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Want To Make Quick Progress In Life? You Should Feel Uncomfortable At Least 10 Times A Day

Want To Make Quick Progress In Life? You Should Feel Uncomfortable At Least 10 Times A Day
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“You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” ~Brian Tracy

You’re in a meeting with your colleagues and senior executives. The senior staff is brainstorming ways to streamline processes and become more efficient. The PERFECT solution hits you with such force and clarity you have to fight to maintain your composure. This is your moment. You will be the company hero. Your colleagues will idolize and adore you. You will get a raise, promotion, and the coveted corner office with that fantastic view. And that cute redhead you’ve been dying to ask out will not only notice you, but will be the one to ask YOU out.

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Then comes the big moment. The company Vice President completes her spiel and then asks, “Does anyone have any suggestions?” And you freeze. You’ve never spoken in a meeting before. What if your suggestion is really not genius but utter stupidity? You miss your opportunity and to add insult to injury, Bob from the mail room chimes in with your exact suggestion. He becomes the hero, gets the promotion and the girl.

Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable

Being uncomfortable is something you have to learn to embrace. Putting yourself in new and unfamiliar situations stimulates the part of the brain[1] that releases dopamine, nature’s happy drug.

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The most significant catalyst in the growth process is embedded in discomfort. Challenging your capabilities[2] is what expands them. Most of us back away from things that make us feel uncomfortable—it’s natural. We shy away from the unfamiliar, but then later kick ourselves over missed opportunities. Comfortability brings complacency. It inhibits your ability to grow, your thinking, and your creativity.[3]

The familiar and routine make you feel at ease and provides a sense of control; however, rigid consistency and the refusal to steer away from a routine can dull your senses. Think about your normal drive into work or school. You drive the same route repeatedly. Eventually, the turns become automatic and you start tuning out most of the drive. You become oblivious to the scenery or the subtle changes that have occurred along the way. You arrive at your destination and barely remember the drive. So the underlying message here is, when you don’t get out of your comfort zone, you will tune out and miss so much in your daily life.

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Step out of your comfort zone at least 10 times per day

The key here is to be intentional. Look for opportunities to put yourself out there a bit. Speak up in a meeting, have lunch alone, strike up a conversation with the stranger in the elevator, take a different route home. Do something different. The benefits are immeasurable. By intentionally working to put yourself in an uncomfortable situation your world becomes bigger and possibilities become endless.

When you identify and decide to try something that makes you feel a bit anxious follow these steps:

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  1. Start: The first step is always the hardest. Go for it and see what happens.
  2. Don’t Quit: You will feel awkward. That is natural and it is how you are supposed to feel. So you feel a little foolish, just go with it.
  3. Laugh at yourself: It’s a new experience, you are going to make a mistake. Expect it, embrace it, and laugh about it.
  4. Surround yourself with cheerleaders: The company you keep is so important. Surround yourself with measured risk takers who encourage you to try new things and cheer for you when you do.

Being uncomfortable is just that—it’s uncomfortable. It is scary and involves risk. You may look silly, and you may even fail, but you’ve learned something and have experienced the unknown.

Feeling uncomfortable? That’s proof you’re doing it right.

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Reference

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Denise Hill

Denise shares about psychology and communication tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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