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Not asking for tips/help, but simply curious about others opinions.
In a simplified example, I find AR9 very comfortable, AR10 very much past comfortable, and AR9.3-9.4, while inconsistent, as far as I can push myself without feeling like I'm incoherently flailing my cursor around. (Obviously BPM, Note Density, and Pattern Complexity would all effect the exact placement of that limit.)
I find it really easy to determine either extremes to the spectrum (Well within ability and Far outside ability) but more difficult when the beatmap in question approaches my limits. That brings me to my question, what are your criteria for determining whether a beatmap, while obviously past your ability to play consistently, is too far past your limits to be worth playing?
When I find myself constantly at a loss for what is actually happening (i.e. when I cannot read it fast enough and my mind is just flailing) At that point I don't think I will actually get anything out of the play. If it is too fast, I can work on that, but If my brain can't keep up, there is no hope
Comfort is subjective and just because there is comfort doesn't mean you are playing at the right skill level. There are plenty of 100k players playing big black and say they are comfortable.

If you can get 95+ acc while getting at least 300+ combos I would say its comfortable.

Getting Cs or being unable to get at least a 150 combo you are probably playing out of your skill range

What you play is up to you though
if you are considering the fact that the map might be too hard for you, then it probably is. being comfortable, as stated previously, is subjective. i always put myself outside my comfort zone because being in a comfort zone for too long earns you some unhealthy habits that cannot be applied outside of your comfort zone. reaching outside of your comfort zone not only improves your ability to adapt, but strengthens your current knowledge and adds to the collection; this of course, all being my opinion.
pain/discomfort that doesn't feel good

if you don't know if it's safe and you feel shitty doing it, it's good to stop
I actually agree with uziii, I put myself out of my comfort zone more often than not.

If I'm playing for long periods of time I stick to what I know I can do, but I'll alternate a harder song every now and then to try and push my 'comfort zone' more. I find it's been the most reliable way for me to improve so far, but I'm also the type to push myself much further than I should when it comes to endurance. I learned how to read ar9/ar10 simply by playing them, even if I had to put on some mods so I didn't completely fail it.

The goal to playing outside my comfort zone isn't to FC or be amazing by any means, it's just to get used to harder difficulties before I make the full swap over and try to improve scores.

With that being said, if you start feeling like it's "hopeless" or that you simply can't keep up (where its because of stamina, bad habits, etc) it's best imo to step back and do what you know you can do, if only to get yourself into a better state of mind before you try again.
there is a fine line between "as far as you can push yourself" and "cursor flailing". Find that line and play there. Keep challenging yourself and you will see improvement.
You're pushing too far when you can barely pass the map you're playing, with disastrous accuracy. Playing harder maps is good for improvement, but playing maps beyond your skill cap just to get that very first 7* pass isn't really smart. Work yourself slowly upwards and you'll do great.
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