You know that life is short and yet most of you will spend your days going through the motions or worse, doing things you hate. Why?
Because it is completely normal. It is the norm to go to work, to bring in money so you can have the things you value and which are important to you. Some of you out there will LOVE what you do for a living because it gives your life meaning while others of you, plod along each day and never question anything until you are old and grey and look back on your life and think ‘was that it?!’
Our Hopes and Dreams
Think back to when you were a child. What were your dreams and hopes for the future?
I have been in education for the last 12 years and I have seen the excitement and enthusiasm in younger students when they get to try something new. When they are not afraid to dream and wish for something big. They are not afraid to be different or to step out of their comfort zone to learn more. I have also seen the same students hit puberty and suddenly start to shrink into themselves as they start to care more and more about what other people think and stop trying new things. They start to play things safe, to be one more soul going through the motions of life.
There is nothing wrong with playing things safe but if you never step out of your comfort zone, you are missing out.
Here are 5 reasons you should step out of your comfort zone:
Enjoy your uniqueness.
When you step out of your comfort zone, you are giving yourselves permission to be YOU! To say, I don’t need to be like every one else. The more you enjoy this feeling, the more comfortable in your own skin you will become. You are the only you out there and nobody does it better so don’t be afraid to show that person to the world. It only needs to start with a small step.
I know this is being said a lot at the moment but that is because it is true! When you step into the unknown, you will learn so much about YOU! Who you are, what you enjoy, what gets your blood pumping (in a good way!) and what you find meaningful. I cannot name the amount of times I have had an idea about who I was only for it to be completely wrong when I tried something brand new. For example, most of you know that I have panic attacks. As a result, I always saw myself as fragile and a weak. However, after I started doing new things like going to University, living abroad, starting my own business, it made me realise that yes, I am sensitive but I am not weak or fragile. The more I do, the more I learn about myself.
What could you learn about yourself?
Keep your Mind Young
My dad always used to tell me ‘never stop learning and trying new things Kate’. He told me this because he had personal experience of how difficult it was to try and learn new things later on in life.
A Study called “The Impact of Sustained Engagement on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: The Synapse Project” in 2013 which you can find here, talks about the importance of new activities on the ageing brain. Psychological Scientist and Lead Researcher Denise Park of the University of Texas at Dallas states:
“It seems it is not enough just to get out and do something—it is important to get out and do something that is unfamiliar and mentally challenging, and that provides broad stimulation mentally and socially. When you are inside your comfort zone you may be outside of the enhancement zone.”
You need to keep your brain active and you need to keep stretching its capabilities. Like a muscle, the more you work it, the stronger it gets.
Helps Improve Performance
As you can imagine, if your brain is constantly being challenged, you are sharper. You know that when you are feeling at your best and your mind is sharp, you can problem solve better. This in turn, will help your performance in whatever your chosen field is. I know that when I am working late at night and I am tired, an issue or problem can plague me and I will struggle to find the answer. However, after I go to bed and wake up in the morning feeling refreshed, the problem is suddenly much easier to solve.
To stick it to your Inner Critic
This isn’t the language I would normally used but I thought it necessary! Those of you who are not trying new things are probably acting that way, out of fear. Again, this is completely normal. Fear is a huge issue and we all have experienced it at some point in our lives for different reasons.
I love a book called ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ by Susan Jeffers. In it, she talks about how all of us have one fear and it is that we cannot handle whatever is coming our way. Like I have said earlier, I have anxiety and I worry a lot and so I pondered over this for a while. My fears have always surrounded health and the more I thought about it, the more I found it to be true. I worry because I don’t believe I could handle being seriously ill.
Even if you don’t have anxiety, you will have an inner critic telling you a load of nonsense and you believe it because you think it is true. However, you are not your thoughts. It is just your over-eager assistant in your head telling you things because it thinks it is protecting you. But just because it is trying to help doesn’t mean it has any authority. You can choose to be scared and stay in your comfort zone or you can choose to stick it to your inner critic and do it anyway! The choice has always and will always be yours.
Don’t be afraid to live the life you want. You are allowed to want things, to be different, to dream big and it all starts with a small step. A small step into the unknown, out of your comfort zone into a world of possibilities. Be that older person who looks back at life and thinks ‘it wasn’t perfect but it was mine.’ Live a life of your choosing where anything is possible.
What are you going to do TODAY to step out of your comfort zone? Let me know below.