"Comfort makes cowards of us all."
~Michael E. Gerber
I do realize taking only the last line out of a paragraph can erode the strength of a quote. In this case however, the lack of context can allow for a much wider interpretation and can make the short snippet even more poignant. I have recently finished reading Michael E. Gerber's book, The E-Myth Revisited, and i would have to say it's a recommended read for any of you embarking on a journey of starting a business, and the eventual self-discovery that will come about.
At this point however, I'm not here to discuss the book, just this juicy little tidbit he threw in near the end. Under a broad scope, this quote pretty much echoes what most entrepreneurial war cries try to get across: If you are not challenging yourself daily [ie. breaking your comfort zone], then you aren't getting better. A good concept, but one that I only recently internalized on an emotional level, as opposed to just nodding my head towards what I read.
Breaking one's comfort zone really does sound as uncomfortable as it should be. The fear of not-completion, the fear of ridicule, or worst of all, the fear of falling short of one's own expectations, intangible as they may be. All of these should be experienced in some form towards your craft on a daily basis. The more obvious examples would be challenging ones self on an artistic level: Experiment with media, poses, themes, studies etc. Good advice as always but I find it is only a part of the discipline as a whole. Breaking one's comfort zone in art also implies shaking one's social and organizational structures: Randomly initiating contact with folks, Getting used to rejection or indifference [it does tend to be less painful each time], learning how to register/run a business, delegating tasks without stepping on other peoples toes [at least not too heavily], etc.. The list varies for each individual and can probably go on indefinitely, but the key point is that this list is much larger in scope than one would expect. Everyday doesn't have to involve some form of artistic challenge, but having a self-appointed challenge nonetheless is important. Just remember, it's perfectly natural, and in fact healthy, to feel a sense of unease when performing a challenge for the first time. That sense of unfamiliarity can be a bigger sign of impeding progress than you may realize.
On a side note, transit sketch: