Get Uncomfortable to Grow

Whoever coined the term comfort zone did a good job. I can almost visualize the borders of my comfort zone in my daily life. I am very aware of discomfort, and that's because I have to step outside those borders frequently, to widen the zone. My reasons for writing this post are somewhat selfish because I feel like I have stagnated lately when it comes to challenging myself. Maybe the things I used to find uncomfortable have begun to be less so. I imagine my comfort zone expanding and feel almost giddy. This is why personal development has become such a central thing in my life - I am mindful of what it is that I am doing, how I feel about it and what are the next steps to take to improve. So, in this post, I wanted to get into some tips you could experiment with to get more comfortable with discomfort, or how I would like to call it, tricking yourself into growing.

1. Commit to plans when you are in a good mood
The bit about sometimes having to deceive yourself to step out of the comfort zone is very true. It is human nature, we want to stay comfortable, stress-free, risk-free and safe. So to come out on top, I make uncomfortable plans for myself when I am feeling great and can't back down later. My future self is often very frustrated with this, but as a conscientious person, it totally works! I don't know if this would work for everyone, and I guess it depends on your personality. The key here is not to cancel the plans. I can honestly say I have never regretted making uncomfortable plans for myself, and after, I feel giddy and excited about my improvement. Today, I will go ice swimming. I committed to this when I was feeling warm and cozy right after dinner. Wish me luck!

2. Keep at it
Doing the uncomfortable thing continuously will eventually lead to your comfort zone expanding. I used to think I will all but die if I speak English. I was terrified of making mistakes, being laughed at or being misunderstood. Now I speak English the majority of my time and have become more relaxed and natural, and most importantly, I am not afraid anymore. It took me years to get to this point, and sometimes there are low moments, but I am so happy I just kept practicing and if I gave up, it was only for a little while.

3. Get to know your fears
I like to try and reason with myself about my fears. I am scared of public speaking, so I interview myself: what is the worst that could happen, will anyone remember this 5 years from now, will I remember this 5 years from now? What is it that I am afraid of? With public speaking, my fears are similar to the fear of speaking in English used to be: I hate making mistakes. A tell-tale sign of perfectionism. Reasoning with myself doesn't always work. I haven't shown up to all of my presentations at school. I am not proud of that, but I think it says something about the fear itself. I think getting to know your fears really helps in finding ways to overcome it. I try to focus on all the times I did show up and how well things were despite my fears. I haven't fully convinced myself about the fact that messing up sometimes is okay, but I am getting there.

4. Just do it
I tried to find another way of putting this, but it works and I love Nike. I am new to blogging and to be honest, sharing what I write to other people is not easy. Clicking 'publish' is incredibly scary and for the longest time, I didn't do it. I have numerous drafts that never saw the light of day because of my fears. My current technique is to hit the button and then close my laptop. It works, but my plan is to get better and better at it, and for that to happen, I need to keep writing and publishing and putting myself out there. I know one day this will feel natural, and I want that day to be as soon as possible. As an overthinker, just doing it is a great way to overcome my fears. When you're not hypothesizing about all the things that could go wrong, you can actually do something that actually helps you grow.

Can any of you relate to this? What are your techniques for getting out of the comfort zone?

The further you get away from yourself, the more challenging it is. Not to be in your comfort zone is great fun. - Benedict Cumberbatch

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