Crush Your Comfort Zone
Your comfort zone really is your place of doom. If you stay in it for too long, you will loose your soul and the drive to go out into the world and make an effect. Tick tock, prince. Tick. Tock.
The secret to crushing your comfort zone, with reference to my personal experience, is to go after necessary pain. Not all pain is necessary, as Frank Underwood from the hit TV Series House of Cards suggests in the pilot episode. By being clever and cautiuous, you can avoid unnecessary pain. But the necessary pain — you have to actively seek out and attract it into your life. This may be the most retarded-sounding advice I’ll ever give. If you desire pain, it ceases to become a demon in your head.
When you keep experiencing necessary pain consciously and by choice, there are a couple of things that happen.
- Your weaker-self that is afraid of pain fades away slowly. You no longer cringe at the sight of hardwork. You will not run away from discomfort. Instead, you will tilt the table and be on top of the game. You go from being the prey to being the predator. There is nothing more inspiring than someone who decides to chase the fear rather than being chased by it.
- As you keep experiencing pain, your brain gets accustomed to the feeling of it and discomfort/struggle will become more familiar and part of your daily life. So, your neural network gets trained on those emotions and triggers and the next time you face something hard, your natural reaction won’t be too repulsive. In short, you will be more accepting of the discomfort.
Let me share with you how I practise this in my life.
- Cold Showers — I don’t repair my geyser(water heater). I bathe with cold fricking water almost every day after exercise. And I don’t call the repair-guy on purpose. Because I need that cold water. Everytime I pour it and my skin screams with pain, I tell myself that it is necessary. It hurts but I keep going. I don’t have a choice. After so many months doing this, I’ve grown a bit indifferent to the pain. It hurts a little(sometimes more) but I just don’t care. And you might ask, “why the hell do you even need to do this?”. My answer — Because the next time I’m faced with a challenge that requires me to go out of my comfort zone, the mental dialogue that I have with myself will be a little shorter. And thoughts like “Oh no, it’ll hurt and I don’t want to do it.” will not overwhelm my brain because I’ve been nullifying them for months now.
- Fitness — Given a choice, I will come up with all kinds of reasons to not go for a work-out. Over the years, the reasons have become more gray and sophisticated. So much so, that it becomes hard to clearly analyze and realize why I even need to go for a work-out. So I came up with a somewhat half-baked solution for this problem. Trekking and Triathlons. I register for atleast one event every month that demands a high amount of physical activity. In every trek, I need to go out with a bunch of people(adventurers) and climb hills and walk miles. Without proper fitness, your quality of experiences reduces and you won’t enjoy it. So now, that part of my brain that used to come up with excuses, understands and accepts this logic that I need to work-out and stay fit because I want to enjoy the trek.
- Living with strangers — This is not exactly a necessary pain but I’ve found that when I live with unfamiliary and totally new people, I need to operate carefully. I need to be sensitive and be on a look-out and get better at reading people. It pushes me to not get complacent with my living conditions. It keeps me on my toes and trains me on social dynamics and other stuff. Yeah, I’m exaggerating here but I do advice anybody who’s starting out brand new and wanting to build something meaningful to place themselves away from familiar places. It should be uncomfortable but still comfortable enough so you can work productively. Ofcourse there are a lot of factors to consider here — whether you’re working with a team, your marital status, your equation with your friends/family, your habits and conveniences, availability of resources etc.
Yep. That’s all. If there is anything I want you to take away from this article, it’s this — Seek out and experience necessary pain.
Wishing you a lot of discomfort,