“Your success lies just outside your comfort zone”

I heard this quote and I really enjoyed the quote. I’m not one for going outside my comfort zone a lot but I can feel that when I do, my mindset changes. I feel like I can do things that I wasn’t capable of before. Much like how Roger Bannister ran the 4 minute mile when nobody thought that it was possible — many runners after that were able to run the 4 minute mile after. Roger represented a shift in a mindset and sometimes that is powerful enough to help you breakthrough to the next level.

But if you’re anything like me, you might hate running. What’s the 4 minute mile for people like you and me? Here are a few things that I have been trying lately to try to get out of my comfort zone:

Taking cold showers

There’s nothing like taking that nice, hot shower after a long day of work or after that intense workout. After watching Tony Robbin’s documentary “I’m not your guru”, I noticed that Tony likes to take a plunge into a cold pool first thing in the morning. In Brian Tracy’s book “Eat that frog” you should be doing the most challenging thing first thing in the morning. And if you are showering in the morning, start off with a hot shower and then slowly (or quickly) take a cold shower for even 20 seconds. Taking cold showers also has a number of health benefits that I won’t get into (google it yourself!).

Eating alone at a restaurant

I am not really sure why there’s something weird about eating alone at a restaurant. I remember one of the first times that I ate alone — I went to a restaurant, ordered food, browsed my phone a lot and nothing weird happened. People did not look at me (or at least I did not notice them looking at me).

Go out to that nice restaurant you’ve been meaning to go to. Don’t wait for your friends to go with you. Order something nice. Bring a book. And realize that you’re probably making a bigger deal out of eating alone than you think.

Read a book that doesn’t interest you, at first

I am a huge reader. And the great thing about reading non-fiction books is that the best authors refer to other books as part of their research. And the best authors are readers too. So I never have to look too far for my next read — but that also means that a lot of the books that I read are within a specific industry or sector or maybe have a specific point of view of the world. Good reading involves reading different perspectives so that you do not just see one side of the coin but all sides of the coin so that you can judge for yourself whether the arguments are sound.

Take a different route to work

We’re all creatures of habit and we like to take the same path to work or home. We find the best route and then we stick with it because to deviate from the path often means doing a bit more work in thinking about the path that we are taking. Sometimes we’re not interested in spending energy thinking about doing things differently. But every once in a while, taking a different path to work can pay dividends. You may find a restaurant that you have never seen before. You may find a path of trees and bushes and a park that you never experienced.

Get a recommendation from the server about a specific dish to order and then order it

In times when you feel like your decision making energy is low, I’ll go to a restaurant and ask for recommendations from the server. And whatever the server says, I’ll order that (unless it’s something that I usually order). And a lot of the times, whatever I get is quite good and something that I never would have ordered if I had ordered myself. It’s a fantastic way of finding new food and dishes. Or you can go to a restaurant or cuisine that you normally wouldn’t go to (advice: bring a friend along that knows the cuisine).

Find a new hobby or activity to do

A while ago, I decided that I had an interest in drawing comics so I picked up a sketchbook and started drawing jokes. It felt good to do something different — very different than what I’m used to (writing, Netflix, playing video games). It didn’t last a long time but it did spark me to try different hobbies and activities which can help build new neural paths and help you to discover things about yourself that you didn’t know.

Try the latest exercise trend

A couple years back, the hot trend was Orange Theory. I, on a whim, decided to sign up right away for classes using some of the exercise credit that my company provides. It was huge (and still is today) but I remember getting incredibly smashed in my first workout and had to recover for a week before I went back for another class. But I was sold after getting incredibly smashed. I didn’t even really care about the heart zones — I just knew that I had not gotten a really good work out in a while and it felt really great after to recover.

Listen to a random playlist on spotify

I love discovering new music — one of my favourite music stations used to be pandora and discovering specific stations to listen to. Discovering new songs was incredibly fun. And what was really fun was sharing those songs with friends. I usually listen to the songs that I’ve liked or favourited on spotify but sometimes, you’re just looking for new songs to listen to so I’ll look up a song that I like and then let it run to see what new songs spotify will introduce me to.

Try a random meetup

When I first got into a new city, I signed up for meetup.com to see where I could meet new people. I wasn’t quite interested in meeting friends or getting a date — it was just about meeting new people that I could connect with. I remember one meetup in particular that I went to — it was for dim sum and I could have very easily stayed at home, worked out, bought groceries and called it a day but I decided that I would go out for dim sum and be open to meeting people. It was at that dim sum that I met one of my best friends.

Wear something different and own it

I bought a shirt that I thought was particularly crazy. The shirt was dark blue but had red on the inside linings of the collars. I thought it was crazy at the time and I wore it one day worried about how many people would be staring at me. But it was weird, nobody looked at me more than usual. And the shirt wasn’t as crazy as other shirts that people were wearing. I felt incredibly self conscious but felt like I had expanded my clothing repertoire. After wearing that shirt, I felt like I could wear other things that I didn’t consider before (although my fashion sense has changed since).

Getting out of your comfort zone isn’t comfortable (I mean that’s the definition right)? But it can help you to discover new things about yourself, discover new skills that you didn’t know you had, or meet people that you’ve never met before. Maybe stay in your comfort zone. But maybe next time consider doing something a little bit different.