Staying inside your comfort zone - Why leaving it is not for everyone and a cake that looks bad but tastes so good

We're constantly told to step out of our comfort zones, challenge ourselves, try different things, be adventurous, brave, or else we will only stagnate and not move forward, we won't evolve. I am one of those people who loves to live inside her comfort zone and actually believes many very good things happen inside my comfort zone - because in the end it's all a matter of perspective, of how you actually look at something. I find that I can evolve, grow, inside my comfort zone. I find that I can be much more adventurous inside it, and even take risks I wouldn't if I did not have that (probably fake) blanket of comfort around me telling me I'm safe within my bubble. I play better and to my best results if I don't leave my comfort zone. But once in a blue moon, and because I do like to pretend I'm one of those unpredictable people you never know what to expect of, I step out of it.

This is probably going to sound strange, but I have a comfort zone regarding my writing that I like to keep to. Datation (is that even a word?). If you've happened to have read more than one of my books, then you know I tend to headline my chapters, scenes, what have you, with a date, the one in which the action takes place. That's my bubble. That's my thing, you know? I think it's a stylistic gamble that makes me who I am as a writer, something that the readers recognise as my work, because I tend to use it always. Like a trademark, you know? But when I wrote "BLOOD", I stepped out of my usual writing style, I wrote it in a completely different style - even though the genre was the same - and it turned out to be my best selling book so far. But did I get out of my comfort zone? No.

And because I was keeping to that comfort zone, of where I feel "safe", "protected", I was able to take a couple of risks with the style of the writing, if not with the gist of the story. So I am one of those people who will always defend the benefits of actually staying inside one's comfort zone in order to be, well, more adventurous. It tends to work for me, it does not mean it will work for others. I think it also has to do with what to me means a comfort zone. For me, staying inside it means I am not doing something that I don't want to do, that stresses me out, that I know I won't feel comfortable with doing and will end up leading to dissatisfaction and anxiety. That is what stepping out of my comfort zone is for me. It's far too risky in the sense that, even though I may seem to be taking risks, these are not calculated in a sense that will bring benefits to my overall progress or demeanour.

Because for me there is no real evolution, no progress, if I am doing something that goes against my grain, my preferences, my way of being and the things I like. I might not be ready to do a certain thing today, meaning it falls outside of my comfort zone, and then in two, three years time I will want to do it, try it that way, take that risk. Because in two, three years time, it may fall inside my comfort zone, and I will be ready for it, and will reap the fruits of it. But unlike me, there's so many people who will only thrive this way, by stepping into the wild unknown, by being adventurous in plunging themselves into something that goes against their grain. And that's cool, that's ok. Everyone is different and does things differently, what works for some is bad for others. What I have a problem with is when everyone starts putting every body else into the same bag and telling everyone how to do their thing, live their life. You do you, I will do me.

Like here. I tried doing stuff differently, where these images were concerned. I went for different settings on my camera, played around with it in ways I had never wanted to, because I knew what I was comfortable with, and it worked for me. I went against the grain, and this was the result. I did not do it with all my heart poured into it, I wasn't really 'feeling' it, so obviously, the result was a failure. These must be some of the worst photos I have ever taken, and this must be one of the most horrid looking cakes I ever baked. But I still want it to be here, because it not only illustrates a point, it also shows that even when keeping to my safe zones, I can still fail. The cake was an experiment that went very wrong, where looks are concerned, but tasted very, very good.

A lady that works with my husband and who happens to be his best customer where his cookies are concerned, always gifts us with little yummy tokens, like different teas, special vanillas, organic blueberries. The latest present she sent for our son was two individual packets of Quaker's Oat So Simple instant porridge. We are not porridge people, but I love adding oats to cakes and breads, and as I saw the packs, I knew what I wanted to do with them. One was apple and blueberry, the other honey and vanilla. That one got thrown into a batch of bijoux breads my husband baked for the kiddo, the first one I turned into this cake. I had frozen cassis on the freezer, and apples abounded as always, so my head was working so fast in coming up with this crazy idea. A kind of upside down cake with a crunchy topping. It did not work quite as I had expected it to, but the taste was actually a clear winner. And this is not a sponsored post.

So here's how I made it:
  • 150 gr flour
  • 150 gr butter
  • 150 gr light brown sugar
  • 3 egss
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 medium sized apple
  • 1 small cup frozen cassis - or fresh blueberries
  • 1 sachet of Oats So Simple blueberry and apple flavoured.
Turn on the oven at 180º and line a round tin with baking parchment. Cream sugar and butter into a fluffy cream, add the flour alternating with the eggs one by one. Mix well together, add the vamilla extract and half the cassis, blending in softly with a wooden spoon. On the bottom of the tin, scatter the contents of the oat sachet. Peel and slice the apple, spreading over the oats. Add in the rest of the cassis and sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Pour in the batter, bake in the oven for about forty minutes, or until the skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool before unmoulding. It might not look like a pretty cake, but it sure packs in a whole world of flavour!


  1. Stepping out of my comfort zone would be putting my writing out there, which is something you’ve done and should be admired for, Ruth.

    1. Hmm, I'm thinking I should have listened to my own advice and stayed inside my comfort zone on that one eheheh. Many years ago, another author from a forum I was part of advixed me to NEVER publish a novel. Told me bluntly my writing should be done for my own self pleasure, not for the public eye, for two very specific reasons: it was very bad writing, full of clichés and with no story to it, but mostly because it was very emotional writing which told her I was a very emotional person who could not deal with harsh critiques and negative reviews on my work. Seeing all I would get, according to her, were blunt reviews on how bad my writing was, I should not put myself out there for it, as I would not be able to deal with it and she could already envision the results this would have on my already fragile sense of self worth. Lately, I have been tempted to agree with her, some people deal fine with such things, to others this is like the end of the world, and they may end up questioning what is their place in life, if their lives are even worth it at all, if there is any reason for them to exist at all. I am coming to the conclusion that stepping out of comfort zones is indeed a lot more harmful than not, in plenty of cases, have recently been reminded of certain very bad results that has had for a few people I know. But then again, what is my comfort zone is not other people's and theirs is not my own lol. Ends up being a bit mote, this theory of mine ahahahh. Thank you so much for commenting.


Post a Comment