Discomfort can be the reason why we hold ourselves back from doing the things we really want. This is because our mind is programmed to feel safe, comfortable and enjoys the familiar. Our mind wants us to continue showing up the same way we always have because that means it’s consistent and in line with all we’ve ever known.
Einstein says, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. Yet this is what we do! You may laugh because, the truth is - we have all been there. That’s because trying something different or challenging can feel uncomfortable at times. The unknown can bring up fear which prevents us from taking that next step or maybe taking the plunge.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone – Neale Donald Walsch
What is wrong with staying in our comfort zone?
The problem with staying in our comfort zone is that nothing ever grows there! You may end up feeling bored, unsatisfied and unmotivated. You may feel like life is just about going through the motions. Or worse, you may stay in that job or relationship because you fear what life may otherwise look like.
Maybe you’re reading this and decide – that’s enough, I’m going to challenge myself! First of all, I’m sitting here cheering you on! Yet, before you dive in, I want to give you a little gem! Remember, our mind is programmed for consistency so we can’t decide to lean into discomfort in just ONE aspect of our life and then stay in our comfort zone in all other parts. Our mind sees this as incoherent. That is, it detects the lack of consistency and urges us to return to the familiar (our comfort zone). The mind wants comfort and consistency in ALL domains of life. So, I encourage you to train your mind to start to find comfort in discomfort, in ALL aspects of your life. Be that your career, relationships, health and mindset.
The hardest thing to do is leaving your comfort zone. But you have to let go of the life you’re familiar with and take the risk to the live the life you dream about. T. Arigo
I have been playing with this concept! About a month ago, I committed to do something outside my comfort zone every day. You might ask – how do you find something to challenge yourself each day? Well, this can range from a cold shower to a difficult conversation, to not stopping when a workout gets hard and speed dating. Life even dropped a broken bone in there to test me out!
What I have learned over the past month, is that when I have leaned into the discomfort.. it was never as bad as my mind made it out to be. The difficult conversation opened up another layer to a relationship. Speed dating was truly a lot of fun and I even got to meet some great guys. The broken leg also allowed me to be vulnerable and ask for help (which is not my default!). Surprisingly, I have started to enjoy looking for opportunities to challenge myself and it is becoming easier! I have grown and learnt a lot about myself in the process.
When you walk on the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly. – Patrick Overton.
Now I’m not encouraging you to go out and do something crazy like base jumping or climbing Mt Everest! Maybe just do something small every day.. have a conversation with someone at the bus stop, take the stairs, say no, get up earlier then is comfortable! You might then learn to feel more comfortable in the bigger things like seeking a new career or asking that guy out. Who knows!
Each time you try something for the first time you will grow – a little piece of the fear of the unknown is removed and replaced with a sense of empowerment. – Annette White
Sharing your experiences can be powerful – why not join the Wholehearted Circle and do just that! Maybe, this is a way of leaning into discomfort!