Posts Tagged With: Challenging

Step Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

The text book definition of “comfort zone” is that psychological state in which things feel familiar. The person is at ease and in control of the environment. It can also be termed as “an anxiety-neutral position.” Simply put, Comfort zones are those plush, cushy places that are nice to be in, but really do not offer you any real support for personal development.

Although, stepping out of a comfort zone raises anxiety and generates a stress response, this also results in an enhanced level of concentration and focus.

Inspirational quotes encourage you to get out and do something strange – something you wouldn’t normally do – as getting out of your routine takes so much work. With a little understanding and a few adjustments, you can break away from your routine and do great things.

Why is it that we tend to get comfortable with the familiar, but when we are introduced to new and interesting things, the glimmer fades so quickly? Pushing too hard might cause a negative result, and reinforce the idea that challenging yourself is a bad idea. It becomes our natural tendency to return to an anxiety neutral, comfortable state.

So, what do you really get when you’re willing to step outside of your comfort zone?

• You will be more productive. Comfort kills productivity. In the absence of deadlines and expectations, we lose the drive and ambition to do more and learn new things.

• You will have an easier time dealing with new and unexpected changes. By taking risks in a controlled fashion and challenging yourself to things you normally would not do, can prepare you for life changes.

• You will find it easier to push your boundaries in the future. Once you start stepping out of your comfort zone, you become accustomed to that state “Productive discomfort”. As you challenge yourself, your comfort zone adjusts so what was difficult and anxiety-inducing becomes easier as you repeat it.

• You will find it easier to brainstorm and harness your creativity. This is a soft benefit, but seeking new experiences, learning new skills, and opening the door to new ideas inspire us in educative ways. A positively uncomfortable experience helps us see problems in a new light.

The benefits you get after stepping outside of your comfort zone can linger. There’s the overall self-improvement you get through the skills you’re learning, the new foods you’re trying, the new country you’re visiting, and the new job you’re interviewing for. There’s also the soft mental benefits you get from broadening your horizons.

Now, a few quick tips –

Do everyday things differently. Take a different route to work. Try a new restaurant without checking the reviews first.

Whether the change you make is large or small, make a change in the way you do things on a day-to-day basis.

Take your time making decisions. Slow down, observe what’s going on, take your time to interpret what you see, and then intervene.

Do it in small steps. It takes a lot of courage to break out of your comfort zone. Identify your fears, and then face them step by step.

The experiences you have may be mind-blowing or regrettable, but that doesn’t matter. The point is that you’re doing it, and you’re pushing yourself past the mental blocks that tell you to do nothing.

Trying new things is difficult. If it were not, breaking out of your comfort zone would be easy and we would do it all the time.

It’s not a good idea to live outside of your comfort zone all the time. You need to come back from time to time to process your experiences. The last thing you want is for the new and interesting to quickly become commonplace and boring.

So, get out of that armchair or couch you are lounging in. Challenge yourself. to try something different. Anything that makes you a better version from what is today. Unlock the power and energy that comes from getting out of your really comfort zone.

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” – Brian Tracy
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Light Your Fire

A man was traveling and stopped at an intersection. He asked an elderly man, “Where does this road take me?” The elder one promptly questioned, “Where do you want to go?” The man replied, “I don’t know.” To which the old man opined, “Then take any road. What difference does it make.”

How true.

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​When we don’t know where we are going, any road will take us there. Enthusiasm without direction is like proliferating weeds in a garden. It will lead to frustration. A whole lot of energy is being wasted and nothing concrete is being seen. Goals give a sense of direction. Would you sit in a train or plane without knowing where it was going? Obviously ‘No’. Then why do people go through life aimlessly, without goals?

That was the easiest part. Because it did not require any effort to ask a question. But it is really challenging to find the solution. And for this riddle, there is no perfect answer. Some people know what they really want, but just haven’t pursued it. So, for them, it is only a matter to focus and realize what they wanted all along. Others will have a more difficult time. They have not yet figured out what their dream is. Or what they’d like to accomplish.

For those wandering aimlessly but would like to get a grip on things, it is best to start simple. Small steps, like thinking. Close your eyes and think about things. Deep inside, you already know what you want, only that it has not surfaced enough to be visible. That is why you have to go inside. Close your eyes and think.

Think about what’s important to you. Think about what you’d like people to talk about when you are no more. Think about how you would like to be remembered. Write down the things that come to mind. This should not be a one-time exercise. You will need to do it many times. Until you can see clearly. Your goal should be visible right in front and everything else will be a blur. Continue to explore your inner consciousness till you can see clearly.

This was the easier part. The struggle starts as you build a road map to get there. There are always several roads to get where you want to go. The ones that are easy have many shortcuts and compromises. The others will be difficult, treacherous and full of hardships and obstacles. But one has to walk down this street. There is a technique here which works – think backwards. From the end to the beginning.

What is the last thing you’ll need to do to achieve that outcome? What is the thing you’ll need to do just before that step? What is the thing you’ll need to do before that step? And so on, until you get to the first step. The first step is what you need to focus on.

On the best sunny day, the most powerful magnifying glass will not ignite the paper if you keep moving it around. But focus and hold it in place and the paper will light up. That is the power of concentration.

This was the easy part. Now you actually have to go and do it. You have your plan outlined. Surely you can now have the 1-2-3-step guide laid out too. What is needed and critically so, is to monitor how you stick to the plan. It could get very complicated keeping track of several goals with different time frames. What can be done to simplify things ? It is suggested to break down the goals into smaller components. And then monitor them. So you have just one small sub-goal one at a time. And several such sub-goals leading to a short-term goal. And a bouquet of short-term goals building up to your medium-term goal. A number of medium-term goals lead to a long-term goal and finally targeting the life-time goal.

The reason you focus only on one goal at a time is because it is difficult to follow many objectives at the same time. So, we sort them into actionable aims. When you need to accomplish only one thing this week, you actually boost your chances of success. As you can really focus more energy into making it happen. However and when you decide to do 3-5 things in the next two weeks, it is much more likely that you won’t do any of them.

When you achieve the short-term goal, select another one which is in line to get you to your medium-term goal. Once the medium-term goal is accomplished, choose a new medium-term goal to get you to your long-term goal. No sooner is your long-term goal accomplished, set your sights on a new long-term goal. Keep this up, and you will achieve your aim. Importantly, you won’t be wandering aimlessly anymore. You will have discovered purpose, hope, faith, confidence and success.

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