I saw a speech recently that was all about getting out of your comfort zone. At the end, we were all given a piece of paper with more than 100+ challenges to try. What was strange for me was that I had done more than half of them.
Having studied extraordinary people for the last few years, and been obsessed with how they think and act, I noticed they all did one thing: they got out of their comfort zone consistently. Getting out of their comfort zone was how they upskilled and crushed the normal fears that we all face.
It’s like being Mario and then getting a gold star – you feel invincible and extremely agile. We haven’t all gone on this journey of breaking out of our comfort zone. The good news is we can start with a 36-day challenge.
Each day, I want you to pick one of the below challenges to try:
1. Lie down on the ground for 30 seconds in a busy place…then get up with a smile and pretend nothing’s happened. This is the one I recommend the most and it was made famous by Tim Ferriss.
2. Slow dance on a rooftop with a friend or lover
3. Ask for 10% off the next coffee or tea you buy. (Don’t tell the waiter it is a challenge).
4. Drive around, crank your favorite songs and have a dance off at stoplights to make strangers laugh
5. Have a difficult conversation face to face instead of via email / text / phone.
6. Call your mother and tell her how much you love her.
7. Send someone flowers for no reason
8. Take a cold shower during winter for 30 seconds (remember to breathe)
9. Pull an all-nighter when the opportunity arises instead of going home.
10. Jump into a lake / river / pool with your clothes on.
11. Dress up in your most classy outfit. Go to a luxury car dealership, pretend to be rich and drive the swankiest car they have.
12. Walk around the city all night and then find a place to eat breakfast at dawn
13. Write a list of the craziest things you could ever do, have or be. Start doing them.
14. Go to a restaurant and convince the cook to create something completely new for you to eat.
15. Wake up early during one winter’s morning when it’s freezing cold and go for a walk.
16. Ask someone on a date who you think is way out of your league.
17. Eat somewhere way out of your budget
18. Attend a costume party and go all out.
19. Unplug from email, social media and your phone for 24 hours. (Try a “No-Tech Sunday”)
20. Go to a karaoke bar and sing like you’re the best singer there is.
21. Make a fool of yourself in public on a dance floor. You can’t consume alcohol beforehand either!
22. Crash a wedding that you’re not invited to.
23. Make a free hugs sign, stand in a high traffic place and dish out some lovin’.
24. Take a homeless person out to lunch and hear their story.
25. Go a whole week without TV.
26. After a week of no TV, donate your TV to charity.
27. Do a silent meditation retreat
28. Do stand up comedy for a night.
29. Try a food you have always disliked.
30. Be vulnerable. Tell someone your biggest fear, regret or desire.
31. Sign up for a public speaking event like TedX and then start preparing.
32. Invite a co-worker you don’t know well to lunch to get to know them better.
33. Dive with sharks
34. Spend a whole day answering the question, “How are you today?” with the response, “Outstanding! How are you?” – It’s more uncomfortable than you think.
35. Go on a fast for two days and drink nothing but water.
36. Pickup your significant other from work or the airport wearing a long jacket with nothing underneath.
Once you’ve read through the list, I want you to pick the five hardest ones. Then, I want you to do those first. Following those five, I then want you to complete the rest. All up, you should do one per day, therefore taking 36 days to complete all comfort zone challenges. By the end, you’ll have taken your life to the next level.
My experience of comfort zone challenges
Since I began doing regular comfort zone challenges as a habit I’ve achieved the following:
– I’ve dated girls I never thought were in my league
– I’ve become a lot better at dealing with fear
– I’ve started performing really well at public speaking
– I’ve learned new things about myself
– I’ve become more disciplined
– I’ve met loads of strangers and some of them have become friends
“If I had a choice between doing further education and learning to break my comfort zone through these above challenges, I’d choose the later”
Overcoming the stuff that scares you, and that most people would never try, helps you to become mentally tough. Mental toughness will help you overcome this negative world that you experience with your ancient survival brain, and see through your own eyes.
How can you take the whole comfort zone thing even further?
If you get the results that’s all fine and dandy. The way you supersize your experience and go to the next level is by encouraging your friends and family to do the same. As they begin to participate, they’ll push you further at the same time. You’ll then unconsciously be gamifying the challenges and seeing who can be the boldest. It’s kick ass when this happens.
Wrap up time
So I hope these challenges have inspired you. Each one is unique and builds upon a new and slightly different skill. It’s a lot of fun once you’ve done the first few. The key is to detach yourself from the outcome. Whether you succeed or not it doesn’t matter. There is no failure.
The aim of this comfort zone game is just to have a go and see what happens. Give it a shot and have fun! Send me your results via my website below if you feel like sharing your experience. I’d love to know how it goes.
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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