“The most successful people lead the most uncomfortable lives.” – Unknown
During most of my life I lived within the cozy confines of my “comfort zone.” I hung out with the same circle of friends and traveled to familiar vacation spots. I was cautious when it came to trying new foods, meeting new people, and sharing my feelings.
I was the quiet elementary school kid in the back of class who knew the answer but was too timid to raise a hand. I was the high school guy who would ask a girl out only if I knew FOR SURE that she would say “yes.” I was the college student who would stutter and tremble during a presentation.
In recent years though, I’ve flipped this approach on its head. I’ve adopted a new method: to live outside of my comfort zone as much as possible. I decided to finally push beyond my perceived limits, ignore my fears and see if I could handle this uncharted, uncomfortable world.
The results so far? In just a few short years, from both a personal and professional perspective, I’ve seen my growth accelerate exponentially.
As a professional, I’ve gone from that trembling college presenter to a seasoned sales consultant. After nearly three years in sales and tons of practice, I can now present comfortably in a room of over a hundred people. In fact, I’m even starting to enjoy it.
On a personal level, this “uncomfortable mindset,” has expanded both my network of friends and my appetite for travel. The mindset has allowed me to discover a fondness for solo travel through which I’ve enjoyed incredible experiences and met fascinating people from all over the world.
What I’ve realized through these developments is that the more I challenge my perceived comfort zone, the greater the zone itself expands. What once seemed terrifying to me has now become commonplace. What once seemed out of reach has become attainable.
If I can present in front of 100 people, why can’t I present in front of 1,000? If I can travel to Peru alone, why can’t I hop over to Indonesia? If I can make money in sales, why can’t I make money online?
You see, once you begin to break out of your own comfort zone, you’ll realize there’s no limit to how far it can expand. There will always be a new way to challenge yourself and a new way to improve. The key is to stop limiting yourself out of fear and make a conscious effort to live uncomfortably.
To go back to our quote, the reason “the most successful people lead the most uncomfortable lives” is because they’re willing to go beyond their perceived boundaries and through this process surpass everyone sitting in their cozy comfort zone.
What was once uncomfortable to these people becomes comfortable. They fail. They learn. They improve. They master. And then they move on to master something else.
Renee Brown, author of Daring Greatly, sums this phenomenon up well when she says “the person willing to be the most uncomfortable is not only the bravest, but also rises the fastest.”
The good news is that the choice is fully yours. The question is what type of life will you choose? A life of comfort and predictability? Or a life of discomfort and endless possibility?