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Flee From Your Comfort Zone

Buzzle Staff Mar 12, 2020
If you're tired of your life, you're in need of a rut-buster. Purposely doing things that make you uncomfortable teaches you more about yourself than any self-help book. Find out what you're made of, test your boundaries, and trade existence for life.

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There's a reason why we tend to fall into routine. It's safe, we know we can handle it, and we're pretty sure we won't screw it up. We as humans are hardwired to take the straight, sure path and avoid potential accidents, because it ensures our survival. But now that we're not hunter-gatherers anymore, survival just isn't enough.

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When was the last time you had an adventure? When was the last time you felt an adrenaline rush that had nothing to do with running late? Or do you spend every day doing the same things, in the same order, at the same times, working from the minute you get up to the minute you go to bed, still feeling like you missed out on something?
The secret to climbing out of your rut is to step outside your comfort zone. Force yourself to fake it 'til you make it. Don't worry about whether you can handle it, just force yourself to handle it. You'll feel more alive than ever, and you'll learn plenty about yourself.

Start With Small Things

On your commute home, turn left instead of right.
Take a different route on your run tomorrow morning. Walk into a store you normally just walk by. Say hello to someone new. These small steps can land you in some of the most interesting places. Try exploring an adjacent town, or explore your own town the way a tourist might. Same place, new thinking, new perspective.

Learn Something

Pick an activity you know absolutely nothing about, and learn it.

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Don't be afraid of looking stupid - you don't look stupid, you look curious, and curiosity is a sign of intelligence. Never stop learning new things. Continued stimulation is one of the best ways to keep the brain young no matter how old the body is.

Do Something You Never Thought You Would Do

Write a book. Collect coins. Take up synchronized swimming.
Think of something that has always seemed "not you", and try it. Not something you avoid for moral or legal reasons, just something you've always assumed wouldn't appeal to you. You might surprise yourself. Read your son's comic books. Listen to your daughter's playlist.

Face Your Fears

Afraid of spiders? Walk into a pet store and ask to hold the tarantula.
Terrified of heights? Take an elevator to the top of a skyscraper and press your nose against the window. Coax yourself the way you would coax a kitten out of hiding - there is nothing to be afraid of here, just do it. Afraid of public speaking? Join Toastmasters. Afraid to fly? Schedule your dream trip to New Zealand.

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Face Obstacles

Too often, we plan our lives around avoiding obstacles. Instead of avoiding them, face them head-on. Bust through them. Pole vault over them.
Want your Master's degree but don't know how to find the money or time? Sit down and figure it out. Stop putting things off for 'when we have more money' or 'when we're settled'. That's not to say you should rush into any major decisions without a plan, but start the planning now. Tell yourself what you want, then figure out what you have to do to get it.

Accept Help

Whether we admit it or not, many of us are afraid to accept help. We don't want to look weak, we don't want to be needy, we don't want to be anybody's burden.
But learning to lean on others can help you achieve what you want to achieve. Let your mom watch the kids while you go back to school. Let your friend come with you to hold that spider. Bring your teenager with you to hold your hand at the top of that skyscraper. There is no shame in accepting or asking for help.

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It can be very scary indeed to step outside the comfort zone, but it is the only way to break out of a rut. You'll find a renewed sense of confidence and even some new interests. More importantly, you'll learn that fear is just you holding yourself back. Be fearless instead, and reach your true potential.