“If you’re going through hell, keep going,” Winston Churchill
I know you’re different.
Readers of this blog stand out from the crowd.
You’re the kind of person who isn’t afraid to occasionally (or often) push yourself hard – because you know there’s a better you waiting just on the other side of a challenge and a bit of pain.
So why do we love challenges so much? And why is it so important to do things that push us out of our comfort zone?
We all need to grow in life.
No matter how awesome you are today, there’s always a better you to become. A you who can handle everything you’re doing today that much easier and more effortlessly.
And who can take on crap you can’t even imagine today.
Why We Need to Keep Growing
Once, a mentor taught me three lessons that changed my perception and my life.
“Imagine you’re a 2 now. Two out of 10,” he said. “And ten is the potential person you can become in the future…”
Well, now you can handle problems that are level 1 easily. Little problems. Like anyone.
And you can just about handle level 2 problems, and maybe sometimes level 3 problems. But 4,5,6 and up just seem way out of your league and are scary as hell.
But when you push yourself over time and grow to a 5 out of 10, which can only happen through moving out of your comfort zone, then suddenly those level-3 challenges… Ha! They’re nothing to you. You solve them in your sleep. Now, level 5 problems are doable, and even 6.
When you’ve reached level 8 or 9, problems are your playthings and the world is your playground.
That’s why we must always keep pushing and growing.
If You’re Not Growing, You’re Shrinking
Picture a circle, drawn on a piece of paper, with a dot in the middle.
That circle is your comfort zone. You can easily handle problems within that circle. But every now and then a problem or challenge comes at you from outside your circle.
This could be a new experience, something you’ve always been afraid of doing, or just a really tough Betify challenge.
Now, this is an awesome opportunity for you, because if you swallow your fear and take on that new problem, then you push and expand your circle. Just by a bit.
So afterwards, even if you didn’t handle it well, your circle is bigger and your comfort zone is bigger. And the number and size of problems you can handle are bigger.
You are bigger.
And you’re ready for the next outside problem.
But, if like most people, you turn away from this new unfamiliar problem or challenge – then your circle shrinks just a tiny bit. And if you always turn away your circle gets smaller and smaller, until you can only handle very few things in life.
If you’re not growing you’re shrinking. Which way do you want to go?
Don’t Always Trust Your Own Mind and Feelings
Your mind – the deep primitive part of your mind – has only one job to do.
And that is to keep you safe. To protect you.
But it does not always know what’s a real threat to you, like walking in front of a speeding car, and what is simply a new experience, a challenge and an opportunity to grow.
So here’s the thing that takes most people out.
When they’re faced by a new challenge or experience, a part of their mind immediately gets scared of the new situation – it wants to keep everything the same, where it knows you’re safe.
101 Excellent Excuses
So the little voice in your brain makes you feel fear, and gives you 101 excellent reasons why you shouldn’t do that new thing right now.
If you can tell that little voice to shut up, and throw yourself into the challenge with gusto – then you will grow and become stronger, even if you fail. And after time that little voice will indeed shut its mouth and leave you alone.
So keep growing my friend. Remember if you don’t, you’ll shrink instead. And watch out for that tricky little voice. You show it who’s boss!
A Lesson From Conan
I just watched the first part of Conan the Barbarian, where the opening credits show a famous quote perfect for this conversation. You’ve heard it a thousand times before but I have to repeat it because it’s so damn true:
“What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger,” Friedrich Nietzsche
So when was the last time you pushed out of your comfort zone?
And how did you do it?
Share, and maybe you’ll help give someone else the balls to make a similar leap of courage!