EPISODE 131: “You Stay Stuck In Life Because Your Brain Traps You In Comfort Zones”
Yep, you read that right, your brain keeps you trapped in your comfort zones.
I don’t want to give you all the details here because I have to save some of the good stuff for the episode but as crazy as it sounds, it’s not your thinking that keeps you trapped, it’s your reptilian brain.
Here’s a big “Ah ha, that makes sense for a lot of people.” Your reptilian brain operates from a place of predictability and safety. It’s a brain based survival mechanism. So, because your reptilian brain likes predictability it sabotages you leaving your comfort zones because that is unpredictable.
In this episode I talk about many facets of this entire concept and HOW to get out of your comfort zones and you’re going to want to hear this!
You will not leave your comfort zones until you leave your comfort zones.
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You're listening to episode number 131 of the transform your life from the inside out podcast. And this episode, obviously titled, you stay stuck in your life because your brain traps you in your comfort zone. What I'm going to talk about in this episode is exactly that, how you want to leave your comfort zone. But no matter how much you want to your reptilian brain keeps you trapped. And I'll tell you how to get out of that trap. Stay tuned.
Hi, I'm Jim Fortin, and you're about to start Transforming Your Life from the inside out with this podcast. I'm widely considered the leader in subconscious transformation. And I've coached super achievers all around the world for over 25 years. Here, you're going to find no rah rah motivation and no hype. Because this podcast is a combination of Brain Science, Transformational Psychology, and Ancient Wisdom all rolled into one to take your life to levels you've never thought possible. If you're wanting a lot more in life, for feel better, to heal, to have peace of mind, to feel powerful and alive, and to bring more abundance and prosperity into your life, then this podcast is for you. Because you're going to start learning how to master your mind and evolve your consciousness. And when you do that, anything you want then becomes possible for you. I'm glad you're here.
Comfort Zones Are Cages That Keep You From Growing
Okay, so sounds like a conundrum right? I mean, how can my brain keep me trapped and my comfort zone? I mean, it's my brain. It's, you know, it keeps me alive. Why doesn't want to keep me trapped? I want to go back here years ago, when I was in Peru. And if I was out in like in the backwoods of Peru, I mean, we were way out in the middle of nowhere. And one day a friend of mine and he was a mentor of mine. He was an NLP neuro linguistic programming trainer of mine many years ago and a friend. We were walking in Peru and we actually my family was air on. We were actually going on a trip spiritual journey to island of the sun. But while we were in Peru, he and I went for a walk left the hotel when we were still in civilization because we were literally, we went to the middle of nowhere and agrarian place.
And we were walking and just he and I one afternoon, and it was like Montana there. I mean, just like Big Sky you can see forever, and there's no one around. And he never walking and we came to a fork in the road. And we just stopped. And I said, well, which way do we go? Do we go left? Do we go right? And what he said to me was really I remember to this day, he said, it doesn't matter. Because either path, we don't know where we're going. And either path is going to create a different experience. And I share that with you because so many of you. And I learned in that moment 20 years ago that you know what, we don't know where things are gonna go tomorrow. We don't know where things are going to go 10 minutes from now, but so many people literally when they got that fork, many people would even turn around and go back. Many people would say, Well, I don't know. I don't know. I don't know left, right, left, right, left, right. But here's the reason for this podcast this week, is that so many of us, we don't take action in life, because of uncertainty.
Meaning we don't take any action about getting married, or getting divorced, or having kids or starting a business, or moving across country or whatever it might be even buying a new car, buying a new house. We don't do things because we're not certain of the outcome. And when we're not certain of the outcome that creates fear in us. And then what we do because fear is painful. What we do is we retreat back to pleasure, which is our comfort zone. Now, let me explain how this works in the brain. You've heard me talk before about three parts of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, which is the answer analytical part of your brain listening to me now, you have the limbic system, the mammalian brain, which is also the emotional brain. And then you have the reptilian brain, which is the oldest part of the brain.
You know, as I'm sharing this and just laughing here as well. It's something comical. I had posted on I'm running Facebook ads. Well, right now, and I have been, and I mentioned the three parts of the brain. And someone who is, I would speculate, and I'm just observing here, not that educated, actually said, in one of my ads, they responded back and said, You know what, I was not created by a reptile. I was created by God. And then this person followed up with, you're an idiot to me. So anyway, that's why I just started chuckling as I'm sharing this with you is that we do have a part of the brain called the reptilian part of the brain, and it's the oldest part of the brain.
Now what I want to share with you is your prefrontal cortex, meaning your executive part of the brain, the largest part of the brain the part listening now and thinking, literally, is that part of you saying, You know what? It wouldn't be nice to leave my job, I hate my job, and it'd be nice to leave. Or it would be nice to pack up and move across country? Or wouldn't it be nice if we sold this house and we bought a new house? Or Wouldn't it be nice if you know what I'm really in love with Susan or Bob or whoever? And, you know, it would really be nice to get married or take the next step in the relationship. But I'm afraid because I don't know what's going to happen if I do.
And I've been there before. And I know every one of you have been there before, is that there have been times in your life where you have not taking action, because you don't know what's going to happen as a result of you taking action. And then, because we already know which we really don't, but we think we do. We already know what's going to happen tomorrow. So if I make no changes in my life, even if I don't love my life, as long as I make no changes, then at least I'm going to have an okay life and I'm not going to be losing anything. But if I make a decision and it doesn't work, and then I lose something thing, I'm uncertain about that. And that is a lot of pain for me.
Now, I've talked about it here and there in my podcast. But there's some research that I read. I'm kind of a research geek. I mean, I read a lot. And I mean, a lot of persuasion and influence and brain psychology and neurology, and all these kind of things. And I read some obscure research from the 1970's done at the University of Texas. I'm sure other universities have done it since then. However,let me let me actually share the research with you and one of the experiments is that they would actually have these chimpanzees in this study. And what they would do is they would actually, they would, they would put up like a little partition between them and the chimpanzee. And then they would move the partition and there would be a banana.
So they did that over and over and over again. And so what they did is they condition a chimpanzee to think that okay, when you know, the researcher moves the piece of Would the partition, I'm going to see a banana. And then what they did is I mean, what a bad trick on the monkeys. But what they did is they actually removed the partition. And the chimpanzee was expecting, for lack of better words expecting a banana, and there was lettuce. And what happens is the chimpanzee became agitated, why? Because what they predicted to see and to get they didn't actually get because it was changed. So much research has demonstrated that it's an old vestige of brain function of the reptilian part of the brain. Your reptilian brain likes predictability.
Now, I've never read any research on this, but knowing what I do about the brain, my speculation is that the brain actually likes predictability. And the reason why is this is a vestige of us many, many years ago, is that if I have to go out and I have to hunt and gather, I want a level of certainty that it's safe for me to leave the cave and go out so that I'm not, you know, you know, so that I can hunt and I'm not eaten by a saber toothed tire, not tire, tiger. It's again being a little personal with you. It's very, very late at night when I'm doing this. It's been a long week.
So what we want is certainty. Our brain does not our analytical mind that mind but it's really the reptilian part of the brain. Now, here's the thing, when we don't have predictability and certainty, that's when we go into shut down. Why it's a survival mechanism is what I was predicting. And what I was saying just a bit ago, it's a survival mechanism is that we can predict what's going to happen. And if we can predict what's going to happen then, ah, we're safe. That's why I say that it's just a survival mechanism. And it's also primitive because for most of us this day and age,I mean, you know, your neighborhood, you know, where you live and there are some neighborhoods that really are not safe, obviously, and you know, all around the world.
But for example, if you live somewhere in a decent neighborhood, and crime is low, and etc, you can predict, you don't even think about it, but you're like, I'm gonna go walk the dogs or I'm gonna walk up to the coffee shop or whatever. You don't even need a level of predictability because you've assumed your environment is safe for you. So many years ago, as I said, I think that predictability mechanism was to protect us and a survival mechanism. And even though we've evolved in terms of, of the world and society that we live in, that mechanisms still exist in the brain.
Because even today, modern day survival in a first world country, we're afraid of many things under no threat to us. It's mainly social things. What are people going to think about me? Are people going to judge me? What are people gonna say about me? Am I gonna lose this? Am I gonna lose that and it's always for us about loss, which keeps us trapped. You know, I do know that you know, this is and this is a great illusion in life, is there's no such thing as certainty in your life. As a matter Fact right now I want you to think about one thing in your life that you know for certain, and certain means that it's factual and it can be verified.
Because you could say, well, I love my life, but then I or my wife or my kids, or whatever, and then we go into well varying degrees. What does that mean? Because it means different things for different people. But what I'm saying to you right now, the only certainty that you have in this life, and you know, you've heard before death and taxes, well, maybe you can move to a different country or a tax haven or tax shelters or whatever. So then that's not a certainty. But your one certainty is that you are going to physically leave this planet, you're going to transition, you're going to ascend, but make no mistake, you will, at some point, leave this planet.
So that being said, we all recognize that, but what's amazing to me and I've been there before I'm not there at this point in my life, is the amount of certainty that we think we have to have different in context, so, you know what's interesting with watching people and I was thinking about this episode is there are so many things that we will do without certainty.
But yet we think we have certainty at an unconscious level. And let me give you some examples here. And a major one, which we've all done all over the world, is, pretty much every one of us will hop on an airplane with absolute certainty that we're going to make it where we're going. And the reality is, is that not everyone makes it where they're going to go. I mean, I don't know the exact number. But I'm sure there are plane crashes all over the world all the time small ones, or big ones or whatever. But notice how every time you stop on a plane, for most people, you're certain that you're going to get from point A to point B. And you know what? That's an illusion. Because no one promise you ever anywhere, anyplace, anytime. No one ever promised you that you're going to get from point A to point B.
Same thing about a car. We hop in a car and we never think about certainty, am I Gotta get to point B, we just hop in the car and go. And I don't know the statistics. But even here in the US what is the fatality rate? People who hop in cars and they don't make it to point B. And so what we do, when we're conscious about it, and we think about it, is there are many things we will not do in life, as I give you some examples earlier, because we don't have certainty. And when we don't have certainty, we do not act.
And as a result of not acting, here's what I really want you to get is as a result of not acting your life a lot of times exist in an homeostasis, meaning nothing changes. I'm not going to actually take action on starting a business or going to a new school or changing from, you know, starting a school or starting this or starting anything, or getting married or moving. Excuse me, because I've heard the whole gamut of why people won't do things, and nine times out of 10 that revolve around they don't have certainty of the outcome. Therefore, that creates fear, fear of loss. Basically, I actually do not want to go into meaning people that they'll say I don't want to go into fear. So therefore, I'm going to do nothing. And I'm going to sit, you know where I am right now. And my life's not so great. But at least in my mind, I'm certain as you know, I'm uncertain as to what's going to happen tomorrow.
Okay, so let me segue from the episode for just one minute. The fact that you're here listening to my podcast means that you are serious, and you want to transform your life from the inside out. Now, that being said, you're going to want to mark your calendar because I am doing a live, no charge free training, starting on September the third,it's going to be a three part training and it's called the BE DO HAVE series training. And what we're going to do is we're going to dig deeper into ways ways of identity that you need to be so that you can do the things that you need to do so that you can have what you want to have in life to help wealth,success, money and all the things that you want. So whatever you do, Mark your calendar September the third 3pm, Central Standard Time. And, again, whatever you do now, click the show notes, click the link and get registered for this no charge training.
Okay, back to the episode. So let me recap here.The reptilian part of your brain likes predictability. And so as a defense mechanism, so what we generally do without recognizing it, we only actually wrapped around us and do things that we think we can predict the outcome of. If we can't predict the outcome. Think about your own life. Think about how many things you have not done consider right now. How many things Name three things in your mind that you haven't done? Because you're not certain of the outcome? When in effect as I shared earlier, there is no certainty in life,none except you're going to leave the planet. So your brain literally air quote talks you into your comfort zone for survival.
And then what happens? We go into a battle. We go into battle in our mind of prefrontal cortex, analytical thinking mind rational mind saying, You know what? I need to change in life. I just, I'm tired of this city, I want to pack up and I want to move somewhere else. I want to move to a beach city, I want to move to the mountains. I want to move out a country. And then what happens if I could share with you air quote, brain talk? Is your reptilian brain says no, no, no, no, you're not going anywhere. Because I the reptilian brain, I don't know the outcome of where you're going to go. And I'm your reptilian brain and it's my job for your survival. It's my job to keep you safe.
So therefore, what I'm going to do is give you some inner dialogue, to keep you safe so that you do not move across the country or you do not do XYZ, because I can't predict the outcome. Therefore, guess what? I'm going to keep you exactly where you are in life. So then, as I said, what happens with you and all of us until you until you realize this is you don't go to the next step in life, you don't create what you want in life and you stay in your comfort zones. Why? Because at least you're safe there.
Off topic, if I could for one minute, and I don't do this a lot. Yet, I don't know how long you've been listening to the podcast. And what I do ask if you've been listening for a while and you're getting great value here. Would you please seriously, would you please go to the comments section iTunes, and would you please leave me a review. And I also want to point out, please leave me a positive review if you're going to leave a review. But I would consider that a form of what I call AYNI which I mentioned before, there's two episodes here on AYNI A-Y-N-I, which is ancient Incan, and it means the reciprocity of life.
So you know what, if you enjoy the podcast, then if you would share a little AYNI back with me, because these are a lot of work. I mean, I've got to prep for every episode of my team and everything. All that I'm simply asking you is return the energy and return the AYNI. Go to iTunes, if you would, please, and leave a preferably a five star review about the podcast. I'd appreciate that very, very much.
Okay, so let's talk about comfort zones for a moment. And what I'm going to say to you I know you already know, through visceral, physical experience through emotional experience, is let's say that you want to go to, do something new, do something different in life. And think back to that time you weren't, you weren't sure about it at all. You've never done it before, for example, like flat, you know, skydiving would be a great example. So what happens is, you're thinking that might be cool. But what happens in your brain does this to you as another defense mechanism is that you get to anxiety notice how many times you're wanting to leave your comfort zone, and then you're like, Oh my gosh, this is scary. This is scary. I've got anxiety about this, I can't do it.
And then what happens because you have the anxiety, what happens is you stay in the comfort zone. And, and the reason why is because anxiety is painful for us. So a way that we alleviate anxiety is to, ah, stop thinking about that. I'm not going to do that. And when I think about it, it makes me anxious. And anxiety, obviously is painful, therefore, to eliminate the anxiety, I'm not going to do it. And have you ever noticed the second that you that you said you're not going to do something that was causing the anxiety, the anxiety goes away. So what happens is when we want to leave our comfort zones, the brain goes No, no, no five star alarm, anxiety kicks in anxiety, anxiety, anxiety, we're like hell no, I don't like that. I don't like that. I don't like that. Okay, I'm not gonna do it.
And then the brain relaxes and says okay, good. Now In your comfort zone, what I'm going to share with you also, and this is the ironic thing about staying in your comfort zone. your comfort zone gives you short term pleasure, it gives you gain, even if you don't like where your life is. Now what I mean by that is any anxiety you had about changing your life, when you say you're not going to do something that creates anxiety, the anxiety stops. So what you're doing is you're sacrificing your entire life and what you want to create in life, you're sacrificing a better future to have the relief from the anxiety right now. So what's really happening? Consider this, what's really happening is you have these short term safety that you feel good about. And yet what you're really creating is the long term anxiety of fear, because you're wanting the short term relief from anxiety.
Now what I mean by that is let's say that you you don't have the money for retirement, providing you want to retire one of these days. And let's use the simple example here. Let's say that your job requires you're in sales and requires you to call people. So now you start thinking about Oh, calling people and in your mind, most people equate that with rejection. If they tell me no, it's about me, when really, it's not about you at all. It's simply the person you've not caught up in the right time, the right offer. They're too busy, whatever, I'm not gonna go there in this podcast, but she goes, you guys know what I mean, metaphorically.
So what you do is you sit there, and you're like, Okay, I got to make cold calls, I got to make calls, I got to make sales calls, I've got to call clients, etc, etc, etc. Oh, my God, that's a lot of anxiety. So therefore, ah, I'm going to delay I call it delay-ism. In your performance, I'm going to delay and go do something else. Now guess what I'm not confronted with having to call them therefore I don't have anxiety. Now notice what happens here. Your anxiety goes down and you feel better again, by avoiding what it was it was going to create your anxiety. But notice what else you're doing. You need you must do those things to grow your business. But you're not doing those things to grow your business, because those things are uncomfortable for you, therefore you don't do it, therefore, and advertently you're creating much, much times 1,000 in terms of feeling later, you're creating much, much, much, much more pain and anxiety later, by getting to a point in your life where you built no financial foundation underneath you. So what you're really trading every time you go back into your comfort zone, you're trading for what you want long term for the short term, you game right now of not actually having the anxiety by not leaving your comfort zone.
Does that make sense to you? that literally you trade short term comfort, and that creates long term comfort for you when you do not leave your comfort zone and the recapitulate if you don't leave your comfort zone because it's painful because it creates the anxiety. Now how do we get over this? It's really simple.Very simple. We've all been there before you're flying. And what do you know? What does the pilots say when you hit turbulence, the pilot says, You know what, buckle up your seat belt, we're going to go to a higher level, we're going to go to a higher altitude, just buckle up. And basically what they're telling you is batten down the hatches, you're going to feel, you know, some turbulence, lets go to a higher level and a higher altitude, okay?
The only way for the most part to get through or, you know, to punch through the anxiety is to buckle up and go through it. And here's the great thing about it is what happens is we don't, when we don't leave our comfort zone, we never leave our comfort zone. Why? Because that anxiety coming from the reptilian part of the brain is our prison, your prison, so we don't want we want to leave the prison, but we don't because it's painful. But here I want to share with you is once you leave the prison, to whatever degree it is for you. Guess what? The prison disappears.
So once you leave your comfort zone now think back to your life. How many things were you uncomfortable about? And I can give you a bazillion. I mean, look at driving, for example. I mean, when you you know, when you first started the drive how nervous were you about a fender bender? passing your driving test? Am I going to be safe on our freeway? I mean, I know people even today that are adults that, like they don't feel safe, even driving, but yet they learn 30, you know, 30 years ago. But let me recapitulate here is you must go through the anxiety and fear, which is nothing more than an illusion anyway, and it's an interpretation anyway. It's not a real meaning, you know, empirical threat in your life. It's simply something that's made up in your mind. And many times we make it about a physical danger, as I said, but you know what, it's not physical danger for the most part in this day and age. I mean, if you're walking in the worst part of your town, that could be physical danger. But for most of us, we don't experience that.
You know, I also So off topic, but on topic, I am an adventurer. I've been quite a few places in the world. And I was in San Francisco one time. I was staying at the Fairmont Hotel. I think that's up on Nob Hill. It's a very comfy part of town. And I was actually at a place later at night like 10 o'clock at night on I don't know what direction it is on Market Street, but away from Nob Hill, which is a very nice part of town. And I pulled up my wallet, and this is before cell phones a lot of years ago, I pulled up my wallet and dropped it. Believe it or not, true story. I can't make this up. Well, I could but it I mean, this, you know, it just happened. I dropped my wallet. And it fell in the ground and it fell between the sewage slats on the ground and by by my wallet, and I'm like, Oh, geez, what am I going to do? How am I going to get back to my hotel on Nob Hill? And I literally I'm gonna walk back and it was I guess later at night I might have been midnight.
I walked to my hotel, no phone, no money. etc, I just walked in the dark back to my hotel, which was, I don't know, a mile, mile and a half, two miles. And I told my I had a driver the next day and they said, You're lucky you're alive. You being who you are, blah, blah, blah, your physical appearance, you walk through the roughest part of town at night. And the reality was, and my driver said, you're lucky you didn't get shot or stabbed. Now, the reality is, is I had no fear as I walked through that part of town, whatsoever. And I was thinking about that about fear and physical danger. I mean, I could have been in physical danger, but I made it fine. And I'm not telling you to walk in the worst part of town or any of that. But also, I wonder what if some, you know what would have happened if somebody said, Sure, you can walk, but you're walking through the most dangerous part of San Francisco. Where would my mind have been then? The same thing with you is, look how much interpretation you attach to what's actually dangerous and what's not dangerous.
So here's the big takeaway is you will never leave your comfort zone until you leave your comfort zone. let that settle in. Just ponder that for a moment. You badly I know all of you, you badly want to leave your comfort zone. And it's kind of like you get ready 123 who can do it get ready 123 whoo I chickened out again, can't do it get ready again. 123 I can do it like jumping off the high diving board. And the reality is, is you never leave the comfort zone until you leave your comfort zone. And the only way to leave your comfort zone is just "Are you ready." The only way to leave your comfort zone is just to leave your comfort zone. Just buckle up, push through and go through the fear and anxiety. And as I told you earlier, what will happen is once you go through the fear, then there's no problem leaving your comfort zone and going through the fear because you've done it once and once you've done it once you actually taught yourself that you can do it.
So the headline for this episode is that you stay stuck in life, because your brain traps you in your comfort zones, you know, recognize that the only way to get out of your comfort zones and to get out of being trapped is to go through your comfort zones. So basically buckle up, go through the conference zone. And once you do it once, or even a few times, then it's very easy to go through your comfort zone. Now, what's going to happen, just be aware of this is that for the most part, not always, but for the most part, once you get through one comfort comfort zone and go to one level. Now again, you've got to get through another comfort zone. That really doesn't happen for me so much. And the reason why is where I work from is the biggest comfort zone which actually I know it's going to come at some point, whether it's 10,20,30,40 years from now.
The only comfort zone that I would have is leaving the planet. Now, it doesn't bother me to leave the planet. I've talked about this in other episodes. I mean it's the absolute air, quote, worst thing or best thing depending on how you look at it, for my time spent on this planet. So if you want to talk about comfort zones, the only comfort zone that actually exists and for me, it's not even a big issue you might have heard me say before today, it's a good day to die, meaning you're going to die at any point. So what makes a Thursday better than Wednesday? What makes being 50 years old or 30, or say 70, or 80, or 90 any different than any other age because you're going to leave at some point. And you're going to you're going to actually transcend to another dimension. So it doesn't matter.
But anyway, I laugh when I say that, because that's where I work from is, you know what, at some point, I'm gonna leave the planet anyway. So what's the point of all the petty fears that for many years kept me trapped. So your transformational takeaway is this is you will never leave your comfort zone until you leave your comfort zone. And the only way to leave your comfort zone is to buckle up like on an airplane like turbulence, buckle up, go through the comfort zone and then once you've done you'll find that you're actually ascending to, as I alluded to earlier, a higher comfort zone maybe that you have to go to or go through. But at least you've actually transcended one level of comfort zone that is kept you trapped. Okay. Thanks for listening. I do appreciate it. I'm glad that you're here and I look forward to catching you on another episode. Bye bye.
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