I've talked a number of times over the years about the comfort zone, the learning zone, and the panic zone.
The comfort zone is when you are perfectly comfortable, you don't make mistakes and it feels easy and in control.
The learning zone is the next level where you feel pushed, a bit out of your element, not quite as in control, and you make some errors because you are walking a thin line between having the skill and not having the skill, but still within the realm of doable.
The panic zone is when you are so far out of your element, you can't function, and are in way over your head.
“If you have everything under control, you’re not moving fast enough.” – Mario Andretti
Kids don't care so much, but adults are terrified of failing and making fools of themselves. We are much more aware of the risks of making mistakes because we have suffered the consequences.
As a result we slow down and try to make sure of every little step, but this causes us to lose the flow. If we make the little step too important, like our whole goal was to do this one little step, then we lose sight of the big picture, of our vision. This little step is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
At some point, staying on something too long becomes procrastination. You are either afraid, or unmotivated to take the next step, or you aren't sure what the next step is. Find out, and get going!
Remember, I am not suggesting you go too fast either. I am talking about when everything is completely comfortable and under control. There is a difference between feeling comfortable and looking for perfection.
Whether in your dog training, your handling or your competitive performances, you need to learn to push yourself to the limit, just outside your comfort zone, and the irony is...get comfortable being uncomfortable. Don't be afraid. Try going just a little bit faster. Just a little bit.
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