Step outside ... Your comfort zone!
Why is stepping outside of your comfort zone so important for achieving everything you want in life, and why is it so hard?
The level of risk in your life directly relates to your possible rewards. But human beings are actually programmed for comfort and low risk. Your comfort zone is defined as "a behavioural space where your activities and behaviours fit a routine and pattern that minimises stress and risk." Back in 1908, psychologists John D. Dodson and Robert M. Yerkes noticed that staying inside our comfort zone caps our performance levels. It also caps our optimal performance.
As hard as it may be, try practising taking a few step outside of your comfort zone. Watch your dreams and goals turn into rewarding realities.
Understand the parameters of your comfort zone.
Define the shape and size of your comfort zone Then aim to take action just outside of it. Your brain is supercharged when it's presented with situations it hasn't encountered before. Sparks fly when you face realities you find risky and new. This is where you can harness wonderful thoughts and ideas to put you on a direct path with your desired destiny.
Realise that existing in your comfort zone is holding you back.
Countless scientific studies have shown that being content with current comfort slows down your brain wave activity. Actually, it'll make you less aware of life-changing opportunities. Mild discomfort causes an action on your part. As your brain becomes more active, you become more aware of your surroundings.
"We shall have no better conditions in the future if we are satisfied with all those which we have at present."
Never be scared to make a fool of yourself.
We often worry about what other people think. Do you want to know a big secret that few human beings ever comprehend? Only a very few people care about how you look, and whether you stumble or succeed. The few friends and family members who do care about your well-being, will always support you when you falter. Think about the most magnetic and lovable individuals you have encountered. Almost certainly they weren't your average - I never go out of my comfort zone - kind of person. Acting crazy and foolish from time to time could get you one step closer to those things that you desire the most.
Face your fears.
Everyone has had huge fears in their lives. It's usually those tiny and subtle fears that keep you from achieving on a day-to-day basis. Most like the fear of making a fool of yourself, you may be scared of alienating friends and family. Or you may stay inside because you're fearful that you could get stuck out in the rain. Is it worth worrying about circumstances that haven't even happened yet? Work on conquering your small fears. You'll find yourself gaining confidence to battle and overcome your biggest fears.
Live in the "now" moments life offers.
Planning is great and is certainly required for any true success. But over-planning can sometimes keep you from living in the present moment. Embrace what's going on around you. Keep your eyes open for beauty, inspiration and challenges. By living in the "Now" you are being mindful. I've written a blog about the benefits of being mindful. It's a fabulous state of mind to be in. Appreciate the present, because the past is gone, and your future's not guaranteed.
Ask yourself, "What's the worst that can happen?"
When you ask yourself this question. Be straight and honest. Human beings have taken control of the planet because of incredible survival instincts. One of those instincts is to avoid risk. Because of this, our brain often gets us to imagine that potential negative results from our actions are going to be cataclysmic. Be honest, what is the worst that can happen if you fail at an endeavour? You should instead ask yourself what's the best that can happen if you step outside of your comfort zone.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
There are billions of people alive at this very moment. To even consider comparing yourself to anyone else, is incredibly limiting. You're a unique individual who is capable of incredible things. Stop comparing yourself to others. Begin to move outside of your comfort zone. It'll amaze you - what you'll find possible after you rid yourself of pointless and self-limiting comparisons
Take small, slow steps into uncomfortable territory.
The psychologists Dodson and Yerkes mentioned above noted that the maximum achievement was realised when people stepped just outside of their comfort zone. This is because you still feel like you have almost total control over your situation. While allowing for unknown and uncomfortable situations and opportunities. It can push you towards unique and as yet, underachieved outcomes, realities and rewards. Over time, these small steps out of your comfort zone will see you miles away from your past life. You'll exist in a world which realises your goals and dreams.
Visualise the benefits of doing something scary or uncomfortable.
The whole risk/reward relationship has kept people who "play it safe" from realising their true potential. Before you take a step into an uncharted territory, visualise the benefit of the outcome. The unconscious mind drives your conscious activity. Focus on the pluses and not the negatives, of stepping outside of your comfort zone to achieve the greatest results.
Stop aiming for perfection.
This is something that holds me back all the time. Even though I know perfection doesn't exist. I know how it feels to worry. I worry about my blog post being perfect. I proofread over and over again but I still find errors when I re-read it after I've published it. I worry about how the graphics look. Are the colours perfect? Is the typography beautiful? Arg..! Stop and hit "publish"!
Start practising this mantra: Ready, Fire, Aim! If you're waiting for the perfect time to write your book, launch your business, get in shape or achieve some other major goal in your life, forget waiting, and take action. You can review your progress and tweak for better results as you progress. You'll learn as you go further out of your comfortable surroundings. You'll learn on your way to exciting new triumphs.
Even if you take an unplanned step out of your comfort zone, you put your brain in a highly receptive and alert state. As someone who lives in a foreign country, you'll know all about unplanned situations. Oh my - I've experienced so many nerve-wracking situations. It's normal for me to prepare French vocabulary. I research as much as I can about different subjects. When I find myself out of my comfort zone, it's scary. Yet, afterwards, I feel liberated. It gives me a great sense of achievement. Try to push yourself whenever you can. While this may be uncomfortable, it could prove very rewarding as well.
Make changes before changes make you.
Change is inevitable. It's necessary for growth. But wouldn't you rather decide what changes you are making in your life? Or you can sit by waiting for change to throw you off kilter? Life is full of changes, some good and some bad. Take action and make changes in your life on your own terms. Promote growth and take control of your situation. Don't wait to react. Prepare to conquer!
Nobody ever died of discomfort, yet living in the name of comfort has killed more ideas, more opportunities, more actions, and more growth than everything else combined. Comfort kills!
T. Harv Eker
Stop practising insane behaviour!
One definition of insanity is continuing to perform the same actions while expecting a different set of results. Achieve your goals by doing things you've never done before. Stop expecting your old, comfortable actions to create the new, exciting and fulfilling life you've always dreamed of. This will only happen when your new actions move you outside of your comfort zone. Only then will it begin to deliver the desired results.
Are the “safe” people of your life, halting your achievements?
This is very difficult for some people to grasp, but many of your friends have no desire to impact their lives in a positive way. They will live cradle-to-grave with the mindset that "good enough" is, well, good enough. It's not about abandoning the wonderful people you care about. It's about spending more time with positive role models. Those around you who share a desire to take control over their lives. Those who'll help you and beam when they see you achieving wonderful results.
Feed your brain something new.
Find new stimulation. Try reading a book that's outside of your favourite genre. Promise yourself to listen to one hour of music every week that does not include the typical tunes you enjoy. I started listening to radio in French. Yeah, I don't understand a lot of it. But, I quite like it now and I often switch the radio on when I'm cooking. Trust me, some of their music is utterly hideous! Push your brain's boundaries and kick-start brainwave activity which is lying dormant. With the average human being using less than 10% of their brain on a regular basis, there is plenty of room for stimulation. Some more than others - but that's none of my business :)
Create a new to-do list.
Right now, on paper and not on your computer, write a list of 20 things you want to do in your life. These should be physical and mental achievements. They should include professional, financial, romantic, spiritual and other endeavours. Many self-made millionaires have said this simple action formed the basis for new realities. Realities which formed when they had to leave their comfort zone.
Learn to say “no”.
Chances are, you don't like saying no to your friends and family. Again, I speak from the heart here. I don't like to say no to those I care about. No one wants to disappoint their loved ones. Like me, you must learn how to say no to activities and people who steal your time away. It's very uncomfortable to say no. Remember, you only have so much time in the day. By pleasing others instead of yourself, you remain comfortable and stagnant. You remain in the same place instead of dreaming and achieving.
Stay motivated and keep moving forward.
What will happen if you step outside of your safe and cosy comfort zone? Amazing and wonderful new realities and possibilities await you.
Try new things.
Search for answers to your questions.
Become more productive.
Outside of your comfort zone, you’ll engineer your mind and body to deal with new and unexpected changes. Changes that will no doubt arise in your life. This also helps you push your boundaries further in the future. Each time you take an uncomfortable step and survive, you will continue to push further for even greater results. Before long you will push yourself to harness every bit of your creativity. Countless studies have shown that seeking new experiences and learning new skills open new doors to inspiration and self-education. These can pay off in a myriad of ways.
Change happens in our lives. Isn't it smarter for you to cause that change intentionally, rather than waiting for change to disrupt your comfortable world? Put the above practices to work in your life. Stop allowing imagined fear and uncertainty to hold you back from the incredible achievements you're capable of.
The fact that you have dreams and desires is a wonderful sign. It's a sign that your brain and your heart are ready to move towards a better life.
And now it's over to you ~ Do you take yourself out of your comfort zone? What do you do?