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4 Ways to Leave your Comfort Zone and Achieve the Impossible

4 Ways to Leave your Comfort Zone and Achieve the Impossible

Have you ever wondered how some people achieve the greatest heights of success while others remain trapped in mediocrity through their entire lives? Why is it that only some get to taste the highest levels of success while the others, despite their consistent efforts do not? All these people, whom you call as achievers have one thing in common, they never settled for anything less than best, whether it meant for them to leave the comforts and the good life. If you want to achieve the impossible, it is essential first to lose the love for comfort.

Why the comfort zone is bad for you

For most of the people, their ultimate goal is to lead a comfortable life. All their hard work and efforts are directed towards achieving a comfortable and easy lifestyle. Their goal is to earn enough money so as not to have to worry about the different needs of life and rightly so. Until you have the bare necessities of life there will be less focus on fulfilling bigger things. However, if you view your life in the hindsight it would be easy to realize that the biggest accomplishments came when you were completely out of your comfort zone. The parts of the life when you decided that enough is enough, and decided to leave all the comforts behind were the parts where you actually grew, either in your career or personal life.

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Comfort is the enemy of growth. As soon as you start sliding in the comfort zone, you become averse to risks and get satisfied with the status quo. This makes you blind to many outstanding opportunities which then go to some other person who makes the most of them. Sure, you might be doing well for yourself right now, but if you get comfortable with ‘good enough’, chances are you will never rise beyond and become great.

People who become comfortable with their surroundings let go of opportunities to explore the unknown. For instance, an employee who has adapted to a particular company’s work culture, made some good friends there and is satisfied with what he is paid will rarely think twice before letting go of a chance to sit for an interview with another company. The reasons are simple enough, he or she will find it uncomfortable to adjust in a new environment, make new friends and work under a new boss. All these things will make him anxious, and anxiety is not a pleasant feeling. That employee will always crib about how slow his career growth is but won’t accept that it’s his love for the comfort zone, which is preventing him from taking things to the next level. Sure, there is risk involved, but how often in your life have you accomplished something substantial without taking any real risk? Chances are; not very often.

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Failure is a discomforting thought but that’s actually the trigger of success. Until you do not risk failing, you will not put the efforts to face the unexpected. Although no one wants to remain anxious perennially, but we often need a little bit of anxiety to push us and improve our performance.

How to get out of the comfort zone?

The only thing that holds you back from achieving the impossible is your own affinity towards comfort. You need to step out and break the convention. There are a number of ways you can step outside your comfort zone and grow beyond the self-created boundaries.

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1. Review and revise your daily routine

The first thing that you need to change is your daily routine which was made to suit your current lifestyle. Until or unless you make changes to this routine, it will not be easy to push yourself to step out of the realm of comfort. Initially, it need not be a very big change, as even subtle differences can be enough to initiate a shift in your perspective. When these small changes become a habit, you can easily push for the bigger goals.

2. Take baby steps towards your goal

Maybe you are tired of your bully boss and want to get a new job somewhere else but are too lazy to try. Maybe the thought of a new environment, new colleagues and a new boss makes you anxious. However, if you really want to achieve your goal you need to start with small steps towards achieving it. It could be either reaching out to people in your professional networks, getting acquainted with them on various public forums, upgrading your work related skills or enhancing your ability to communicate effectively. All these are small steps towards achieving the required confidence to face any situation, any boss or any colleague at your new workplace.

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3. Do not be afraid of failures

Whatever be the outcome, look forward to it. Our biggest enemy is the fear of failure which keeps us from crossing the self-created boundaries. However, if you want to achieve something you should go for it regardless of the result. Getting out of the comfort zone was never about succeeding the very first time, it was more about getting rid of your fear of failure, and allowing yourself to grow, no matter what the initial outcome may be.

4. Try new things, Meet new people

Doing new things opens up mind to new perspectives and ways of thinking which we might not have considered earlier. Similarly, meeting new people it broadens our horizon and introduces us to new methods of achieving the same thing. Sometimes, it’s not what we do, but how we do it that makes the whole difference. Listening to stories of other people will certainly reduce the anxiety associated with exploring the unknown and provide the required inspiration.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Saurabh Tyagi

Career Author and Technology Evangelist

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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