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Why We Must Do The Thing We Cannot Do

Why We Must Do The Thing We Cannot Do

It’s easy for forget. It’s easy to be overwhelmed  fear…by

But you have to be open to being uncomfortable in order to grow. That’s not to say that you need to struggle profoundly, but you do need to be willing to learn. The process of learning is all about spending time in the ‘unknown,’ dealing with uncertainty.

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We need to intentionally put ourselves in new situations where we encounter the unfamiliar

Take current health and fitness trends, for example. Chances are you’re a well-informed individual, who’s aware of fitness trends and health research. Maybe you’re even personally interested in working out in order to improve your health, achieve a personal goal or learn a new sport. In any case, you know that in order to become stronger, faster, increase agility and balance, you have to challenge your body.

If you don’t periodically switch up your routine – whether you lift weights, do yoga, or run – your level of fitness stabilizes. This is what’s known as homeostasis, a tendency toward equilibrium in the body’s physiological processes. This rule of thumb applies to our psychology as well. In order to learn, we need to intentionally put ourselves in new situations where we encounter the unfamiliar.

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If you’re even remotely like the rest of us, that is, you are not an interstellar alien or mythical creature of some sort, but human and therefore fallible, you can recognize how hard it can be to try new things. Even if you embrace the new in multiple areas of your life –  trying new foods, traveling, meeting new people, and so on, you have some awareness of your own particular patterns that hold you back.

“The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself”

Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best.

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Even the most fearless among us experiences fear. It is inarguably a survival instinct, rooted in our ancestral past when we needed to be cautious in order to avoid untimely death. However, we’ve transitioned from a primitive to a more sophisticated way of living, and no longer need to fend for our lives every second of the day. It’s time to challenge the fears that haunt us.

What Will Happen When You Do Things You Couldn’t Do?

When you endeavor to do the thing you cannot do, you’re most likely to fail at least a couple of times. Failure is completely normal and it provides valuable information. If, for example, your goal is to become a competent public speaker, because you’ve been held back by performance anxiety, you’re most likely going to flounder a bit when you first begin. And that’s okay. It’s what learning is all about.

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If you think about it, failure is probably the worst thing that will happen when you set out to do the thing you cannot do (yet). And when we fail, we might experience embarrassment, disappointment, even shame. This is when many of us give up on our big goals. Who wants to voluntarily feel like dirt? No one. It’s wise to plan ahead on what you’ll do when the powerful urge to save yourself from your wretched state has nearly convinced you to quit.

It may be beneficial to have a support group in place before you set out on your goal. To return to the public speaking example, you might consider attending Toastmasters International to learn presentation skills and practice in a support environment. If you want to tackle addiction, look into Alcoholics Anonymous or similar group. Having allies can be particularly important for individuals who are battling conditions like addiction.

Aside from the fact that you have nothing to lose, think about all that you might gain. Odds are good that you’ll find you’re capable of more than you thought. You will definitely learn something, perhaps that you don’t even like public speaking. Or maybe you’ll discover that you love and excel at writing speeches.

Bottom line: Do that thing you cannot do! You’ll make mistakes, even fail, but you’ll probably meet a new friend or two along the way. There’s nothing to lose.

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

3. Get comfortable with discomfort

One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

4. See failure as a teacher

Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

5. Take baby steps

Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

6. Hang out with risk takers

There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

10. Focus on the fun

Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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