What exactly is outside our comfort zone?

 

 

It has been said that life begins outside your comfort zone, or that the magic happens outside our comfort zone, but what does that really mean? Is it another cliché devoid of real substance?

My experience is that it’s not. Let me explain.

Subconscious VS Conscious brain

We tend to be habit creatures. We do what we do because we’ve grown accustomed to it. It’s become comfortable,  we feel safe doing it.

When presented with information that suggests we should change our habits for better results, our subconscious brain resists. Change is invariably synonymous of danger for it. Our conscious brain might be up for it, seeing the potential benefits of the change. But the subconscious would keep stalling us. This stalling is caused by fear.

 

Fear is out-of-synch with reality

A little story to show you how unfounded fear can be.

A friend and I used to challenge each other to do things that we would not normally do.  We would use random words or intonation while speaking to merchants. Sometimes we peppered our speech with odd foreign language words. Then our comfort zone got so enlarged that on one occasion, we spontaneously joined some break dancers in the street.

Unbeknown to us, we were being watched by the owner of a food establishment that had recently opened. He approached us and asked if we wanted to entertain at his establishment.

On another occasion, we were jogging when we stumbled across a restaurant that was advertising a salsa class that night. My friend challenged me to come in and ask about it. I hesitated but I did. I even danced a little…in my jogging attire! Granted, there weren’t many people then. But here’s  what I learned from this:

Your fears are often out of synch with reality. Your subconscious brain is always imagining the worst case scenario i.e people will think I’m weird and I’ll humiliate myself. They’ll laugh at me, it’s gonna be the worst day of my life…

That’s unlikely… Especially if you go for it with a smile and you are not being anti-social. There’s a lot of genuinely odd people out there. They aren’t necessarily having a hard time. People are used to them and shrug it off. So…

Don’t let the fear of other’s opinion of you dictate your life.Such fear is an imaginary prison.

 

This is what is on the other side

I would have never learned the above by staying in my comfort zone.  The joy, the learning, the growth, the opportunities are really outside your comfort zone.

Get out of your own way! Throw unfounded fears out the window.

Why not try one or more of these this week?

  • Smile at strangers
  • Say hello to strangers
  • Compliment a stranger on their hat, clothing, tan…
  • If you already do all of that, why not engage in conversation with strangers?

Sounds weird? Of course, it would! It’s your subconscious brain, the habit creature in you, resisting. Start small. Trust me. It’s an eye-opening, life-affirming, feel-good exercise!

 

Reflect,  Redefine,  Rise!

R.