It’s easy to understand why no one likes to be uncomfortable. We naturally want to stay wrapped up in our cozy little worlds without any discomfort, anxiety, worry, embarrassment or uneasiness. The problem with that is without being uncomfortable for a period of time we would never accomplish anything amazing in our lives. Being willing to move out of your comfort zone is another major success factor. Just about everything new in our lives brings on a feeling of distress to our brains. We have to be smarter than our own brains (think about that puzzle for a minute). To overcome this problem, it helps by remembering that the uneasiness feelings only lasts for a short time.
When you were growing up and learning to drive a car for the first time most people are very nervous and apprehensive. You are trying to remember all the rules of driving, worried about getting in an accident and carefully watching your speed. However after a short time behind the wheel that all seems to disappear. Today you jump in the car and just go without any worry or much thought at all. You can see then that if you were never willing to be uncomfortable and anxious you would likely never learned how to drive at all.
It is no different with your other goals in life. Please realize that you must be willing to be uncomfortable for a while if you want to grow and change. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of being embarrassed can steal your dreams. Success can elude us all when we start to allow our mental excuses to direct our lives. Be watchful for the excuse monster. Do you have goals and dreams that are being strangled by your brain telling you shouldn’t go for it after all? The possibilities are truly unlimited if you can recognize and overrule when your brain starts to find justifications for quitting (or never starting at all). The secret to success if found in the very thing you avoid.
A quote from Seth Godin says that “Discomfort brings engagement and change. Discomfort means you’re doing something others are unlikely to do, because they’re hiding out in the comfortable zone”. Yes, you want to do what other are unlikely to do. That is called being exceptional, unique, outstanding and remarkable!
Break the hold that fear and discomfort have on you today. You will be able to reach higher levels of success in life and enjoy more confidence, strength and possibly be less uncomfortable for you next challenge Psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo says it best, “If you want long-term success, stop avoiding what’s hard, and embrace it now”.
Like most counsel in life, the advice above is easy to say but more a bit more challenging to do. There are however some things you can do to start the change process. For example you can start by making a short list of 3-4 uncomfortable things you know you should do but feel apprehensive about starting. Keep that list handy and set your mind to doing all 3-4 in the next few days. Start by doing the easiest or least uncomfortable thing first. This will give you the momentum to keep going down and completing the rest of the list. The biggest risk you take is not taking any risk at all.
Later after you start growing and become comfortable in your uncomfortableness you might even want to start by doing the most uncomfortable things first. Author and self-help guru Brian Tracy calls this “eating the frog”. Getting the worst and hardest thing off the list gives you confidence and seems to make the remaining tasks easier to digest. And if you have to eat two frogs eat the ugliest one first!
Keep things in perspective – really what is the risk of calling someone you should make amends with or starting a new business venture. Both might make you feel uncomfortable but what’s the worst that could happen? It is probably not life and death but the potential rewards may be great.
Now hear me clearly when I say that I am not encouraging you to bet your life-savings on a roulette wheel or go-over Niagara Fall in a barrel. I am however encouraging you to take healthy measured chances on worthwhile goals. Asking out the woman of your dreams or taking the steps necessary to ensure your financial freedom are examples of smart risks.
Procrastination is another related dream killer. We procrastinate because we feel anxious or uneasy about starting a task. It may seem too big of a job to ever start. However immediate action is your best friend. When you know that you should do something, the easiest way to finish it is to just start it. Simple right? Just start and do something little and all of a sudden the task looks easier and more manageable. You can’t finish anything unless you begin somewhere so just tell yourself that you will only do some very small part of the job. For example, if you have to write a 20 page term paper for school – just tell yourself you are just going to write the first paragraph today. Starting is often half the job. Once you start many of the things that worried you just disappear somehow.
So in conclusion:
- Recognize that excuse and Procrastination monsters will lie to you and steal your success if you don’t stop them.
- Practice doing uncomfortable things that will embolden you to go even further. Practice makes
- Learn to jump into action even if it just a tiny step. Starting if half the battle. You are less likely to stop if you have already started.
Anthony Hampton is a success coach, thought leader, successful business owner and driver behind the Good Life.