5 Simple Ideas To Strengthen Your Mindset By Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone
I believe that mindset is everything. It’s what makes you see the world around you in your own unique way. Mindset...
I believe that mindset is everything. It’s what makes you see the world around you in your own unique way.
Mindset is the foundation for all the things that you do in your life, every decision you make, every goal you achieve, how you interact with other people, what the glass looks like to you, how happy, and successful you are. As such, your mind can be your worst enemy as much as it can be your best friend.
Our mindset influences not only the way we think, but also the way we feel, and the way we act. In a way, you might say that everything comes down to your mindset:
- How you perceive the world
- Your level of self-confidence and self-esteem
- How much you love yourself
- The people you allow into your life
- The goals you set for yourself
- The actions that you take to reach your goals
- And so much more…
All of these thoughts, actions, and experiences are guided by your mindset. And this is a beautiful realization. Because even though it might not feel like much, it means that you’re in control, and that no matter what your situation may be today, you have the power to change your live simply by changing how you think.
Is your mindset strong enough to overcome fear?
This is where fear comes in. I believe that depending on whether or not you’re experiencing fear in your life, you’re living in a completely different world. And the way you’re allowing fear to be your guide greatly depends on your mindset.
I speak from experience when I say this. I used to be afraid of practically everything. My mom and dad raised me believing that the outside world was dangerous, and scary, and filled with unknown horrors. I wasn’t allowed to stand on a chair out of fear of falling down, or to roller-blade out of fear of hurting myself, or to play with the kids in the neighborhood out of fear that someone or something might hurt me. To my parents, everything was dangerous.
And I’m not saying this to blame them. Just to make the point that, whatever the beliefs you’re raised with, you can really get out of the fear mindset. And one way to do it – which I practiced extensively to get to where I am now – is stepping out of your comfort zone.
We all love our comfort zone
What’s fun, and easy about comfort zones, is that we all intrinsically know what lies on the other side of them. Even if you think you have no clue, I promise you that you do. It’s all those things that you kind of want to do, but that your inner voice keeps telling you not to. Like talking to the cute guy you stand in line at Starbucks three days out of the week, or the hip-hop dancing class you’d love to enrol in but feel you’re to old for, or that trip to Europe you’ve been wanting to take your entire life but haven’t found the time to.
As I mentioned before, what all of these examples have in common is fear, because what keeps us in the comfort zone is the avoidance of potential discomfort. And when we aim for things we’re not used to doing, or that are a little challenging, or out of the ordinary for us, it makes us feel uncomfortable.
The problem is, we’ve learned to try and make our lives as comfortable as possible, to be risk-averse whenever we can, and to do the things we know best, rather than the ones where not that experienced in. So we’re sticking with the status quo, and don’t question our beliefs. Keeping things as they are, hoping they will never change because having a grip on a so-so or downright shitty situation feels so much better than having to go through uncomfortable and unknown moments.
And you know what? Our minds are great at playing that trick on us. I know because I used to be really good at making danger look insurmountable, while I could sit on a painful nail for a very, very long time before deciding to do anything about the situation.
This comfort zone madness made me pass on great opportunities in the past, and has kept me in some really nerve-wrecking situations for way too long too. Like when I was 18 years old and decided not to take a leap year in the US because I was so afraid of the unknown, or the time that I stayed in a relationship for three long years while I knew from day one that this guy was anything but good for me.
How to step out of your comfort zone to strengthen your mindset?
All of this because of fear. And because my mindset was not strong enough to help me overcome it.
Since then, I’ve come a long way. I can’t really stand sitting on a nail anymore, not even for a few minutes. And I’ve learned to talk back to my fears, and to make sure they don’t control my life.
Out of all the things I did to get to this point, here are 5 simple ideas to strengthen your mindset by getting out of your comfort zone:
- Talk to strangers: Talking to stranger is a wonderful exercise in discomfort. Our culture does not encourage us to talk to strangers, all the contrary. When we’re small we’re told specifically not to do so, and as we grow older we never really grow out of it. I’m sure you’ve experienced the agony of standing in an elevator for too long with someone you don’t know, with the absolutely unbearable silence creeping up on you. By talking to strangers in situations like that, you’ll actually break the uncomfortable moment, and transform it into something else. Something that Kio Stark calls “fleeting intimacy”, something beautiful that not only strengthens your mindset but connects you to other human beings.
- Do something that genuinely scares you: One of the most straightforward ways to strengthen your mindset to overcome fear, is to do something that scares you. It sounds trivial, yet so many people never actually do it. They find excuses, stand by their limiting beliefs, blame their inaction on anyone or anything, while it is common knowledge that consistently doing things that scare you help alleviate your fears.
- Do something you’re used to doing, in a completely different way: We humans love our habits, don’t we? Our brains run on autopilot most of the time, our thought are often the result of our beliefs, we usually react to the same situation the same way. The reason we’re such habit animals is because it’s easy, and right in the middle of our comfort zone. By doing daily things in a completely different way, you’re pushing yourself out of that zone, into discomfort. The autopilot has to be turned off, and you have to take control. This means thinking about new ways of doing something, activating your creativity, and problem-solving skills. But also opening up to the possibility that you won’t do it as well as you normally do, or that maybe you will fail. It doesn’t matter what you pick – the dishes, doing the groceries, walking the dog. What matters is that you do it differently.
- Fail at something: We are all afraid to fail. It’s one of our most fundamental fears. This fear is often associated with a fear of shame, of being ridiculed, criticized for not succeeding. Because of this fear, many wonderful goals are never chased, amazing lives never lived. It’s one of those fears that pop up regularly with my clients, and that we work on a lot. Because when you’re no longer afraid to fail, or comfortable with the potential failure of anything you set out to do, working on your goals and doing the things that really matter to you will be so much easier! So Pick something that you know for sure might not work, and do it anyway.
- Speak up: For many people, saying what they really mean is very uncomfortable. The fear of disappointing others, not being liked, or being ridiculed is often at the root of this issue. But standing up for yourself by speaking your truth is not only a wonderful way to practice stepping out of your comfort zone, it’s also necessary to live a happy life. Practice speaking up by starting with the small and simple conversations. Once you feel comfortable sharing your opinion about trivial things, move up to the more challenging topics and discussions. Go slow, but do go. It will be liberating, that I promise you.
Now I’d love to hear from you. How do you venture out of your comfort zone? What practices do you have that help strengthen your mindset? Let me know in the comments below.
Hi, I’m Murielle. I created the online course Soulful Productivity™, a 6-week program to redefine productivity and help you get from overwhelm to flow, and I have a private coaching practice where I help ambitious, multi-passionate creatives and entrepreneurs start, grow & scale businesses, and create their freedom lifestyle. PS: I love Instagram. Let’s connect!