Pushing the boundaries you’ve personally defined isn’t easy. It’s a mental battle that is notorious for inducing an irrational amount of fear, panic and anxiety. The thing is, when you place yourself under comfort zone arrest and decline the universe’s invitation to explore the unknown, you’re pretty much slamming the door on potential opportunities, life experiences and personal growth.
We know that leaving your state of mental security isn’t easy, but leaving the benefits of stepping outside your comfort zone unclaimed is an injustice to yourself. At the very least, let us arm you with the fun facts (the why) and equip you with a simple how-to guide for leaving your cocoon.
“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” - Tim Ferriss
Taking controlled risks by imposing challenges on yourself that you would ordinarily decline allows you to experience a healthy injection of uncertainty. When you choose to explore what is outside your comfort zone, you're effectively preparing yourself for life changes that force you out of it. Every challenge that you accept works as a simulation for facing the uncomfortable situations that you have no control over. It also breeds confidence which is good practice for the real thing.
In order to perform at your peak, you need to add a little healthy stress (yes, there is such a thing) to the equation. Coping with new job tasks and expectations, for example, removes you from autopilot (comfort) mode and forces you to think and work smarter. This “healthy stress” is a stimulus for motivation and growth. It restarts your personal engine, allowing you to rise to the occasion and deliver results you didn’t think you were capable of producing.
It can be difficult to accept and digest foreign ideas when you haven’t explored what’s beyond your comfort zone. Using new experiences to get comfortable with the uncomfortable can provide you with a fresh perspective and an open mind.
When you realise that there’s more to life that what you already know, you’re more likely to challenge your confirmation bias and seek out new information to broaden your knowledge base. Seeing things in a different light ultimately makes you more receptive to other viewpoints and activates a more creative mindset which you can harness in everyday life.
“You don’t get less afraid, you get braver and that’s better.” - Jordan Peterson
If you’ve never left your comfort zone voluntarily, start small. Experimenting with different routes to and from work allows you to exercise creativity and sharpen your problem-solving skills. Embracing this minor change to your routine will put you in the right frame of mind for pursuing other comfort zone challenges
One way to pull yourself out of a routine rut is to allow a friend to make plans for you. It can be difficult to relinquish control, however, learning to embrace rather than fear the unexpected is the key to becoming more adaptable.
Travelling abroad, exploring new cities, speaking to locals and learning about different cultures and customs is known to broaden your perspective, ignite curiosity and equip you with the courage to try new things.
Committing to a weekly challenge like Your Cue (featured in Curation 2018) is the perfect way to condition your mind and body to perceive the unknown as an opportunity for personal growth. Ultimately, the primary objective is to build your courage and confidence, enough to dilute the fear that is holding you back.
Diving into a pool of uncertainty can be a huge mental obstacle, especially if your fear of failure is activated. So, how do you move forward? Alter your perception of failure by viewing the steps you take as a learning experience. When you redefine the potential outcomes and breathe in a new perspective, you immediately take the pressure off.
We know that accepting an invitation into the unknown is terrifying. It unleashes emotions you don’t want to feel and quite frankly, it’s a whole lot easier to stay where you are.
The thing is, you deserve to experience the magic that lies on the other side and the fact that you’ve made it this far down the blog reveals a strong enough craving for personal growth and opportunities with your name on it. Take it one step at a time and just remember that the courage and confidence gained along the way will trickle into all areas of your life.