“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. (Neal Donald Walsch)
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. (A. Einstein)
Every time you are engaged in your daily routine, the brain uses just a few neurons to analyze the situation; it already knows what to expect and how to react. You feel comfortable and safe.
In this state, the brain works according to a principle of efficiency: it is what we call the comfort zone.
In different circumstances, imagine that you are facing a brand-new experience. In this state, the brain mobilizes all its resources to analyze and manage the unusual situation.
This general mobilization requires more energy, and you know that learning something new is very tiring. Your built-in consumption detector activates instantly, and you start to feel uncomfortable, sometimes even frightened.
The principle of efficiency explains why people tend to prefer the company of like-minded people, and why they prefer to avoid new acquaintances, or why they feel uncomfortable in their company.
It is easier and less energy-consuming. Maintaining the status quo is energy efficient, yet it can also be destructive!
Most of our inner conflicts arise from an aversion to change. To give an explanation that justifies this internal quarrel, people continue to visualize the same frightening fantasies in their minds. This attitude forces the brain to continue to produce the same chemicals that trigger fear.
We are prey to so many fears; each person has their own. The fears are various and distinct because they lay on subjective perceptions; they do not represent reality! Some people are terrified of snakes, but others love them like children. Some are terrified of taking a plane and others jump from 13.000 feet with a parachute. These are our emotions when our mind deciphers external situations; they are not real conditions.
One of the most common fears is public speaking. The perceived threat is mental, not physical. Nobody dies from talking to a group of people! Nevertheless, the fear you perceive is real and can be so intense that it can paralyze you. Even years later, when we forget that episode, our body still remembers and promptly activates the same response every time we face a similar situation. And each time it’s a little bit worse than the previous one.
Fear is an entity hidden within us, growing with the years, and it dominates our actions if we do not take action to face it.
If we do not learn to analyze our feelings and understand our fears, we will remain paralyzed; we will live in an invisible cage for the rest of our lives. And this will lead us to a feeling of deep dissatisfaction and, without even realizing it, we will feel like broken. A life safe but trapped in the comfort zone is, in fact, an unlived life. This thought is terrifying.
How to get out of the invisible cage
Do you want to know how to start making a real difference in your life? Here are some tips.
First, you have to learn to ask yourself questions. Too often, we project outward, and we believe that the external situation affects our mood. It doesn’t. We have to learn to look inside ourselves; we will find many answers there, some of them very unexpected.
What to ask:
- What don’t you like about your life now? You need to identify it accurately and concretely.
- What do you want to be different for you?
- Who or what is stopping you from achieving your goal?
- What will you feel if you leave your comfort zone: Fear? Distress? Anxiety?
- Imagine yourself in 10 years: You haven’t changed anything, and the routine is the same as it is now: Do you like this idea? How do you feel?
What to do:
- Be yourself
Avoid compromising with yourself and others all the times. Most importantly, do you know who you are? Listen to your inner voice and follow it, always trying to be consistent with your desires and dreams.
- Small steps
Start making small changes in your routine: change supermarket, accept an invitation to a dinner with new people, sign up for an art course, or photography, or digital marketing, for example. Small changes in your daily routine trigger the process and train your mind.
- Face the shadow zone
That’s the most crucial task, but we don’t want to do it because it scares us. It is not easy, and it is not compulsory. Discover the courage! To face your fears is to meet the demon inside yourself.
- Develop willpower
You have to use and exercise your mind, that’s its function! Sometimes it takes great determination and great willpower to carry out the transformation we have decided to do. Start from the brain.
- Joyfully and lovingly
Everything you do, you must do with kindness and love for yourself. Empower your thoughts with harmony and joy, avoid forcing yourself or humiliating yourself, but take actions with the firm intention to transform your life for the better.
Once you open the invisible cage you’ve built yourself; you’ll have experiences you never imagined you’d have.
You’ll be able to achieve your potential. You will discover your talent and will get the chance of making it available to others.
You will feel more fulfilled; you will increase your self-esteem and inner strength. You will realize that you are proceeding on your journey intensely.
My humble advice is Start living. And Smile.
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NPL, Richard Bandler, Owen Fitzpatrick