as learning opportunities.

    Any soldier or athlete will tell you that if you shut down under stress, you are self-indulgent and wasteful of your potential. You deserve whatever success you find a little bit less.

    Guest (Frank)

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