Up until I graduated from college and got my first real job I always thought that the life I wanted to live was the comfortable kind. A nice salary, fancy car, big house in a safe neighborhood, 3.2 children, money in the bank and no worries in the world. This is what I assumed everyone wanted and worked so hard for.
Once I felt “comfortable” I began to realize that this kind of life can start to make you weak if you don’t consciously take the time to challenge yourself and make yourself feel uncomfortable. By being uncomfortable you can force yourself to grow, mature and improve who you are. You can put yourself in uncomfortable situations in many ways.
- Go talk to the homeless in your city or volunteer at a soup kitchen.
- Travel to a city or town you’ve never been to and just explore it with no map or plans.
- Book a vacation to the other side of the world where they don’t speak English.
- Go a day without using your cell phone or the internet.
There are countless ways to make your life feel uncomfortable, but experimenting with being uncomfortable can bring about great changes to your life. Keep reading for three key reasons why you should live uncomfortably and challenge yourself as much as possible.
Feel Human Again
Do you ever feel like you are just going through the motions? You wake up to your alarm, do your morning routine, commute to work, 8 hours pass, reverse commute, evening routine and go to bed. Putting yourself in uncomfortable situations will make you come alive again. Instead of going straight home from work why not stop at a park or coffee shop and spend some time reading that book on your shelf you have been putting off for years. On your lunch break ask a few coworkers if they’d like to step away from their desks and eat together instead of staring at an internet browser.
Some days I feel like a programmed machine. I have planned responses to common questions or greetings and can come across quite lifeless sometimes. This week I made the conscious decision to change that. What exactly did I change? I told myself I was always going to speak first and answer questions like I never had before. Waiting for an elevator in my apartment complex I would introduce myself to my neighbor I’d never met. If someone asked me how I was, I responded truthfully with a “busy, but loving life today” instead of an automatic “good, how are you?” And you know what? This simple change led to me enjoying my work and life more than usual this week.
Grow Your Comfort Zone
By doing something outside of the box from what you are used to, you will force yourself to become comfortable with more things. Throughout someone’s life they are put in situations that make them learn, adapt or explore something new. When a child goes to their first day of school they latch on to their parent’s leg and plead to not have to go. What if the parent gave in and let them stay home? Think of all of the missed opportunities there would be for them in their life.
While this may be an extreme example, I visualize a situation like this where there is a cut and dry correct answer for what should be done when I make up excuses for not trying something new or when I’m afraid of what I’m about to do. Without looking directly in the face of fear and laughing at it I would have never ran a half marathon, stayed in college or started this blog. Besides the helpful human instinct aspect of fear and anxiety, they are wasteful feelings most of the time. Step outside of your comfort zone and you will grow.
Challenges You to Learn
Doing the same things every day is the easy way to live. Without regularly trying new and uncomfortable things, life stays the same and will no longer be a challenge. Stay in the same job for too long and you will have learned everything there is to learn. Take the same route everyday to work and you won’t find that new restaurant you never knew existed. Avoid picking up that guitar from the music store and you will never know if you are the next Eric Clapton or Carlos Santana.
What scares you? Why not try it out? Live uncomfortably and your life will change.