The Laws of the Universe are pretty clear. One of those laws, and the one I’d like to talk to you about today, has to do with motion.
I firmly believe that if you’re not going in one direction, you’re going in another direction.
The Universe, and the laws of physics, back me up on this.
But let’s take it one step further. Because just saying you’re “going in another direction” is nondescript. Here’s a better take: If you’re not moving forward, not pursuing the treasured life goals you’d most like to achieve, not making any progress on becoming the person you want to be…
If all of that’s the case, in what direction are you moving?
You’re not moving. Not at all.
Now, it could be that you feel like you’re just standing still, as opposed to moving backward. Even if that’s the case, even if you just feel flat, it’s still not a productive place to be.
For most of us, this state of non-motion, non-productivity is our “comfort zone.”
I don’t think of a comfort zone as a good or a bad thing. Really, it’s an anxiety-neutral state of being. That state on its own can’t hurt you. Matter of fact, it can’t do anything for you.
If you choose to stay within your comfort zone, indefinitely and unequivocally, that’s where the danger lies. That’s where you risk getting stuck, taking the path of least resistance and fewest rewards. It’s a life where pushing your boundaries and moving out into the unknown becomes so terrifying, that you not only give up the idea of pursuing your dearest dreams…
You also give up dreaming.
But understand this. There are ways to escape this inherent danger of staying locked in your comfort zone. Here are five things I recommend you do to break out of your comfort zone and into a life of greater meaning and possibility:
1. Take a new route home from work every day, or a new route to the grocery store. Changing your surroundings and charting a new path changes the way your brain perceives things.
2. Go vegetarian for a week, or even vegan. Switch out the foods and smells and tastes you’re used to consuming on a daily basis. If you’re already a vegetarian, try new dishes and spices you’ve never considered.
3. Make snap decisions if you tend to weigh your options several times over. This teaches you to trust your judgment, and trust your gut. If quick decisions are already your habit, then take your time making decisions. Slow down and observe what’s going on.
4. Volunteer at a place that makes you uncomfortable. If you’re not around children very often, go spend a day volunteering at a children’s hospital. If you’re phobic toward the elderly, volunteer at a nursing home. Spending time around things that scare you, or things you don’t know much about, helps you realize there’s nothing to fear. The unknown becomes approachable.
5. Identify three of your deepest fears and tell someone about them. Sharing your fears makes you vulnerable. Vulnerability can be a gift that makes you open to new experiences.
Try these out, one after the other. You might feel slightly uncomfortable. You might feel wholly uncomfortable.
But these practices can push you to achieve the goals that once seemed unreachable. This is how you push past your comfort zone and change the paradigm you were raised in. It’s how you dissolve the beliefs you were brought up with and told not to question.
Most importantly, stepping beyond your comfort zone gives you the capacity to move forward in your life goals, so you can do exactly what you want with your life.
Here’s something else that might be outside your comfort zone – and definitely worth looking into.