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  • The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone – Part 3

The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone Part 2

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.        

  • Neale Donald Walsch

There is no doubt that humans are creatures of comfort who seek out ways to remain in a state of comfort.  By natural design it would appear that we avoid that which is uncomfortable and readily embrace that which brings us comfort.  Equally true, however, is the construct that holds that in order for us to reach an optimal level of performance we must learn to go beyond our comfort zone.  In other words, we must learn to be comfortable becoming uncomfortable.  As indicated last week, I read an article on LifeHacker.com by Alan Henry entitled The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone (and Why You Should) that I believe speaks to this matter in a practical way.  Once again, I will share a portion of it with you that I believe will challenge and inspire you in a practical way.   

Dr. Craig L. Oliver, Sr.  #ebcBETTER

How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Outside your comfort zone can be a good place to be, as long as you don't tip the scales too far. It's important to remember there's a difference between the kind of controlled anxiety we're talking about and the very real anxiety that many people struggle with every day. Everyone's comfort zone is different, and what may expand your horizons may paralyze someone else. Remember, optimal anxiety can bring out your best, but too much is a bad thing.

 

Here are some ways to break out (and by proxy, expand) your comfort zone without going too far:

  • Do everyday things differently. Take a different route to work. Try a new restaurant without checking Yelp first. Go vegetarian for a week, or a month. Try a new operating systemRecalibrate your reality. Whether the change you make is large or small, make a change in the way you do things on a day-to-day basis. Look for the perspective that comes from any change, even if it's negative. Don't be put off if things don't work out the way you planned.
  • Take your time making decisionsSometimes slowing down is all it takes to make you uncomfortable—especially if speed and quick thinking are prized in your work or personal life. Slow down, observe what's going on, take your time to interpret what you see, and then intervene. Sometimes just defending your right to make an educated decision can push you out of your comfort zone. Think, don't just react.
  • Trust yourself and make snap decisions. We're contradicting ourselves, but there's a good reason. Just as there are people who thrive on snap decisions, others are more comfortable weighing all of the possible options several times, over and over again. Sometimes making a snap call is in order, just to get things moving. Doing so can help you kickstart your personal projects and teach you to trust your judgement. It'll also show you there's fallout to quick decisions as well as slow ones.
  • Do it in small steps. It takes a lot of courage to break out of your comfort zone. You get the same benefits whether you go in with both feet as you do if you start slow, so don't be afraid to start slow. If you're socially anxious, don't assume you have to muster the courage to ask your crush on a date right away, just say hello to them and see where you can go from there. Identify your fears, and then face them step by step.

There are lots of other ways to stretch your personal boundaries. You could learn a new language or skill. Learning a new language has multiple benefits, many of which extend to learning any new skill. Connect with people that inspire you, or volunteer with an organization that does great work. Travel, whether you go around the block or across the globe. If you've lived your whole life seeing the world from your front door, you're missing out. Visiting new and different places is perhaps one of the best ways to really broaden your perspectives, and it doesn't have to be expensive or difficult to do. 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 weren't, breaking out of your comfort zone would be easy and we'd do it all the time. It's just as important to understand how habits form and how we can break them as it is to press yourself out of your comfort zone by doing specific things.

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1 comment

  • Terri posted by Terri Monday, 07 May 2018 15:53

    Thank you for sharing the article. Very encouraging and timely.

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