How to Break Through Your Comfort Zone
Updated: Nov 9, 2019
In 1997 I got on a plane with a bunch of people I didn't know to fly to England. I was so nervous, actually slightly terrified. What if I got homesick? What if I hated the food? What if I hated the people I was with? I knew I wanted to travel and I knew I wanted to see England so I went. That trip when I was 15 years old changed my life and was one of the best experiences I've ever had.
I have dozens of these stories in my 38 years. Things felt uncomfortable, I did them anyway and I came out better for it. Let's be honest, things get uncomfortable as early as kindergarten, they get really weird and uncomfortable in middle school and the uncomfortable doesn't really slow down until your first job. Then life gets comfortable and well, boring.
I've decided comfortable and boring are siblings. Wherever comfortable goes boring follows. So how do you stop boring? You stop being comfortable. So why is being uncomfortable so, well uncomfortable? We are humans are designed to survive. Survival is built on familiar. When things are not familiar our brains basically sound alarm bells telling us to stop. This was a great characteristic for humans when we were living in caves. In 2019 it's causing more harm than good.
What kind of harm?
We want to feel but not if it causes us to fail, enter all of these habits.
Comfortable = Boring = overeating, overspending, drinking too much, drug use
So how do we stop this cycle? We get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I know, easier said than done but honestly isn't life boring without a little comfort zone repelling? (I feel like moving outside my comfort zone is like repelling off of a mountain)
Enough talk, how about some action.
If you have something in your life that feels out of your comfort zone I want you to I have 3 questions and a small little exercise to make you think twice about being comfortable.
Will I die?
Are you going to die from this potentially uncomfortable thing? If the answer is yes then, by all means, don't do it. But I have a feeling the answer is most likely no. I like to ask myself this question first as it lightens the load of the decision and usually makes me laugh.
What's holding me back?
The main thing that holds people back from decisions is what others will think. In Elizabeth Gilbert's book "Big Magic" she lets us all off the hook on this one by simply stating "no one is thinking about you". It is really true. Let's look back at all of the thoughts you had today. If and when you thought of another person other than yourself it was only for a brief moment, then you went back to thinking about you again. I would also like to point out that I personally think about successful people a heck of a lot more than unsuccessful people. I want to know how they got there. Unsuccessful people, I don't really have time to think about, do you? I'm basically saying if you fail people will think about you even less! That's kind of awesome! (I'm being sarcastic here but honestly, it is sort of a load off)
In a year if I do not leave my comfort zone for "this thing" where will I be?
This is the hardest one for me as I usually get to this question and know I have to do "this thing" or I will be unhappy as I know in a year I will be exactly where I am today (comfortable and bored).
Now, take the uncomfortable choice in your mind but only positively. See yourself successful in this new uncomfortable place. What does the air feel like? Where are you? Who are you with? Feel it as if it has truly happened for you. Let your heart believe in something other than the negative. It's amazing what happens when you let it go there.
Get uncomfortable and do "this thing." I dare you!