If it doesn’t challenge you, then it doesn’t change you.
First, it’s important to recognize when you are in your comfort zone. These are the traits:
- You find your tasks not challenging and thus become bored.
- Nothing new or exciting seems to happen anymore
- You stop taking risks
- You haven’t felt nervous in a while
- You don’t notice the beauty around you
- Your senses feel numb
- You’re not curious
- You can’t put your purpose into words
Any of this sound familiar?
Here’s the bad news:
Learning new stuff is not easy.
It actually makes people feel really uncomfortable.
Trying a new experience or feeling like a “beginner” again is overstraining.
Remember the first time you tried to play a chord on the guitar?
Humans naturally fear and actively try to avoid discomfort at all costs.
A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there.
But here’s the good news:
Research on happiness shows us that happiness occurs happens when the task in life is challenging.
When we are under stress and we prevail, human potential is pushed forward and at the end we feel better about ourselves.
Discomfort won’t kill you.
Yes, trying new things and exploring new experiencing are challenging and it will add additional stress to your life. But all that means is you have to change something and learn new things and have new experiences, which will inevitably improve the quality of your life.
Now back to your original question.
Here’s the secret to making sure you’re living outside your comfortable zone…
Practice feel uncomfortable!
- Buy a plane ticket to a country you’ve never visited
- Sing audibly when walking down the sidewalk
- Tell five strangers a joke
- Do 10 pushups as soon as you wake up
- Learn French
- Send a postcard to 3 friends in a different continent
- Offer a seat in public transit to another person
- Eat at a new restaurant
- Read autobiographies and gain new worldviews
- Answer questions on Quora on new topics
- Negotiate with the cashier at Walmart for a discount
- Start a company
- Take a different route to work
The list can go on and on. And the best part is you can keep adding it and make a daily checklist for yourself.
Do it enough and I can almost guarantee that you will be amazed at your progress.
A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.