When I don’t have strong clarity about what I want to experience next in my life, I like to explore something new. I know that I want to keep growing, so I seek out new growth experiences, new places, new people. Anything new.
This default decision to embrace the new has been a powerful heuristic in guiding my life path. I find myself leaning into many experiences for the simple reason that they’re new. If I receive an invitation to try something I’ve never tried before, I tend to say yes fairly often. If I’m not sure, I nudge myself towards the affirmative. I figure that exploring something new is generally better than doing nothing. New input means learning, and I love to learn.
Sometimes I need to return to my comfort zone to catch my breath. Too much newness can feel a little overwhelming at times, so when I feel that way, I take some downtime for personal renewal. A long meditation, a solo walk at night, a journaling session, or writing a new article are restorative experiences for me.
Then when I feel ready to branch out again, I put out some fresh invitations and/or say yes to more invitations to go explore. I lean into the new. The more I do this, the more my comfort zone expands, and the more I feel capable of saying yes to experiences that I once resisted.
Last weekend I had a wonderful time at the Morten Hake Summit in Oslo, Norway. The summit went very well, and there’s already talk about doing another one next year.
The days before and after the summit have been a whirlwind of social activity — an 8-hour mastermind session with the other speakers, several video interviews (some of them spontaneous), nights out, parties, intimate conversations, delightful cuddle sessions, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, brainstorming new business ideas, and inspirations galore. I must have had well beyond a hundred hugs while I’ve been here, and I directly encouraged hundreds more hugs between others.
Initially I flew to Oslo with a one-way ticket. This is the second time I’ve flown to Europe this year without a return ticket booked in advance, and it’s my fourth visit to this continent since 2011.Up until 2009 I had never been outside the USA. Embracing the new has been a helpful heuristic to guide me in saying yes to travel experiences. Lately this has taken the form of doing more open-ended travel, i.e. flying somewhere without knowing where I’ll go next or when I’ll return home.
While I desire to explore other parts of the world too, lately I’ve been drawn to explore Europe. I’ve been to five countries here so far, and soon I’ll land in my sixth European country — Romania. My flight to Bucharest leaves tomorrow morning.
My friend Zan Perrion likes to say, “Accept all invitations.” That’s another growth-oriented heuristic, and it nicely overlaps with “Embrace the new.” Zan invited me to come stay with him in Casa Amorata after Oslo, so in alignment with both of those heuristics, I gratefully accepted. Zan and I have been friends for several years, and like many others who know him, I love the energy that he and his friends create together — the energy of love, happiness, lightness, and beauty.
I’ve never been to Eastern Europe, so I’m really looking forward to it. I’m not sure how long I’ll stay, but I already have some interesting invitations coming through for Bucharest. Once again, I bought a one-way ticket. I have no doubt that this trip will be filled with interesting growth experience. The newness of it pretty much guarantees that.
After Bucharest I may go somewhere else, or I may return to Las Vegas. I trust my intuition to make those decisions.
As I keep leaning into new experiences, I find that the unfamiliar starts to feel increasingly familiar. Getting my bearings in new places, making new local friends, calibrating to new social environments, and learning the nuances of other cultures becomes less uncomfortable after a while. The surprises are still there, but paradoxically they’re becoming familiar surprises.
The more I embrace the new, the more I feel at home on a path of growth and change. Going outside my comfort zone ceases to feel scary and stressful, and instead it becomes fun, stimulating, empowering, and even playful. I become comfortable in those spaces of awkwardness, confusion, and mistakes, knowing that whatever happens, I can deal with it and learn from it.
When I embrace the new, I make plenty of mistakes. I spend more time in that uncalibrated beginner phase, not really knowing what I’m doing but eager to learn. I love this phase because it’s where I learn and grow the fastest. Even simple gains, like learning to navigate a new public transportation system, feel like significant accomplishments. I love reaching the point where a once unfamiliar city feels like a place I can call home, or a previously undeveloped skill can be utilized with reasonable competence.
Embrace the New
When life begins to feel stale, embrace the new. When you’re not sure what you want, embrace the new. When you feel stuck in your job or your relationship, embrace the new.
This is not an easy path, so if you prefer to play it safe and stick with your current comfort zone, then don’t use this heuristic. But if you want to learn, grow, and become smarter, then embracing the new can serve as a powerful way to get unstuck and move forward.
Don’t overthink this. Embrace the new isn’t rocket science, unless you want to visit a new planet. This is a simple suggestion to favor invitations (and to issue invitations) to explore the untried, the untested, and the unknown.
Much of the time you can still keep the old. Use your comfort zone as a home base. Return to it when you need a break from exploration. But eventually you may find that the zone of exploration becomes your new comfort zone. You may begin to feel at home on the road of growth and change, instead of only feeling comfortable at your favorite inn.
Embrace the New | Steve Pavlina
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