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Comfort zone

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A comfort zone is a familiar psychological state where people are at ease and (perceive they are) in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress.

Judith Bardwick defines the term as "a behavioral state where a person operates in an anxiety-neutral position."[1] Brené Brown describes it as "Where our uncertainty, scarcity and vulnerability are minimized—where we believe we'll have access to enough love, food, talent, time, admiration. Where we feel we have some control."[2]

Performance management[edit]

White (2009) refers to the "optimal performance zone", in which performance can be enhanced by some amount of stress.[3] Beyond the optimum performance zone, lies the "danger zone" in which performance declines rapidly under the influence of greater anxiety.

However, stress in general can have an adverse effect on decision making: fewer alternatives are tried out[4] and more familiar strategies are used, even if they are not helpful anymore.[4]

Optimal performance management requires maximizing time in the optimal performance zone. The main target should be expanding the comfort zone and optimal performance zone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bardwick, Judith M. (1995). Danger in the Comfort Zone: From Boardroom to Mailroom--how to Break the Entitlement Habit That's Killing American Business. AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn. ISBN 978-0-8144-7886-8.
  2. ^ Tugend, Alina (11 February 2011). "Tiptoeing Out of One's Comfort Zone (and of Course, Back In)". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  3. ^ White, Alasdair (1 December 2009). From Comfort Zone to Performance Management: Understanding Development and Performance. White & MacLean Publishing. ISBN 978-2-930583-01-3.
  4. ^ a b Staal, Mark A. "Stress, cognition, and human performance: A literature review and conceptual framework." (2004), NASA/TM-2004-212824, IH-054