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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on September 16, 2020

3 Simple Signs of a Strong and Healthy Relationship

3 Simple Signs of a Strong and Healthy Relationship

In helping many people solve their relationship woes, I am often asked for the signs of a good relationship.

Well, what’s fascinating about relationships is the dynamics of two individuals coming together and staying together amid an array of perceptions and misperceptions.

Our relationships are not only influenced by our current actions but also by our past relationships and the life experiences that we bring forward into the current relationship. How we deal with misperceptions and misunderstandings determines the strength and health of our relationship and the level of happiness we are able to experience.

Much of the subconscious programming that takes place throughout our life causes us to sabotage our happiness by preventing us from engaging effectively, especially when we become emotionally triggered.

These mostly unconscious “scripts,” which we tend to run on autopilot, include our thoughts, words, and actions that result from these. Some may even refer to them as “baggage.” While we can rewrite these scripts and stop them from contaminating our relationships, we only become aware of them when we are in an emotionally empowered state.

So, what are the signs of a good relationship?

It boils down to these four essential requirements:

  • Emotional empowerment
  • Aligned attraction
  • Sexual functioning
  • You and your partner

While we can take it upon ourselves to develop as an individual, a strong and healthy relationship results from both personal growth and teamwork with our partner in order to resolve any problems.

Let’s take a look at how we can do this.

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1. Emotional Empowerment

A clear sign of a good relationship is that both partners stay focused on what they want to create and how they want to feel. It can be too easy to blame our partner when we’re not feeling good about ourselves or somewhat overwhelmed with the curveballs that life seems to throw at us continually.

You may have heard of the saying, “Making mountains out of molehills.” When we’re not in charge of our emotional state, that’s precisely what we do!

Someone also said, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” Our words and the emotional power behind them are either being constructive or destructive in our relationships.

By trying to override your emotions and dredging up past situations, you may blow a current situation entirely out of context, keep retriggering yourself and your partner, and prevent essential issues from being resolved. Aside from that, it makes you feel disconnected.

As a reminder, allowing yourself to indulge in petty annoyances and sarcastic comments will likely drive a wedge between you and your partner. So, is that worth your attention?

When we focus on what we don’t want, we continually default to the old subconscious programming cultivated from our life experiences. These “scripts” can become self-destructive when expressed through negative rumination and self-talk or critical observations of our partner, rather than being the fun, uplifting, and naturally motivating partner that they fell in love with.

Many couples start competing against each other when they are emotionally triggered instead of supporting each other to create the best outcome. While we can quickly become obsessed with being right (or not being wrong), it’s essential to stay present, focus on how we want to feel, and align our words and actions toward that outcome.

Couples who enjoy a strong and healthy relationship consciously monitor their emotional states and can therefore influence the impact of their verbal and non-verbal communication in a positive manner. This offers a long-term benefit of enhancing their overall desire to be together and connect on more intimate levels.[1]

2. Attraction in Alignment

Known as the love and bonding hormone, oxytocin doesn’t just play an important role in intimacy. In truth, it’s also vital for increasing trust and attraction between two people. Synthesized in the human brain when you trust someone, the oxytocin molecule also motivates reciprocation.

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We’re living in an age where an individual’s independence is ruling the day, and the social codes of chivalry have become sadly redundant. However, it’s never a good time to become complacent in how we interact with each other and in respecting the environment we share.

According to Paul Zak, a neuroscientist and researcher at Claremont Graduate University, oxytocin is generated in the brain only after some concrete event or action, such as someone making way for you in the street.[2]

“When someone does something nice for you such as holding a door, your brain releases oxytocin, and it down-regulates the appropriate fear you have of interacting with strangers.” — Paul Zak

Suddenly, you feel like the person in front of you is not a threat. Then, according to Zak, this feeling disappears quickly for a good reason,

“If you just had high levels of oxytocin, you would be giving away resources to every stranger on the street. So, this is a quick on/off system.”

This has important implications for those in a relationship. Zak says:

“If you treat me well, in most cases my brain will synthesize oxytocin and this will motivate me to treat you well in return.”

In a relationship, our actions and behaviors are either attracting or repelling our partner. This is especially true when we have conflicting values. Common conflicting values include personal hygiene, health and fitness, and general tidiness.

It’s important to know and respect what’s important to our partner. After all, one of the real signs of a good relationship is having the desire to continually step up and live your “A” game.[3] When our partner takes the time to communicate something important to them, we need to acknowledge that it’s essential to keep a relationship long-term.

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While we like to think that our partner will be attracted to us no matter what, this is not realistic at all. “A” is for attraction, and we need to keep attracting our partner instead of being lazy and pretending we can get away with unappealing or inappropriate behaviors.

Any unresolved issue can build up resentment and undermine the quality of a relationship. However, the thought of approaching a challenging topic can increase stress and anxiety to the point where it is nearly impossible to clearly communicate the problem without it sounding like an accusation or blame.

Due to the fear of retriggering our partner by bringing up the same topic repeatedly, we often delay dealing with the issues that are of utmost importance to us. Over time, it can result in frustration, annoyance, and disconnection. We are sentient beings, so this type of emotional resistance can often be felt by the other person.

Furthermore, we usually communicate a part of a request out loud and then complete the reasoning behind it internally. Unfortunately, our partner doesn’t hear this internal monologue, so they have no idea about the extent or importance of our need. Therefore, many problems aren’t fully discussed, and the main issue remains unresolved.

“Prolonged stress and anxiety are like poison to oxytocin,” Paul Zak said. The underlying biological hypothesis is that stress — particularly the type that does not have a clear ending point — inhibits oxytocin release.

In a healthy relationship, both partners can retain the desire to step up and continue to attract each other through verbal and non-verbal communication. Try remembering the following:

  • Every person has their own preference for how things are done, so effective communication requires actively listening as well as clearly communicating your needs.
  • Before talking about an important matter, make sure you have your partner’s full attention. Then, try to keep your words focused in the here and now.
  • Instead of rehashing a similar experience from your past for context and risking triggering each other emotionally, get to the point and explain what you want at once. If you feel uncomfortable doing that, try starting a request with “I like it when…” or “It makes me feel…” You may also ask, “How can we work together to create a win-win situation?”
  • If something is important enough for your partner to mention out loud, then you must respect, consider, and adhere to it whenever possible. For example, if a partner is brave enough to open up about their need for sexual intimacy to feel more connected, it may be an issue that needs to be addressed in your relationship.

According to psychiatrist and Emory University professor Larry Young, increased intimacy can strengthen your connection as a couple, especially when you combine it with other rewarding experiences that get your brain’s reward system going.[4]

Verbally appreciate your partner’s effort in supporting your needs and make sure to retain your individuality and interests outside the relationship to keep your mutual attraction.

3. Sexual Function

Sex is the one thing that differentiates a strong, healthy relationship from a platonic friendship. Sexual intimacy is one of the most important signs of a good relationship and has often been described as the glue that holds a relationship together.

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Sexual intimacy allows two people who seek the ultimate connection with each other to come together. However, intimacy problems can lead to separation, loneliness, and disconnection — feelings that can eventually tear a relationship apart.

Unfulfilling sex leads to an increase in stress hormones which results in a lowered libido as sexual intimacy becomes a souce of discomfort on all levels. A common cause of a low libido is, for example, sexual function issues such as early ejaculation and erectile dysfunction challenges in men; and orgasmic dysfunction for women.[5] An unwanted sexual technique such as hard and fast or constant changes of position can also be off-putting.

While work stress, children rearing, and communication issues can all lower your libido and affect your overall desire for sex, a sexless marriage or relationship is not favorable for the vast majority of couples long-term.

One of the most important things for women in a relationship is to experience a sense of connection or feel loved and close to their partner. But this is where things can become tricky pretty quickly, considering women naturally have much higher levels of the bonding hormone oxytocin than men. For men, higher levels of oxytocin are generated through intimate connections.

What is the takeaway here, you may ask? Our hormones influence our behaviors, and oxytocin is said to be responsible for allowing us to experience love. In reality, studies have also shown that oxytocin can even work as the brain’s “moral molecule.” The more intimate moments we have, the more our bodies release the said hormone.

This is especially important for a male to feel more connected and attentive toward his partner. Research indicates that a man who is often sexually intimate with his beloved can produce increased levels of oxytocin.[6] In turn, it boosts his desire to hold and connect with his partner and stimulate positive social interaction.

A positive sign of a strong and healthy relationship is both partners’ desire to be intimate with each other. If either of the partners has little or no desire for initiating intimacy, then they need to address the issues mentioned in this article to restore intimacy in order to enjoy a truly fulfilling partnership.

Final Thoughts

The most important sign of being in a strong and healthy relationship is that you feel happy within yourself and in your connections.

While it’s not always possible to stay happy and connected with someone, ensuring that you are emotionally aligned with yourself and aware of your partner’s needs will go a long way to guarantee the health and longevity of your relationship.

After all, compelling narratives also cause oxytocin release and can affect your attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

More on Maintaining a Healthy Relationship

Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

Reference

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