Embrace “productive discomfort”

“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

-Roy T. Bennett

We are always drawn to easier way of doing things. Many of us feel safe in our comfort zones. Convenience and comfort has become our default choice and many times it becomes a driver of our decisions. But the problem with convenience is that it makes us intolerant of things that are not within our comfort zone. It is very hard for us to do things that could be good for us like leaving a bad habit or learning a new skill. We fail to do so and tend to avoid taking action as it might involve a certain level of discomfort and unfamiliarity. We constantly try to avoid facing such situations that cause us discomfort which otherwise could fulfil some of our personal and professional endeavours. Most of the times, we relinquish many of our cherished goals because they fall outside of our comfort zone.

We make new goals, new dreams and develop new passions from time to time. We make new resolutions to change ourselves in order to meet those desired goals. But this desire to change also makes us reluctant to leave things that are familiar. For most of us, leaving our comfort zone is difficult because of the fear of the unknown which coaxes us right back into the known and old familiar ways. We might feel frustrated and annoyed about the fact that we have to leave our comfort zone. We often feel stuck to adapt ourselves to unfamiliarity and avoid anything that is not comfortable. To overcome this pattern of avoidance, it is important to learn to step outside our comfort zones and get accustomed to discomfort.

What is comfort zone?

The comfort zone is a behavioural space where your activities and behaviours fit a routine and a pattern that involves less risk and stress. It provides familiarity, security and to some extent some level of certainty. Within our comfort zone, we become comfortable with what is familiar and get used to a steady level of performance. This soon makes us complacent as we easily fall into comfortable habits and begin to avoid those which are not.

We avoid changing most of our habits and behaviours by rationalising our thinking and saying ‘this is not the right time.’ or ‘It’s not important for me to do it.’ We tend to structure our lives to avoid moments and tasks that cause us discomfort. But those are the things that are probably important for our personal and professional growth and to maximise our potential. We hold ourselves back by thinking it is better to stay the way we are in order to avoid the discomfort, stress and anxiety.

Why is it important to come out of your comfort zone?

We are comfortable in engaging ourselves in a familiar pattern, but sometimes they may not be serving your current goals. They may prevent you from making necessary changes and hold you back from reaching your full potential. You may not be open to new challenges, to learn, grow and try new things. You begin to underestimate your ability to make any kind of change by judging yourself and end up convincing yourself that you will never be able to make necessary changes. Such thoughts can influence your actions and keep you from doing things that you might otherwise would like to pursue and can cost you your own success.

But with little awareness, understanding and by making few adjustments, you can break away from your routine and can push yourself to make those necessary changes in order to pursue your goals and aspirations. By learning to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone, you can open a lot of new possibilities and discover things about yourself that you could not have otherwise discovered. You might learn things that you are capable of and could achieve things that you could not have anticipated. You cannot be successful in achieving your dreams if you only stick to a comfortable habit pattern and routine. Sometimes you need to take risk of attempting something which is outside of your comfort zone as well.

Outside of your comfort zone

“ Life always begins with one step outside of your comfort zone.” – Shannon L. Alder.

Within our comfort zone, there is little stress and anxiety. We can anticipate things to certain extent and know what’s coming next and can plan accordingly. Whereas outside of your comfort zone, you are open to risks, challenges, and open yourself up to the possibility of more stress and anxiety. But sometimes, a little bit of healthy stress and discomfort is not all that bad and is required to provide motivation for us to achieve desired goals.

“Being slightly uncomfortable, whether or not by choice, can push yourself to achieve goals you never thought you could.”

But it is important to not to push yourself too far and enter the zone of bad stress. This if happens can interfere with your ability to work well, to learn and to plan effectively. Here are some benefits of getting accustomed to “productive discomfort.”

• It improves your performance by opening up to challenges and taking risks.

• Makes you more creative by trying new things.

• Lowers your fear of failure and creates openness to new experiences.

• Improves your curiosity, imagination, and drive to explore.

• You can deal with new and unexpected changes easily.

• Improves your productivity and you will be willing to push your boundaries by adjusting to what was difficult.

We know what we need to do to improve our lives. We say we want to change for the better. But we often are held back by our belief that sameness equals safety and change equals discomfort. The key is to be aware of whether your comfort zones are preventing you from creating change and to be willing to leave what is familiar to make the change you desire. Here are some ways to get accustomed to ‘Productive discomfort’.

Try new things

We have a tendency to only seek out information we already agree with and avoid doing new things. Seeking new experiences, learning new skills and opening yourself to new ideas inspire you to challenge your confirmation bias. You can see old problems in new light and take risks. By challenging yourself to things you normally wouldn’t do, you can experience some of the uncertainty and get used to tackle changes easily. Try changing your daily work routine or try some new activities and be open to new experience.

Decide to take the leap

One of the important factor to break out of your comfort zone is to find your source of conviction about why a task is important to you or why making that change is essential. When you face situations that are not in your comfort zone, even if you feel the discomfort, believe in your convictions. This way, you can fight through the discomfort to take that leap towards the desired change. You may come to realise that what you feared most is not all that true and in a way, slight discomfort becomes normal to you.

Take risks

Every time you open yourself to challenges and risks, regardless of their outcome, they provide you with learning experience and provide you an opportunity to utilise your store of untapped knowledge and capabilities. Even if you make mistakes and don’t get it right, there are always these experiences you have to tap into in future. Taking risks is important for your personal growth. challenges and risks expand the size of your comfort zone and you can cultivate openness to experience.

Do things differently

To stretch beyond your comfort zone, you need to make changes either large or small in the way you do things on a daily basis. For instance, sometimes slowing down is all it takes to make you uncomfortable especially if you are used to speed or quick thinking. If you are one of that conflict avoidant, you must embrace conflict. If you are an introvert, you have to do things which you have been avoiding like meeting new people or having different conversation. By doing things differently, you can expand your comfort zone and open yourself up to new possibilities.

Finally, Start with making small changes.

It is always overwhelming to step into discomfort and into the unknown. But instead of thinking of big picture, it will be easier to break down what you want to accomplish by making small changes. Getting used to ‘productive discomfort’ is to embrace new experience and to reach the state of optimal anxiety in a manageable way.

In conclusion,

Comfort zones exist in every area in our lives. To practice ‘productive discomfort’, be aware of which comfort zone may not be serving your current purpose or which comfort zones are preventing you from making the desired change in your habits or behaviour. If you feel that you are stuck in your routine, challenge your underlying belief and make small changes to your routine to slowly move out of your comfort zone.

Revolutionise Your Perspective

“ It is your vibrational thoughts that give life to the goals you wish for”

Are you holding on to fixed ideas or assumptions about yourself?

Are you allowing yourself to be controlled by the past failures?

If yes, then you are limiting your abilities by holding on to self-limiting beliefs. These limiting beliefs of yourself hold you back from reaching your full potential.

The preconceived ideas tend to block your possibilities to do what you want to do. Dreams are essential, but it is also important to know what is keeping you from having it. Sometimes that might be your limiting subconscious belief.

Let us look at some of the self-limiting-beliefs.

Self-Depreciation

Beliefs like “I can’t do” or “I am not intelligent enough” or “I’d fail if I tried” or “ “I lack the experience” and so on destroy your desires. Many tend to attribute their lack of success to not being able to have proper education or financial stability and live a life consumed by their inadequacies.

Security-itis

Some don’t want to move out of their secure zone. Belief like “I am secure where I am” puts limits to explore new possibilities or keeps them from taking a different approach towards their goals.

Negative attitude

Thinking “There is no way to solve the problem” or “competition is just too much” or “I am not capable enough” make you hit the rough barrier soon and kill your desires.

Limited environment

The size of your goals and abilities depend on your environment. Your ambitions and personality is the result of your psychological environment. The environment in which you belong might label your ideas as ‘impractical’ ‘foolish’ ‘luck determines success’ ‘you are too old’ or ‘too young’ and so on.

Low self-worth:

You subconsciouslychoose or attract those people and experiences you believe you deserve. If you feel worthy you tend to make productive choices. If you feel unworthy, you tend to make limiting choices. Low self-worth generates tendencies to sabotage your own efforts. You may start to feel unlucky as things don’t turn out well.

All these perceptions make your perspective narrow. You fail to make out the overall picture and you will not be able to seek new solutions or take different approaches. You end up making limited belief that you can’t get ahead, so you don’t bother to try. Sometimes these same perceptions lead to self-destructive behaviour.

You are what you Think’ is an eternal truth. The words you say matter. So do your thoughts. If you want something different out of your life, then you have to do something different. Similar is the case with your thoughts. To overcome your limiting beliefs or whatever you find yourself complaining, you can make changes by taking responsibility of your thoughts. You can bring about a change in your perception of situations, problems and people in your life by adopting a new point of view. Seeing things from a different perspective creates new opportunities.

At every opportunity, it is important to believe that you have the potential to do better than you are now and should be willing to make an effort to overcome your self-limiting-beliefs.

There might be many detours on your path towards your goal. You can take these detours in your stride by Revolutionising Your Perspective. (RYP)

Changing your perspective lets you work around the hurdles. For instance, while driving, if you come to road closed’ situation, this simply means you can’t go where you want to go on this road. You will find another road that takes you where you want to go. You don’ have to change your desired goal.

Here are some aspects to consider to revolutionise your perspective. (RYP)

Be master of your own time

Some do extremely well when they are on tail wind, but as soon as they run into a head wind, they cannot cope. Sailing along in good winds is easy. As soon as the wind swings and changes it’s direction, they get self limiting and cannot move forward.

RYP by demonstrating a strong will and showing tenacity. Think back to how you were a year or two years ago, about your achievements, have gone forward or backward, have you stayed or continued on right path. You will find that although you may have suffered certain set backs in some instances, on the whole you would have made a steady progress. You will come to realise that setbacks or hardships in your life were very brief and were temporary. If you focus only on the difficult times you will end up getting discouraged. Mastering your time makes your will resolute to move forward in difficult winds.

Be Flexible

Is it sufficient for us to advance in just one direction. Following just one pattern of thinking limits our possibilities. No one is perfect or capable of sailing through without any problems. The reality is people move to the left then to right, they fail and go down, then they stand up again.

RYP by not clinging to a particular method or fixed notions from your past. Unidirectional approach limits your possibilities and ideas. Being flexible in hard times lets you get through difficulties. Explore new possibilities to get around the problem. A path is sure to open up if you are willing to change. If your limitation is that goal is too big, divide it into small realistic steps. If you think you are not qualified enough,try to gain some required skills and apply them to achieve your purpose.

Be flexible and think of ways to turn the situation to your advantage.

Use adversity as springboard

No one can sail through life or travel on their path without facing set backs, failures and difficulties. Life is not necessarily filled with good experiences, even before you were born. So you are not here simply to have everything run smoothly for you.

RYP by taking difficulties or set backs as experiences provided to make you strong and turn them into opportunities to grow. We are here to accumulate different experiences by repeating the process of trial and error. Make the utmost effort with all the knowledge, skills and ideas you possess to cope with adversity. Do not let yourself swept away by the tides of adversity instead use it as a springboard to move forward.

Think like long distance runner

There are always two ways of considering a situation, short-term and long-term. You may not be a sprinter, but this doesn’t mean that you do not have the ability to run. It is true that people have different levels of ability. Some can master something in short term but some take longer time.

RYP by thinking like long-distance runner. Inspite of being a slow learner or with no potential to do well, with continued effort and certain amount of discipline you can achieve what you desire in the long run. A short-term perspective sometimes has a probability of being less successful and has more chances of people concluding that they are no good and ending up having no goal. In the first place. The fact that you did not succeed in short term doesn’t mean that you cannot in long term. It is necessary to extend your time frame to meet your desired goal and you can do so with better ability.

Nothing in this world is a waste

Sometimes the people in your life become your limiting factor. The main problem lies in our incorrect perception of people and things around. This distorted perception of others makes us moan and complain. We tend to categorise them as good and evil and criticise, dislike and distrust. Because of this many wish if they were in a better situation or with better company or with better people. This becomes a major hurdle in working along with others.

RYP by changing your outlook. Ask yourself if there is some other way of seeing a situation. When you happen to meet people you dislike, try and figure out why they are disagreeable to you, or why their character displeases you, or why they have a pessimistic attitude. Unless you adopt to the belief that these negative views cannot be true, you cannot change your perspective. Sometimes it is only our wrong understanding and our distorted views that limits our knowledge about others.

Aim for a goal one step higher

Some find that they are capable of reaching certain point only to discover that success eludes them. Their subconscious fear of total success makes them anxious as they feel that they have not earned it. As a result, they fail to achieve their goals when they have only a little further to go.

RYP to overcome this kind of situation. Instead of getting into trouble, when approaching your goal, practice setting your sights on a goal that is even higher. Making a habit of thinking one step ahead. Plan for your next step and aim for a higher goal. There is always a higher mountain waiting to be tackled. This makes you less anxious towards your present purpose and prepare you better for your next move.

To sum up, you can train yourself not to limit yourself as you have every potential to become what you think you are. So get down to the deepest level, find your limited thinking and beliefs, and try to change your perspective to make them supportive to what you want to achieve. Adopt to a new way of thinking.