Advertising
Advertising

Risk and Win! 10 Things to Nudge You Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Risk and Win! 10 Things to Nudge You Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Same ol’, same ol’…get up, go to work, get home, handle dinner and get ready to go to bed so you can get up and do the same thing again.

And yet some people don’t do that. They live exciting lives filled with new experiences and exciting things to look forward to. They jet off to different places and you never know what they might be doing next.

How did these people escape the daily grind? How did they get so lucky?

There is a secret…wanna hear it?

The secret is discomfort. That’s right discomfort and the tolerance thereof. Because the actual truth of the matter is that if you never step out of your comfortable routine, your life doesn’t change for the better.

Now I don’t recommend that you simply go out and make yourself uncomfortable simply to be uncomfortable. It is not the discomfort that makes one successful but the willingness to experience discomfort in the process of creating something altogether new.

Let’s call it “Focused Discomfort”; Discomfort as a byproduct of taking calculated risks and doing something amazing.

Now before you go out and immerse yourself in random discomfort, let’s take a look at certain focused discomforts that you should be revelling in:

Advertising

1) Commit yourself

That is some serious discomfort! It takes guts to really commit to a course of action. It takes a certain confidence that you will overcome any obstacle to completing the thing you set out to do. But if you don’t commit to anything, you drift along like an idle tide not really knowing what to do or where to go.

Success in life depends on commitment to many courses of action and the persistence to see them through. If you want to make it really exciting, brag about how great you are at whatever it is you have committed yourself to. I can guarantee some sleepless nights, but who knows what you might pull off!

2) Risk being rejected

I have another secret for you. If you reach out to someone with a genuine desire to be friendly and you are rebuffed, it has nothing to do with you unless you are really creepy, and I am doubting that you are.

If you have a sincere desire to make someone’s life better by interacting and they rebuff you, they are a pretty unhappy person. Ignore the rebuff and go reach out to someone else. There are a lot more people who will accept you than will rebuff you, and those who rebuff you aren’t worth losing sleep over.

3) Risk starting your own venture

Wow! When you think about it, you can start anything you want! You can start a choir, a movie group, an ice cream store, a bakery! The list is endless!

It is a big undertaking and there is risk, but risk is mitigated by knowledge. The more knowledge you have about the venture you are creating, the less risk there is.

Starting a new venture is always occasioned by some discomfort, but there are also highs that you can only experience by doing it. The creation of something new and wonderful is a huge high point in life. Don’t deny yourself, but do educate yourself before making a leap.

4) Risk going after your dreams

I am betting that there is at least one person out there making money doing what you dream of doing. If this is the case, then why aren’t YOU doing it? Is it because someone told you that it was not a “safe” profession, that it was not “stable” financially? Well, I have news. Nothing is safe and nothing is stable.  So you may as well do something you love.

Advertising

When you have a passion for something, you get really good at it. And if even one person is making money doing it, that means that other people are willing to pay for it. If people are willing to pay for it, you can make money doing it. You just have to figure out how. The best way to do that is to talk to those who have and do what they did.

One example of this is music. You hear music everywhere at all hours of the day or night and yet, if you wanted to leave your job and be a musician, you would likely hear that it is a poor choice and that you can’t make money doing it.

Well, someone is making money from it because it is everywhere. You can, too!

5) Close your ears to what people say

People say all kinds of useless junk. A lot of it makes so little sense that you wonder how anyone in their right mind can talk about of their rear ends like that.

Every single course of action you are going to take, if you told everyone you knew about it, would generate nays from naysayers no matter what it was.

The bottom line is that no one knows your capabilities, creativity and your drive more than you do. You know what you are doing. When naysayers pop up naying, nod your head and keep going. They shut up after they see that you are doing it.

My friend Sally Nutter and I started a radio show. We were amazed at the amount of negativity we received in the first few weeks, but, after we kept at it for a few months, everyone shut up. We now have tons of listeners and get new ones every week. If we gave up at the first sign of negativity, we would not be having the fun we are having right now and it is great fun!

6) Do things you cannot do

I don’t know about anyone else, but I work best under pressure.  I can do anything if I have committed to it. This includes learning something really fast so that I can do it. I have committed to stuff that I have never done before simply because I wanted to do it.

Advertising

Many years ago, I taught myself to play the cello. Weirdly and somewhat randomly, some people from the local symphony were walking by and heard me practicing. They asked me right then to play with the symphony for the next season.

I had played violin in orchestras, but never the cello. And I had only been sawing away on the cello for about four months.  “How hard can it be?” I thought. Well, after I printed out the music, I saw exactly how hard it was going to be. I freaked out but then I spent many hours a day working on it and listening to different versions of it over and over again until I knew the music by heart.

Now that was really hard and I will not lightly commit to that again (Or maybe I will!) but guess what? I now play the cello in the symphony. If I had not been such a dork and accepted, I might still be practicing to someday join the symphony.

7) Try learning something completely new

Oh yeah! and then there was the time I took up snowboarding at an advanced age. I had been watching these kids whipping up and down the slopes on their snowboards and I really wanted to do it, too. I spent the whole morning falling, getting up and mostly rolling around like a turtle on its back. Later that day I took a snowboarding class and honestly I don’t think I got any better.

I made it through the day and was completely exhausted. Later that evening I have never been so sore in all my life. After that experience I decided that snowboarding was not going to be one of my new passions. I could have learned it and gotten good at it but honestly I didn’t really care to.

At least now I know that this is not something I love and can put my attention on something else.

8) Lose your heart

I have done this many times. I lose my heart to my students and immediately to people I meet. Most of all I lose my heart when I go visit the animal shelter. I never fail to come home with a new little dog in my arms. I have three now and I love them all.

We are put here on this earth to love each other and to lose our hearts to each other. If we have lost that ability, it just means that we have been hurt a lot. But oddly, losing your heart is the thing that heals you.

Advertising

Don’t hold back your affinity. The world needs it and you will be amazed at how rich life is when you love with everything you have.

9) Eat something unusual

I have one rule with regard to food items or those things disguised as food items.

RULE ONE: I never eat anything that I would not willingly step on in my bare feet.

Beyond that everything is fair game! This little rule gets me out of the awkward, “Oh here we are in France, we must try snails!” moment.

Just because someone, at some particularly low period in history ate something strange and then dipped it in garlic butter and called it a delicacy, does not mean that I have to eat it when I am there.

The bottom of my shoe tastes great when dipped in garlic butter, as does a paper towel or anything that has the capacity to soak up garlic butter. Give me some bread. I will happily step on that in bare feet unless it is toasted and carved into a particularly pointy shape. Even then I can do it carefully. Snails? Nope, not even a little bit!

10) Quit thinking up junk to worry about!

I know, we feel better when we worry! at least we know we are alert to possible dangers; but how would it feel to stop worrying just for a moment? Dare we try it? Go ahead, tell yourself it’s all good. I think you could get used to it.

My dad was an engineer, a PHD in fluid dynamics, which is the science of seeing how air flows over airplane wings. He designed aircraft. I flew with him once and he was a nervous wreck. He was convinced that it was only his white knuckles pulling upward on the arm rests that was keeping the plane in the air.

Our worry is not what keeps bad things from happening. It only keeps happiness from happening. Little by little we should just let go. I will if you will! Close your eyes and do it!

Good Luck!

More by this author

Chris Ellis

Successful Author, Life Coach and Musician

Living in Fear? 14 Ways to Live Life Free of Fear and Full of Hope The Little Prince Quotes That Will Inspire You: Wit and Wisdom Explained Mastering Onstage Anxiety Can You Beat Onstage Anxiety? Travel is the Wise Man's Addiction 15 Reasons Traveling Is the Wise Man’s Addiction Be Lucky! 15 Ways to Create Your Own Luck

Trending in Communication

1 Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional? 2 12 Powerful Habits of a Lifelong Learner 3 8 Proven Ways to Learn a New Language Fast 4 5 Best Language Learning Apps to Master a New Language 5 9 Reasons Why Motivation Matters in Leadership

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on November 11, 2019

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

You know how this looks:

  • Parents constantly comparing children.
  • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Adultery…
  • And many others.

For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

How to fix a dysfunctional family

In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

Dysfunctional… Or just average?

Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of interest and time spent together
  • Sexism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Lack of empathy
  • Unequal or unfair treatment
  • Disrespect towards boundaries
  • Control Issues
  • Jealousy
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

How to turn it around

When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

Advertising

As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

Correction is possible

In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

Verbalize it.

All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

Putting it to work in real life

In real life it would be something like this:

“OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

Or:

“Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

Or:

“Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

This is what you have to remember:

1-Stop.

2-Why it’s wrong?

3-What you need.

And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

It’s a family thing

A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

In other words, you will need cooperation…

So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

Advertising

We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

It’s not a free-for-all battle

In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

The method

1. Drop the ego

Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

2. Not blame, but responsibility

When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

You will do something like this:

“Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

Advertising

It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

What happened here?

We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

3. Doing the work

What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

“When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

Love is all you need

You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

And what happens if it simply is not there?

What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

There is only one thing you can do:

To break away.

Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

“We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

Advertising

Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

Putting distance

So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

What do I mean?

Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

I choose my peace of mind.

And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

How to prevent it

There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

  • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
  • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

Priorities and clear thought

You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

Read Next