The most common advice given by photographers (and creatives in general) is probably: “Get out of your comfort zone”. I’ve seen it countless times on blogs, books, interviews and articles. It’s difficult to disagree with this statement, whose implications are largely obvious. Nevertheless it may raise some issues.
This is how many of us would depict it:
Getting out of our circle of safety forces us to access unexplored areas and experiment with techniques, styles, tasks, interactions. To do so, we usually identify a specific goal and/or give ourselves a self-assignement. In my case for example, I identified the lack of the human figure in my photos as a limit and decided to experiment with street photography. I went out more, walked around the city, dared to shoot when I usually wouldn’t. It worked, for a bit. Then it didn’t work anymore: I felt less and less motivated and at some point I discovered I was photographing monuments more than people (in my defense, it’s easy to be distracted when you live in Rome).
The fact is, sometimes we think we are working as in picture 1, while this is how things are actually going: