In my recent professional readings I have been focusing on Learning Zones. In an 1908 experiment conducted with mice, psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson found that stimulation up to a certain level increased performance, but any stimulation above that level causes performance to deteriorate. Based on that research the Yerkes-Dodson Law emerged. This law depicts three major states a person can be in: disengagement, flow and frazzle. Those mental states relate directly to the comfort zone and to two additional zones situated outside it:
– Comfort zone: a place, situation or mental state where one feels safe or at ease (and often
– Learning (or courage) zone: area outside the comfort zone where there’s just enough stimulus and anxiety to drive productivity and flow.
– Panic (or terror) zone: area furthest away from the comfort zone, after the learning zone, where there’s too much stimulus and/or anxiety. In this zone productivity tends to decline.
If you’re too comfortable, you’re not productive. And if you’re too uncomfortable, you’re not productive. Like Goldilocks, we can’t be too hot or too cold. So it’s important to learn and be aware of that little zone between our comfort and panic zones.