Humans are creatures of habit. We all like to have our routine, and we all like to live in a comfortable state. Living without conflict, at peace, and without worry is something we all want to have.
Sometimes we fall into such a routine that our lives become mundane and we begin to wonder if we are in the right path. Every day feels the same and the world loses its magic. Most of us have been there; at least I know Alejandro and I have.
The reason why I want to talk about the danger of being stuck in the comfort zone is simply because this can stop you from growing and becoming a better you.
Think of a time in which you experienced hardship, pain, or simply a very challenging time in your life. Now think of what you learned from that time, how it changed you, or how it helped you grow. Sometimes it can take a while before we learn the lesson that life was trying to teach us, but eventually we can look back and learn from our mistakes.
Now, think of a time in your life when there was no conflict, no challenge. Did this time help you grow as much as the difficult times? Did you truly appreciate the peace you had? When life gets too easy, we stop learning. We stop growing.
Being in a comfort zone means being afraid to change things the way they are. Usually, we leave things alone because we are afraid of what might happen if we change. I have met many people in the past that would stay in very volatile romantic relationships simply because they were stuck in a comfort zone. Getting out meant that their life would change, it meant that they would face the unknown.
Fear of the unknown can be paralyzing, to the point of devastating. We can be so afraid of change that we are willing to tolerate the worst conditions, sometimes even violence. Sometimes, without knowing, we can hurt and forever impact those we love because we refuse to change.
I learned from an early age that when people are set on their ways they will rarely listen. To avoid falling into that same behavior, I have taken a few steps that have kept my life more interesting and have helped me become a better me. Let me share them with you.
Always keep things new, constantly rearrange your life.
It is very nice to have a set routine, to get up every day at the same time, do the same thing in the same order and move on to the next day, and the next day, and the next day. But I have found that the more open I am to little changes, the easier it is to face bigger changes. This is why I always try to switch things up a little bit. I like to be organized and manage my time, but at the same time I like to keep things interesting. Here are a few things you can do to spice up your daily life:
- Eat lunch at a new place whenever possible. Or order something you have never tried from your favorite place.
- Change your appearance. This goes for everyone. – It doesn’t have to cost you anything; you just have to get creative.
- Answer people’s questions in a different way. Instead of saying “I am fine thanks” switch it up to something you normally don’t say.
- Walk or drive to work or school in a different route, park in a different area, or take a different bus.
- Sit in a different spot than you normally do in class, or when you eat lunch at work, or use a different machine at the gym. Changing the angle of view you are used to can totally change your experience.
- Take a normal day and do everything differently, from the moment you are up until you go to bed, switch it up. This can be so much fun, especially in the middle of the week when things can get boring. It is also very fun if you do this with someone you are in close contact with.
There are many things you can do, but the basic principle is to allow little things to be different. Eating the same sandwich every day means you don’t have to think about it, but it also means that your life can easily become a never ending circle. Getting used to change, even little change, is a great way to prepare for when life brings you the big life-changing events. And I am sure you know that this will most certainly happen.
For some people this will be fun, for others it will be difficult. Unfortunately, or fortunately, those that have the hardest time will learn the most.
From living my life this way I have learned to accept when things change and when they are out of my control. I know that I will be ok if one day I arrive late to class and my seat is taken, or if I go into the cafeteria and find out that they are out of Hawaiian pizza. It sounds like a silly skill to have, but I can tell you that because of this way of thinking I rarely have a bad day.
Learning to “go with the flow” can make you a much less stressed being. Last year was one of the toughest years of my life; it seemed that everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. My life was dramatically changed with no warning or time to prepare, more than once. I know that my attitude and flexibility helped me make it through, without these skills, I may have ended up in the mental hospital. No joke.
Allow others to show you their perspective
Sometimes we are so stuck in our ways that we think our way is the perfect way. “This is how I have always done this and this is how it will always be”. I know that as I get older I feel even more certain on how some things need to be done. I have a process for washing my clothes, for buying my groceries, and for how I do many other things. And my way is the only way. But it shouldn’t be.
When we open our minds and allow others to teach us, we can open to new and perhaps even better possibilities.
It is great to be the best in our fields, and sometimes we may think that those that are new have nothing to teach us. But we warned, sometimes it is those people with a fresh approach that will teach us the most.
So, next time you run into someone with less experience than you, remember that you are judging, and you can be very wrong.
Listen to the advice of others, and act on it.
If I had a penny for every time any of my male friends called me with girl problems, I would be very rich. If I had a penny for every time they actually put my advice to practice, I would have 2 cents.
If you talk to someone about your problems, be very careful if you are asking for advice. Sometimes people ask for advice when all they want is to complain and whine about their situation. I have done it many times before, just ask Alejandro. He has kicked my butt so many times about this, but eventually I have learned and gotten a little better. Now, I listen, and I act upon the advice I am given. If I don’t want to change, then I just keep my mouth shut.
Taking someone’s advice doesn’t make you weak, it makes you smart. When you allow someone else to look at your problem, they will be able to see it from a neutral point, with no emotions involved.
There are so many cliché things we hear other people say that it is so easy to ignore them. Next time someone tells you something insightful, really mediate upon it, and make something good out of it.
All in all, the world moves on. Those that choose to run with it will thrive, and those that resist and go against the flow of things will be like flowers without water.
Remember what you stand for, and know what your values and your priorities are, but don’t act as if you already figured out the world around you, because we are all here in the same journey, learning from each other and making mistakes.
Embrace change, accept it, and welcome it. You will look 40 when you are 80!
Small Announcement by Alejandro
First of all change is something powerful and harnessing it’s power is something we truly try to teach here. In that venue, we wrote a small book, I’m still finishing the details but we wanted to share one small bit of it. Today and the whole weekend I will be tweeting our teaser all around. So if you don’t want to miss The Enso Journey’s Warrior Manual teaser, just follow us with one click below.
If you prefer facebook, don’t worry we got you covered, our tweets are also showing up on the Facebook Fan Page. Just Head over there and grab your copy out of our tweets, just don’t forget to give us a like!