Time To Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Monday afternoon I was stuck in the library staring at the screen of my laptop willing my mind to think and daring my hands to write. It does not help when you are trying to get things done but you already doubt your ability. There is always that desperate need to be good, to be the best at what you do or at least be counted among the best. This is the pressure associated with having to impress someone else. It’s the discomfort of being the subject of scrutiny. It’s no different from having someone ask you to sing for them, you suddenly become self-conscious and even though you do it so well in the shower it becomes a daunting.
Comfort Zone: Get Out
We often find it hard to step out of the circles of our comfort. To venture into worlds unexplored.
My hand wouldn’t move, they remained resting on the keys like lizards on a wall waiting for the sight of a fly before they can start chasing. I waited for the whirlwind of the numerous thoughts running through my head to settle so I could Isolate them, turn them into words and then let my fingers dance on the keys just so I could lay my deepest and most intimate thoughts naked at the feet of readers like you.
Life often feels like reading from a script, we are more comfortable predicting our next moves. I think it is this school of thought that gave rise to the formation of institutions such as insurance firms, social security and pension schemes. What if we never had it all planned, what if we dared to break free from the shackles of this routine and simply become outrageous. Dare to live. Instead of attempting to control what goes on in our lives, we leave ourselves to become subjects or vessels to the waves of life.
My fingers remained adamant, they just wouldn’t move and my brain remained unwilling. I was not making much progress; I was not making any progress at all.
Without much thought, I closed my laptop and left. I did not have a clear idea of where I was going. I boarded a Ngong bound matatu. I do not have knowledge of any relatives or friends that reside in Ngong, but I had once gone to Ngong when I was 9. I sat by the window, paid my fare as if I knew where I was going and stared outside. I know it can be considered a little irrational and some people might call me idle but the truth is there was so much I needed to do.
So here I was going to no place in particular just because I could. For the first time in a long time, I was headed towards an unusual route. I could not predict what lay ahead, I simply kept going anticipating to see whatever would catch my eye. For the first time in a long time, I enjoyed watching things race in the opposite direction, like I was a kid again. I saw things with the eye of a child, I missed nothing.
Comfort Zone: Limits
We are all bound by limits we set for ourselves. For example, it’s a lot hard for us to walk into a showroom to check out cars if we deem ourselves broke or unable to afford a car. There are restaurants we have not dared to set foot in because we deem ourselves unworthy by simply looking at how they looked like from the outside. Why would you board a matatu if you have nothing to do in the final destination?
Stepping out of our comfort zones and doing things we would otherwise not do is geared to ensure we grow. New experiences give rise to new knowledge. Ignorance is the fear that has put boundaries to how far we can go and the dreams we have. It is important we interact effectively with our world. Dare to be adventurous bring your imaginations to life, go see places you have only heard of, see how the people live. Is it not frightening we might die having not set foot in some places in Kenya? We have allowed ourselves to be bound in our neighbourhoods, workplace, school and the usual circle of friends we always interact with. We are the only limit as to where we can go, how far we can go and what we can do.
We should allow ourselves to be surprised by whatever happens next, this is how we make memories, it is why first times make great and long lasting impressions. How many first times do you gift yourselves with? Do the irrational just so you can and just because you can.
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How to get out of your comfort zone
Get out of your comfort zone: Step 1
Anxiety usually comes from a fear of the unknown. Usually we imagine the worst-case scenario of what could happen when we push past the
boundaries of what makes us feel safe.
To break through your comfort zone, you need to first educate yourself. Your goal here is to find out about whatever skill or activity you’re pursuing. You’ll talk to people who have done the same thing. You’ll read books on the subject. And you’ll check-out articles on the Internet about this subject.
Information is power. And the more you know about something, the less scary and more powerful you’ll feel.
Get out of your comfort zone: Step 2
Have a Plan
After educating yourself, you want to create a plan of action for pushing the boundaries on what you think is possible.
With this step you’re going to write down a step-by-step blueprint for how you’re going to get out of your comfort zone. You start with the easiest thing to do. Then you create a plan to get to each level.
In this plan you need to create benchmarks. These are mini-goals that put you one step close to pushing past your comfort zone.
Furthermore, it’s important to identify the key challenges you’re going to face and what you’ll do to overcome them.
Get out of your comfort zone: Step 3
Hold Yourself Accountable
Accountability is another key to breaking through your comfort zone. You want to tell your friends and family about what you’re trying to do. Or you can even find an accountability partner or form a mastermind group.
This is an important step because the people in your life will keep you on track. You want them to give you that ‘push’ as you’re pushing your boundaries. They will make it hard for you to quit because you know you’ll look foolish if you did.
Step out of your comfort zone: Step 4
Take Baby Steps
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. ~ Lao Tzu
Breaking out of your comfort zone starts with the first step. Once you have a plan in place you’ll simply start with that crucial initial action.
Taking ‘baby steps’ is a great way to de-sensitize yourself to the feelings of anxiety. You’re not trying to become an overnight success. Instead you’re steadily pushing the boundaries of your comfort levels and working towards an overall goal.
Step out of your comfort zone: Step 5
Aggressively Challenge Your Comfort Zone
To really blast through your comfort zone, you would do what I call an “aggressive challenge.” This is a rapid-fire approach where do a lot of something that makes you scared. The idea here is you’re shocking the system into becoming comfortable.
You won’t have time to think about your fear. Instead you’ll be so busy pushing your boundaries that you forget about what used to make you scared.
Example: An ‘aggressive challenge’ for your sales job would be to call 100+ prospects in set amount of time. You don’t think during this process. You just do it. If a person is rude or hangs up, you quickly dial another number and move on.
Know what is your comfort zone and discover the benefits of stepping out of comfort zone.
when leaving behind your comfort zone, recognize that you will have negative outcomes. It’s a natural part of the process.
Step out of your comfort zone: Step 6
There will be times when you experience a negative outcome. Something that shakes your confidence and makes you feel scared. The trick is to not let anything prevent you from blasting past the point of comfort.
Recognize that you will have negative outcomes. It’s a natural part of the process.
Don’t allow negativity to creep into your mind. Remind yourself that it’s going to happen. In fact, you should recognize that you’re actually being given feedback about how you can do something better.
Step out of your comfort zone: Step 7
Keep Expanding Your Comfort Zone
Never stop expanding your comfort zone. Even if you arrive at your stated goal it’s important to keep pushing those boundaries.
Look for new challenges. Find stuff that you would never imagined you would do. Like teaching a class on the subject that once filled you fear. Or you could work on a related skill.