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Just because we know how the mind works does not mean it won’t try and control us—especially as we take steps out of our comfort zone.
Therefore, we need to practice applied suffering where we identify our comfort zone and take on challenges or opportunities that will move us outside our comfort—regularly.
Call it training the mind and body to get used to that feeling of discomfort we intentionally try to avoid. We want to turn it on its head, allow ourselves to feel it all, and survive.
Our minds love us to be comfortable in the known and certain world of our comfort zone. We are standing in a box with a label on it, and everyone around us knows that is “us.” The thought of stepping outside the box into a different one or changing the label can be terrifying.
The minute we think of trying something new, uncertain, or unknown, our minds will try to take control and box us back in by flooding us with fear—yes, all those anxious feelings, thoughts, and “what if ” scenarios. It can be exhausting.
That uncomfortable feeling, known as fear, is a signal we are at the boundary of our comfort zone. Our minds will trick us and present some subtle, but usually wild, reasons why we must not, under any circumstance, leave our comfort zone.
We need to see our fear as a sign to push out our comfort zone into our growth zone to learn and feel alive.
Whatever makes you feel uncomfortable is your friend and an opportunity to grow. It is shining a big light on an area of your life that you may have become stuck in.
We are training your body and mind to adapt to become stronger. We only grow by taking action—not by thinking about it.
Identifying our comfort zone limits and taking action will develop a growth mindset. It is how to rewire our brains—what we once feared becomes our new norm and what was once an excuse is no longer valid as we overcame it.
The key is not to overthink it or the fear will become crippling.
It is a super-fine balancing act of identifying our comfort zone boundary, acknowledging the discomfort, and taking action—as quickly as humanly possible. Time births more limiting excuses.
By feeling all the feels and continuing to step into our fear bubble, we will wake up to the reality that the thing we fear is never that bad. Most likely, we will not die, and the worst thing possible will not happen.
How do we overcome fear?
1. Accept there is no magic wand.
2. Flood your mind with all the positive outcomes and use positive “I can” mantras.
3. Fake it until you become it and force it by taking action. Even if your body and mind is shouting no, sometimes you just need to do it.
4. Take smaller action steps to lead to the bigger step.
5. Reassure yourself you will not die or look stupid. No one cares—they are probably stuck in their own heads overthinking something in their world. You might even feel sick, but the moment will pass. You will slowly quiet your fearful mind.
6. Get excited about what you could learn, experience, and achieve. How will you feel when you’re successful?
7. The key is to control and shut down that part of the mind shouting, “Don’t do it.” That is your limit.
Find the thing that brings you the feeling of discomfort, then ask yourself:
>> If I take action, will this kill me? Answer: No.
>> If I take action, will I grow? Answer: Yes.
Then take action. Ride that wave and watch yourself learn and grow.
On a regular basis, seek out “applied suffering” experiences to move out of your comfort zone. Keep challenging yourself and say yes to opportunities to grow, learn, and become a stronger version of yourself.
Ask for that promotion or pay rise.
Ask that crush out.
Write a blog post.
Go live on social media.
Lift that weight.
Sign up for that challenge.
Go on that solo trip.
Ask for a discount.
Attend a meetup.
Host an event.
Provide feedback to someone.
Ask for help.
What are you waiting for?