This post was inspired by two blogs I read recently. One was from John at Frugal Rules and his 40 Thoughts On Turning 40. #9 was, “stretch yourself at least once a year, if not more. Find a goal that is going to take you out of your comfort zone and throw all you can at it.”
I also was inspired by Cash Rebel’s post about learning to juggle: Proof that practice is more important than talent.
Both posts made points of suggesting that doing something out of your comfort zone, and committing to that goal is a great thing. I couldn’t agree more!
I made a comment on John’s post that I found that as we get older, it’s so easy to stay in your same old routine. I used to give my parents crap about it all the time. They always opted for convenience and familiarity. For instance when they travel, it’s always on a cushy motor coach type bus with people in similar stages of life. Now I’m not suggesting that my dad and stepmom start looking for hostels to stay in…I think they have earned the right for travel comfort and convenience, but my fear is I’ll become too set in my ways as I get older. I already have trouble sleeping in strange places (by strange I mean hotels-get your mind out of the gutter), whereas in my 20’s I could probably sleep on a beer-soaked floor at a party with 20 random people around me.
Why is change or doing something different so scary? Look at Listverse’s Top 10 Strong Human Fears. With the exception of death and maybe losing your freedom, any kind of change can cause a lot of those typical human fears: rejection, fear, loneliness, and of course, failure.
One of my biggest fears about possibly ever living in another city could be any of these above fears, and then some. Would I find new friends? Would I be lonely? Would I be able to make a living there? Would I miss my beach life terribly? Those are questions I have no idea the answers to unless I just flat out make the leap. I could of course minimize certain risks by talking to people online and making friendships ahead of time before I ever moved somewhere, or immediately join a sports team or social network once I moved. Or finding a secure job ahead of time.
Right now I’m not willing enough to make the move just yet. Maybe someday I will…who knows.
One thing I DO challenge myself with, is physical-type goals. For some reason my brain and body love to say, “bring it on man!”
I was thinking of this while I was out on a walk one day and looked at my email, and someone had made a comment about my 1/2 marathon training and said, “you are doing awesome and have worked so hard!” That comment made me tear up. Here I was walking off some calf pain, general leg soreness, and overall body and mental fatigue from not only my 1/2 marathon training and 6k trail run that I did last week, and feeling incredibly proud.
I’m reminded why I’m putting myself through all of this. Because anytime you push yourself past your comfort zone or boundaries, you build the confidence muscle. You did something which was not easy for you, and pushed through one or more of those basic human fears (in my case for the 1/2 marathon, it’s pain and failure) to come out on the other side a lot stronger.
One of the reasons I loved doing that 6k trail run was because it was rugged but doable, dirty and gritty but fun, hard work but finishable. I was in such a good mood after because truthfully I felt like kind of bad-ass, and started to crave more! What else am I capable of?
They say when you die you don’t regret the things you did, but the things you did NOT do.
Everyone has something they are afraid of trying. Are you afraid to take the leap into being an entrepreneur or freelancer? Are you afraid of what spending less could mean to your lifestyle? Are you afraid to sing in front of people, sign up for a triathlon, or eat alone at a restaurant?
I encourage you all to stretch yourself in new areas this year…and every year! I need to make that commitment too. While it’s been relatively easy for me to do physical challenges, or sing in front of people, or make new friends, it hasn’t been that easy for me to online date, or like I said, pick up and move to another city.
So how do you challenge yourself currently? What are you willing to take a chance on this year? What’s stopping you?