We’ve all been there. An opportunity arises, and you aren’t sure if you should pursue it or not because it’s a little out of your comfort zone. It’s different. It scares you. So you just pass it by, never to know what could have come out of it. You go back to living in your comfort zone where everything is easy. You’re happy there though, right? That is until one year passes, then two, three, four, and maybe even five. Next thing you know, you find out that weird kid from high school is the CEO of the world’s most promising technology start up, and that girl you worked at Campus Rec with one year in college now owns her own gym…and you’re still at the same place. You were always the one that was ahead, but what happened?
You’re still in your comfort zone, and they stepped out of theirs. The thing is that after centuries of evolution, the human brain is wired to want to stay in its comfort zone. That’s where it’s safe from predators, attackers, and all the things that would cause the ancient man to meet his Maker. Yet, the world has evolved, but our brains still have that primal instinct. Our greatest tool is the exact thing that holds us back from leveling up in life, from achieving what we are truly capable of.
I can personally attest to the fact that stepping out of your comfort zone will open more doors than you can imagine. Take this website for example. I got the idea to start it my freshman year at USF, but I was too busy trying to settle into college to pursue it. Then, I really wanted to get it going my sophomore year, but I got a job and started doing research. So I told myself I would start it that summer, and that’s when I actually made the website. But then I decided I was going on a graduate school road trip, so I’d be too busy to write blog posts. It took me until the beginning of my junior year to actually launch the site, take on clients, and most importantly, have the confidence to step out of my comfort zone. Two years. Imagine how much I could have grown this site if I would have jumped on it my freshman year. Aside from that, this website has taught me that I really love learning about people’s culture, and how that plays a role in their health decisions. I love teaching people how to manage their stress and level up in life, so much so that I’ve been looking at career paths I never would have thought about before. In addition, this website has helped me meet and impact many people. I get texts from followers saying how influential some of these posts are for them. That makes me happy, and it’s all because I took a leap. I stopped making excuses, I stopped caring about what people were going to think, and I went for it. Turns out people are more supportive than I thought, and I think you can find that out too.
Every day we get opportunities to do things. Ideas pop into our heads to try something new. We see people and think to ourselves, “I should talk to them.” Stop making excuses, take a chance, and go talk to them. If it scares you, you should probably do it. I promise that 9 times out of 10, you’ll find that doing so will help you grow in some way. Even if it ends up not working out, you still learned something. We live in a time where anything is possible. You can start your own blog. You can work from home. You can invent things and sell them on Amazon. Don’t let your mind hold you back. Use it to its full capacity and challenge yourself.
I was listening to a TED talk about this topic, and the presenter made the following suggestion to help people get started: When your alarm goes off in the morning, don’t hit snooze. Turn it off, throw off your sheets, and get out of bed. The minute you hit snooze, you’ve given into your mind’s comfort zone. When you immediately turn it off and get out of bed, you’ve gotten over the first challenge of the day and set yourself up for success. Start small because those little actions/comfort-busters add up over time.
I’d like to finish with a quote that speaks to this topic: “Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one thing that is going to help you grow.” ~Caroline Myss.
- History has wired our brains to keep us in our comfort zone.
- When your mind starts making excuses, don’t listen to it. Prove it wrong.
- Do what makes you uncomfortable because those are the situations that will make you grow the most.