I was once told that we are like snakes wrapped around bamboo.
If we’re not going up, then we’re going down. This means if we’re not growing and pushing our boundaries, we are regressing. Nothing stays the same. That’s not what life is about. If you feel like nothing is really changing for you, then be wary. You’re regressing.
This can mean a lowered emotional state, relationships deteriorating, lack of promotion in your job. You may feel stuck, frustrated, or lost. The cure for this is to push the boundaries of your comfort zone. Do stuff that scares you.
I’m not talking about running out in front of traffic for a thrill. I’m talking about public speaking, trying new food, going somewhere you’ve never been before, trying a new form of exercise, or meditating. Whatever switches things up for you and makes you feel some resistance. This is living. And you’d be surprised how much your life changes when you start expanding your comfort zone.
What was the most uncomfortable thing you’ve ever done that turned out to be really good for you?
Mine has to do with public speaking. I hated being seen. I’m a strange Leo. I don’t want to be in the spotlight, I don’t want people paying attention to me. But I knew it was important for me to be seen if I wanted to make a difference in the world. So I did it. Terribly, but I did it. Now it’s not a big deal to me. I’ll get in front of cameras, in front of crowds, and speak about whatever. Usually on the fly. Practicing makes me super nervous! What’s your story? When has discomfort led to something wonderful?
Do you know a really good way to push your comfort zone? Go learn something that is the opposite of your beliefs. While you may not change your belief, it’s a great way to expand your horizons and try and understand why people are the way they are. Getting others' viewpoints can be eye-opening and expand your paradigm.
Wondering where to start? Flat Earth Society perhaps?
One of the most interesting conversations I’ve had was with a patient from Israel. We somehow got on the subject of profiling people. I was horrified that people would ever profile others. Growing up in Israel, he had a completely different opinion. He told me that over there it was necessary because you needed to be able to tell if someone was going to set off a suicide vest or a bomb. He told me they have city-wide alarms where you have to take cover because rockets are coming.
Living here in the US, I never thought about situations like that before. We all profile subconsciously. It’s a survival mechanism that the reptilian part of our brain can’t help but do. If I’m walking at night and one side of the road has a large dude on it and the other side has a woman, I’ll be crossing the street to avoid the man. That conversation happened about a decade ago and I still think about it today.
There is so much in this world I don’t understand. It’s so hard to classify something as right or wrong as the world isn’t black and white. Listen to others. Especially the people that challenge your beliefs. They might have something to say that expands your paradigm and gives you insight into how another part of this big ol’ world works.
One of the biggest things I’ve done to expand my comfort zone is take up shooting as a hobby.
My last name is Hunter, and rightfully so as I grew up with a dad who provided us food by hunting. I was around guns my entire life but as I grew older, I became less comfortable around them. For a while, I was super against gun ownership and thought it was insane to have one. Then I had my son. Before I had him, I just figured if someone tried to kill me, it was my time to go. I’m not joking. Then after I had my son, I realized that I would fight my hardest to stay alive and protect him.
I didn’t take it up until after I graduated from acupuncture school. A friend took me to the range. I was terrified, but I did alright. She had a pistol which I had never shot before. I had only shot a shotgun and bb guns as a kid. Then I started dating my now husband who is a Marine. Needless to say, with his instruction and practice I feel comfortable around this self-defense tool now.
Why am I sharing this? Especially when it’s such a hot-button topic? Because I think pushing your boundaries and expanding your comfort zone is so darn important. Does that mean everyone should love everything that scares them? Not at all. But to give something that makes you uncomfortable an honest try is only going to benefit you and your growth and development.
Perspective shifting proves to be the most helpful when we are faced with problems.
We have two choices
We look at the problem as a problem, and switch into victim mode of, “How am I ever going to deal with this?” “This sucks, why me?”
We can view it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Every problem has the potential to teach you a lesson if you let it. If you keep coming up against the same types of problems, there’s a good chance there is a lesson you haven’t learned yet. That’s why the problem keeps coming up. Because you keep doing the same things and apparently those things will cause you some trouble.
What’s a current problem in your life? How can you change your point of view so you can grow and learn a lesson from it?
Your biggest problems can lead to your biggest breakthroughs. Have you ever had a situation in life, where it feels like it keeps coming up, over and over again? Stop! There is a lesson you need to learn from it! And the more it comes around, the bigger the breakthrough you’ll have because of its theme. Themes are a part of the story you tell yourself.
When problems have their own themes, it’s character development. Just like in a movie or story you’d read for entertainment. What are common themes I see?
Trouble letting go of the past
Lack of happiness
These are all so common. Sound familiar? I’m sure at least one of them does. Have you overcome one of those common themes on the list? I bet your life changed significantly when you did. It led to more freedom, joy, acceptance, and even money. The sooner you can recognize a problem the sooner you can overcome it and level up. Here are the steps to recognize and work through a problem.
Look at what you consider your biggest problem right now. Is there a recurring theme to it? Where else has something similar shown up in your life?
When you’re in a problem, you are typically looking at the street view. Switch to satellite view, meaning, change your perspective.
Ask the question, “What do I need to learn from this?” And wait for your epiphany.
Solve the problem with your epiphany.
Learn the lesson and avoid doing the same behaviors that caused the issue.
I know it seems simple but most things in life are simple. We definitely overcomplicate things, and if we view the problem as a big one, we tend to complicate it even more. Try, the bigger the problem, the simpler the solution. Once you’ve learned the lesson, you’ll avoid the behaviors that were causing it and you’ve further developed your character. Problems will always pop up, that’s just the nature of existence. But viewing them as character development will make them feel less like a burden and make you more excited to find a solution.