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Last Updated on January 19, 2021

Life Is About How To Be Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

Life Is About How To Be Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone. Change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” -Roy T. Bennett

Ever wonder why some people seem to glide effortlessly through life, handling problems as if they were riding waves on a surfboard? They always appear cool, calm and collected during those intense stressful moments, like college finals or business meetings, while you and everyone else break into a sweat. You wonder if they possess some secret elixir of awesomeness or 24-hour access to a personal self-confidence life coach. Chances are, they do have the formula for success, and some of them may not even realize it. It doesn’t come in powders or pills; it comes through pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone with regular, intense exercise.

Rethinking Your Comfort Zone

Comfort zones are cozy places defined by the familiar things with which you fill your daily lives with.  They are the stuff you don’t question and go through the motions of doing. They are predictable. Unchallenging. Comforting. Like meatloaf and mashed potatoes. And like eating meatloaf every single day, staying within your comfort zone all the time can be bad for your health.

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Athletes who physically push themselves, whether they are training for a marathon or a long distance swim, break through the barriers of that comfort zone, holding on until they reach their goal: that 5-mile run, that 5th lap, the top of the climbing wall. They achieve their athletic goal, but something else happens in the process: they are rewiring their brain to accept physical discomfort.

Society today is geared towards removing obstacles from your life. Remote controls change the television channels from afar, room temperatures are altered with the flick of a button, cars start themselves without you turning a key (some even drive themselves). In the process, you are losing touch with yourself and when faced with a difficult task, it can appear more daunting and stressful than it actually is because you’ve been weaned off of dealing with obstacles.

While interviewing top professional adventure and endurance athletes, Brad Shulberg of Outside Magazine noted in his article[1] that despite their different life choices, from mountain climbing to long distance swimming, these highly successful athletes physically pushed themselves to their limits to reach their final goals—completing the race, reaching the summit. And they had one thing in common: they taught themselves to embrace life outside their comfort zones. They became comfortable with being uncomfortable.

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Change your game, change your brain

If you have ever attained a physical goal like a 10-mile mountain hike, a 3-mile run, or whitewater rafting Class V rapids, a curious thing occurs. When you reach the end, you feel exhausted yet elated. You feel hot and sweaty. Your muscles are aching, maybe even screaming, and your body is shaking. Your heart is pounding. But you feel happy. You came, you saw, you conquered! Yes, it was difficult. Maybe even terrifying. That last part you pushed yourself through, just to reach the end, like Indiana Jones stretching out to grab the golden idol before the temple collapses.

Afterward, you may have high-fived your fellow rafters and chugged a quart of water, feeling like the king of the mountain. It was hard and you survived. Somehow facing the boss on Monday morning doesn’t feel so daunting. And that kid who got your sandwich order mixed up at lunch? You laugh it off. Your perspective on life has altered. Your brain has changed.

Psychotherapist and Counselor, Angela Percival explains[2] that the human brain continuously labels and uploads information. It constantly compares any new information it receives to its “library” of collected data, so when you are faced with something outside of your comfort zone like those finals or the dreaded meeting with the boss, it has nothing with which to compare it, and you get that uncomfortable, queasy feeling—your fear of the unknown.

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Percival goes on to say “the more uncomfortable and new experiences you go through, the more your brain realizes that you will be okay, because you did the unknown before and you survived,” so by all brain-logic, you will survive this too. As a result, you feel less stressed and more confident when venturing outside your comfort zone because you have made that place your new norm.

How to get comfortable with being uncomfortable

The more you wade outside of your comfort zone, the easier it becomes. Partaking in regular exercise to reach an athletic goal—whether it’s training for a marathon or building up the stamina to hike the Appalachian Trail, will improve a plethora of areas throughout your life.

Make a goal and write it down. Set up an action plan to work towards that goal. Use the baby-step process if you are a beginner; in other words, if you want to run a marathon and you don’t jog, start by walking. Download a health and fitness app on your phone to track your progress. Join a gym. Consider hiring a professional trainer. Enlist friends and family to help. And always consult your physician before partaking in any rigorous exercise.

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When you do something on a regular basis, it becomes a habit. If you exercise regularly with a set goal in your mind, you will push yourself towards that goal and it will become easier to feel comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Reference

[1] Science of Us: How Exercise Shapes You
[2] Counselling-Directory.Org: Fear of the Unknown and How The Mind Works

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Sally White

writer, artist & blogger

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Last Updated on January 25, 2021

22 Hardest But Most Important Things You Must Do To Achieve Success

22 Hardest But Most Important Things You Must Do To Achieve Success

How many successful people do you personally know in the world? Most people can’t list more than a handful. Why is achieving success so hard and what is it that sets the successful apart from the less successful?

If you study the biographies of successful people, you will find that it is not where they came from or started out that influenced their success, but rather their habits and ways of thinking. Success has a lot to do with doing what you probably don’t want to do now, so that later on you can do what you really do want to.

If you only do the easy things in life, life will be hard, but if you do the hard things in life, life will be easy. Here are 22 of the hardest, but most important things you must do to achieve success and reach all your goals.

1. Taking big risks

“Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” – Frederick Wilcox

Taking risks is scary for almost everybody, but you don’t reach success by playing it safe. You have to go after what you want; it isn’t going to miraculously appear on a silver plate in front of you. The bigger the risk, often the bigger the success!

2. Trusting your gut and following your intuition

“I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics.” – Sir Richard Branson

Don’t always overthink everything and try to be as logical as possible, sometimes your intuition is far more accurate in making the best decision for you, according to most successful people. It isn’t easy to do when all logic is telling you otherwise, but learning to trust your gut feeling more could be the best thing you do; it somehow already knows what you already want.

3. Fighting your fears 

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” – Bill Cosby

If you want to succeed, you have to learn how to overcome your fears and deal with them so they don’t undermine your success. If you don’t master your fears, they will certainly master you and rob you of success.

4. Setting and sticking to goals

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

Most people don’t set and stick to goals because it takes discipline and that extra effort. Did you know that the majority of the most successful people in this world regularly set goals? Goals are your roadmap to success. Don’t overlook this important success habit.

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5. Taking responsibility for your results

“Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.” – Les Brown

You cannot be a victim and blame others for the results you have in your life. You create the results you want, you can’t expect somebody else to achieve your goals and get you what you want. If you want success, you have to take responsibility for you achieving it or not, you can’t blame others.

6. Waking up early

“Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.” – Richard Whately

This is on top of most people’s list, it is often just so hard! It is true though, that by waking up just one hour earlier every day, you’ll have an extra five hours a week to work on achieving your goal. Statistics don’t lie and most successful people don’t sleep in, they rise early.

7. Getting up after getting knocked down

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi

You don’t have control over what happens to you, but you do have control over how you deal with it. To be successful, you have to keep going when you feel like giving up. You can’t give up on your goal because one thing didn’t work out, that is like slashing your other three tires when one goes flat.

8. Stop procrastinating

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” – Pablo Picasso

Procrastinating can seriously sabotage your chances of success. You lose opportunities, money, damage your reputation and confidence. Deal with your procrastination if you know it is holding you back, don’t let procrastination steal your dreams and success, it happens too often to too many people.

9. Putting results before comfort

“The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work.” – Vince Lombardi

You need to work harder if you want more success in life: the extent of your efforts is the extent of your rewards. It’s not about working long hours and getting as much done as possible, it is about working smarter. At the beginning you need to put in that little bit extra and work harder to give you that boost you need starting off. What you put in, you will get out.

10. Getting it going

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt

It is easy to come up with a million reasons why you should put off taking ‘certain’ actions that you should be taking. How often do you say, “The time isn’t right,” or “I’m not ready”? You just have to get it going, it doesn’t have to be right or perfect, but you need to keep taking continuous steps closer towards your goal. There is always something you can do to take you closer to your goal.

11. Dealing with change

“Change is vital; improvement is the logical form of change.” – James Cash Penny 

It is hard to change and accept it at times, but it is necessary to reach certain goals and be more successful. Strive to embrace change and find ways to adapt to it easier. You need change if you want more success, otherwise, you would be successful now. Don’t resist it, welcome it!

12. Avoiding mindless gossip

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

You and your success are largely influenced by your environment and your circle of friends. The conversations you have with them are the seeds of thoughts, and you want successful thoughts. Talk about ideas and have inspiring conversations and don’t resort to mindless conversations with nothing positive to them that only pollute your mind.

13. Reaching out to others

“The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being.” – Pearl S. Buck

Nobody becomes successful alone, it is not possible. Reach out to others and build relationships on the way. Ask others for guidance when you need help and help others too. It isn’t easy to find and build strong relationships, it takes effort and commitment, but they are super important for success.

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14. Not worrying about what other people think

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

It is hard to not let other people’s comments and opinions get you down at times, you are human after all. However, it clearly doesn’t help you when it comes to reaching your goals; with no confidence it becomes twice as challenging. It is up to you whether you will allow others to make you feel less, it is your choice. Simply smile at the people who doubt and put you down and keep moving forward.You can’t strive to have everybody like you in this world.

15. Doing what you truly love

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” – Steve Jobs

One of the biggest keys to success is to love what you do. You already have the motivation, inspiration and commitment to support you from the outset and along the way. It is challenging to actually do what you love in life and make a great living from it at the same time, but don’t put limits on your life. You decide what is possible in your life; get creative and find ways to make it work if that is what you really want.

16. Planning effectively

“Nobody ever wrote down a plan to be broke, fat, lazy, or stupid. Those things are what happen when you don’t have a plan.” – Larry Winget

You need to have a plan and you need to plan effectively as well. If you don’t plan, how do you know where you are going? You need to set goals, plan how you will reach them and execute your plan. Learning to plan effectively is important as well, it is easy to undermine your efforts with bad planning and therefore undermine your chances of success.

17. Staying enthusiastic

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Staying enthusiastic when things don’t look good is much easier said than done. In the face of adversity, keeping that spirit of enthusiasm will give you the strength you need to keep going. What you focus on expands, so don’t focus on what isn’t working, put your focus on what you can do to make it work and be enthusiastic about the next possibility.

18. Finding the courage to follow your dreams

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

You need to look fear straight in the eye and move past it. You can reach all your goals and have all the success, if you have the courage to take all the action required with a courageous mindset to back it up. Have the courage to follow your dreams and don’t give up until you reach them.

19. Taking on all challenges

“To be successful you must accept all challenges that come your way. You can’t just accept the ones you like.” – Mike Gafka

You attract the exact challenges that you need to overcome in order to reach your goals and be successful. You can’t pick and choose which ones you get to have, you have to take them all on. They are there to support you in growth and in reaching your goals, they are all equally important to your success.

20. Always taking continuous action

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso

When you go to gym, you have to go regularly to really see new results and the same goes for success. You have to take a lot of regular and continuous action if you want to have more than ordinary results. Dreaming, willing and planning alone will not get you there, continuous action will.

21. Always believe in yourself

“Belief in oneself is one of the most important bricks in building any successful venture.” – Lydia M. Child

If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect somebody else to either. You have to be your own cheerleader and toot your own horn. Having confidence in yourself is what makes you successful. Don’t doubt yourself, believe in yourself and you will succeed.

22. Going that extra mile

“Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” – Jim Rohn

The only difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little bit more effort you put in. It is hard and takes much more energy, but how badly do you want success?

 

Success is possible if you are willing to do the things you need to do to get you where you want to be. Don’t give up on your goals and dreams of success; know that they are truly possible if you really want them to be. We all have the same chances of success, whether we take those chances when they come is our first choice.

Featured photo credit: Darya Tryfanava via unsplash.com

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