Have you ever taken selfies in your life? You know, pictures of yourself using the front camera of your phone? I’m sure you have in one way or another (it’s okay you can be honest…), or at least you know people do it on a regular basis.
But have you seen this epic 3 year selfie a man took while travelling for 36 months? It’s quite braggy but he earned it fair and square. You have to see it.
I mean, seriously, how awesome is that? For someone like me who preach awesome, that is pretty freaking awesome!
And I’m sure it took him a hell lot of risk, discomfort, agony and pain, considering he travelled to raise money for charity after letting go of the bulk of his belongings.
Breaking out of your comfort zone can be surreal. It can lead to new experiences, better perspectives and excellent experiences. But it involves breaking out of your routine, pushing the boundaries, and it’s quite a big deal.
The last time I stepped out of my comfort zone, I surprised myself.
I didn’t know I could develop a website from scratch, create my own logo, start coaching clients online and generate ideas on a daily basis. I didn’t know I could deadlift a 176lbs, overhead press a 90 and squat at 120. I didn’t know I could work every day by myself, without an office, without a boss and at the same time spending time with the people I love.
The last time I stepped out of my comfort zone, boy, did I surprise myself.
Stepping out of this zone though is not a normality for most of us. Heck, I only started actively stepping out of it six months ago, when I quit my job at the travel agency.
But like everything else in life, you won’t realise how easy something is until you do it consistently. Right?
Remember the very first time you tried to learn a bike? It’s hard, you just don’t get how the pedal works and you probably have a scar on your knees from when you were six. I do.
Or remember the very first time you tried to exercise? How you vomited and swore to yourself that you will never ever ever step into a gym again, and you’d rather live unhealthy? It’s a bad thing to wish for though.
And then remember when you keep practising riding a bike and all of a sudden cycling becomes so easy? Or how you managed to suck it up, conquer the fear and hit the gym again, this time feeling so much better than the very first time?
It’s not too bad.
Stepping out of your comfort zone is going to be uncomfortable, but it will be worth it, especially if you’re pursuing things that you love.
We’re creature of habits. We seek activities that we’re familiar with, have done it before and those that has the least amount of stress and risk. In some ways this is great, you’ll be less anxious, happier and stress less.
But in order for us to optimally perform as a human, we need to enter a state of relative discomfort every now and then.
In simplest term — Comfort zone = steady performance. Step out of comfort zone = maximum performance.
Breaking out of your comfort zone creates awesome things. You’ll get more work done and be more productive. You can deal with stressful and new situations better. You’ll find it easier to push to your limits in the future. And you’ll find it easier to be more creative.
The beauty of this is that, breaking out of your comfort zone does not need to be outrageous. I’m not telling you to go bungee jumping right now, or take epic selfies travelling for 3 years.
But I am telling you to do something new every single day. Trying a new cuisine (or food), doing a new workout routine, finally reaching out to the person you’ve always want to, plan a vacation to a country in a continent you’ve never been before.
Or even, call up your mother in law.
It’s nerve-wrecking because it’s supposed to be. But here’s what you can do to break the nerves.
Do everyday things differently. If you’ve been taking that same route to work every day, change it. If you’ve been making the same lunch every Friday, change tomorrow’s. If you’ve been working from home all this time, do it at your local cafe.
Do it in small steps. Another thing I preach beside awesomeness? Habit. It’s the only way you can change something permanently. If travelling out of the country scares you, travel to the next town or city. One step at a time mister.
Learn how to trust your judgement and make a quick decision. Ever felt like something can work out but you have no idea how to do it? Do it like Richard Branson — “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” Sometimes behind these quick and perhaps irrational decisions lies something incredibly amazing. How would you know? You wouldn’t until you try it.
If nothing else works, ask yourself when was the last time you did something for the first time? If the answer is anything more than two weeks ago, I think you owe it to yourself.
And if the answer is picking up flowers for your wife on Mother’s Day, four days ago, then make stepping out of your comfort zone a habit on it’s own.
These days I make a point to do something new every day. Something I’ve never done before, but always wanted to. You should join me.
Another awesome reason why you should break out of your comfort zone? You probably can finish that marathon you’ve always wanted to for the first time in your life. You probably can lose that little bit of weight you’ve always wanted to. And you probably can live a healthier, happier and more fulfilling life.
Try it today. Do something different. Pick up those dumbbells in the weight room. Run faster. Swim further. And most importantly, be better.
And then tell me by leaving a comment below — When was the last time you did something for the first time? And what is the one thing you’ve always wanted to try that is uncomfortable?
“Excellent then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle.
Go be epic. Maybe one day I’ll travel around the world and take gym selfies in 100 different gyms in 100 different countries.