Persistence Without Resistance: Getting Outside of Your Comfort Zone

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Photo by Alex Wong

The past two weeks, I’ve been reflecting a lot upon persistence.

What does it take to continue to persist in the things we want and wish to do, when there is so much change happening all around us?

Think COVID-19. So much change, so much unknown.

Upon my reflection, I went back and read a post I wrote some time ago, Persistence without Resistance. It seems very timely, so I am posting it again here now.

What is the difference between conceptual thinking and execution? And, what lives in between the two? Let’s take a look.

A concept is considered an idea, intention, or plan to do something. Though conceptual thinking is needed and necessary, without the execution behind the idea, intention, or plan to do that something, nothing real will exist in the world.

I often think that people do very well at the thinking part of leading a concept or idea into a planning phase, yet often times during the planning and the following execution phases of a project, traction falters, and the project either stalls, or drops completely. Why is this?

I believe it has to do with the myriad of stimuli we find ourselves dealing with every day, combined with the habit of continually firefighting in whatever business we find ourselves in.

Two years ago I went to an all day strategic thinking training, which included people from all spectrum’s of work, from line workers, and administrative and operations personnel to company presidents.

And, what did all of these people, including myself, have in common? Every one of us was spending more time working in the business rather than working on the business.

When you spend more time working in the business, you are reacting, and firefighting, which, in effect, keeps you on track to reproduce the same outputs and outcomes that you’ve already been producing. You are effectively treading water.

If you feel this way about your work right now, you are not alone.

I learned a lot from that strategic thinking training, and one of the most important takeaways was that I was not alone. We are all trying to work on our businesses, or our marriages, or our relationships, yet we continually, without being aware of it, reproduce the same results every day, which keep us stuck in the same place we were yesterday.

To become unstuck, you must not only think, or conceptualize a different future, you must then actively create it. One step, or action, at a time. Otherwise you will continue to get the same results as you’ve always gotten.

And, what did Einstein say about that.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

We cannot attain different results without “getting out of our lane.” We must remove the blinders that keep us in the same lane, and venture out into unknown territory. Uncomfortable, yes.

Yet, these are where the jewels of life reside.

The rare and wondrous moments of growth, are when we stop reproducing the same thing we had yesterday, with the same result, and take a different action, or set of actions, giving us different results.

Conceptual thinking and execution are both needed. When you have both, you have the ability to create new future realities. And, inside these new realities, you have the opportunity to live life in new ways. Ways that were previously unknown and unavailable to you. Regardless of the context.

How do you do this?

First, you must be prepared to be uncomfortable, as the journey to creating new realities through new conceptualizations and corresponding new executable actions will be new territory for you. Because humans feel most comfortable inside their already created patterns or habits, living outside of them is uncomfortable.

If you are prepared for such discomfort, the process is not altogether difficult, and must also include an openness to all that is happening, and all those around you. Meaning that things will happen that get in the way of the actualization of your created concept, or you may forget about it at times.

The most important thing to remember is that because things happen that get in the way does not mean that you cannot still attain that goal. Building a new habit around a new goal is difficult, yet people do it all the time.

Persistence without resistance is key. Meaning that when things get in the way, know that these things are there for a reason, and that it is okay. Don’t resist what is happening, and continue to persist.

For instance, I’ve wanted to learn another language for a long time. And, have created the opportunity to do so, yet for the past two weeks, I’ve not studied very much.

Now, I could get frustrated, effectively resisting reality, and give up. Or, I can accept reality as it is, reserving all of that time and energy spent on being frustrated, and put that time and energy into studying.

In order for anything to exist in the world, there must be both concepts and actions that execute on those concepts.

And, to do both requires an understanding of how most human beings typically operate, which is inside of their comfort zones.

A comfort zone that will produce results that are similar to the results they’ve produced in the past. And, there is nothing wrong with that.

However, if you are looking to produce extraordinary results, you need to be prepared to conceptualize and execute outside of your comfort zone. In that territory that is unknown to you, until it is known.

And to know that once that territory is known, it will be time to create something outside of your now larger comfort zone. This is the process of growth, and you are never too young or too old to grow.

#being-uncomfortable, #comfort-zone, #conceptual-thinking, #execution, #get-outside-your-comfort-zone, #living-with-change, #persistence, #persistence-without-resistance, #resistence, #strategic-thinking, #working-in-the-business, #working-on-the-business

Living an Authentic Life

Photo by Green Ant

Humans by nature live inside of various performances. Identities, or personas, if you will, that have been created over our lifetimes. And, these created personas are learned through socialization.

Socialization is the process of learning about the world, and how you fit into it. Further, it is about the creation of the you that you know yourself to be. It is about learning the rules and “appropriate” behaviors for the myriad contexts we find ourselves in.

From the time we are very little, we are told who we are, what we are to do, and not do, and how we are to behave. We become mechanized into a certain pattern, or habit, of being. And, if we do not get pushed, or stumble on our own, outside of that habit, we will continue to live that way for all of our days.

However, if we are fortunate enough to have someone in our life push us outside of the habitual “me” or we have the same good fortune to discover it on our own, a whole new you can emerge.

The emergence of this “new” you is an iterative development process, which unfolds as you make new choices in familiar contexts. These new choices are not predicated on what you once knew. They are, rather, predicated only by the limits you put on yourself.

When we live within the narrow framework that we were given by our parents, extended family, and school system, we limit our potential. I would know, I lived this way for most of my adult life.

However, when we leave that narrow framework, we can experience all there is to experience in the world. Of course, this means experiencing successes and failures. Thomas Edison has two of the best quotes on failure.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” -Thomas Edison

In order to achieve all that we can, and to be all that is within us, we must experience failure. Yet, most people avoid failure. They are fearful of what it means to themselves, first, and then to others around them when they fail. They do not see it as Thomas Edison did; that, in order to be successful, failure is a necessary and needed component. You cannot have one without the other. Failure is part of the process of being successful.

And to be successful takes the ability to reflect upon oneself. To venture out into the unknown and be vulnerable.

Vulnerability is also something that people avoid, for fear of what it might mean when they make a mistake, or misjudgment, or a poor decision. Yet, just like failure, vulnerability is a needed and necessary component to live the authentic life that is awaiting you.

Authenticity simply means being genuine, first with yourself, and then with those around you. You cannot lead an authentic life when you avoid failure and vulnerability. It is simply not possible.

People know when you are not being authentic. When we avoid mistakes, for fear of judgement by others, people know that you are playing it safe. Playing within your comfort zone. Playing within what is known to you; your lane, your habits, and pattern.

Get outside of your lane, those narrowly defined parameters that someone set for you, and live the authentic life of your choosing. It is your choice. Ultimately, no one can make you choose to live a life outside of your comfort zone, as no one can make you live one inside of your comfort zone.

Whether we are aware of it or not, the life we live is our choice. And, I am inviting you to choose a life that is different than the one that was handed to you. If you are living that life, wonderful. If you are not, also wonderful, as you have before you the choice to live a different life, a life full of wonder. A life that is your authentic life.

#authentic-life, #comfort-zone, #life-lessons, #success-and-failure, #vulnerability

Persistence Without Resistance: Getting Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Photo by Alex Wong

What is the difference between conceptual thinking and execution? And, what lives inbetween the two? Let’s take a look.

A concept is considered an idea, intention, or plan to do something. Though conceptual thinking is needed and necessary, without the execution behind the idea, intention, or plan to do that something, nothing real will exist in the world.

I often think that people do very well at the thinking part of leading a concept or idea into a planning phase, yet often times during the planning and the following execution phases of a project, traction falters, and the project either stalls, or drops completely. Why is this?

I believe it has to do with the myriad of stimuli we find ourselves dealing with every day, combined with the habit of continually firefighting in whatever business we find ourselves in.

Two years ago I went to an all day strategic thinking training, which included people from all spectrums of work, from line workers, and administrative and operations personnel to company presidents. And, what did all of these people, including myself, have in common? Every one of us was spending more time working in the business rather than working on the business.

When you spend more time working in the business, you are reacting, and firefighting, which, in effect, keeps you on track to reproduce the same outputs and outcomes that you’ve already been producing. You are effectively treading water. If you feel this way about your work right now, you are not alone.

I learned a lot from that strategic thinking training, and one of the most important takeaways was that I was not alone. We are all trying to work on our businesses, or our marriages, or our relationships, yet we continually, without being aware of it, reproduce the same results every day, which keep us stuck in the same place we were yesterday.

To become unstuck, you must not only think, or conceptualize a different future, you must then actively create it. One step, or action, at a time. Otherwise you will continue to get the same results as you’ve always gotten. And, what did Einstein say about that: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

We cannot attain different results without “getting out of our lane.” We must remove the blinders that keep us in the same lane, and venture out into unknown territory. Uncomfortable, yes. Yet, these are where the jewels of life reside. The rare and wondrous moments of growth, are when we stop reproducing the same thing we had yesterday, with the same result, and take a different action, or set of actions, giving us different results.

Conceptual thinking and execution are both needed. When you have both, you have the ability to create new future realities. And, inside these new realities, you have the opportunity to live life in new ways. Ways that were previously unknown and unavailable to you. Regardless of the context.

How do you do this? First, you must be prepared to be uncomfortable, as the journey to creating new realities through new conceptualizations and corresponding new executable actions will be new territory for you. Because humans feel most comfortable inside their already created patterns or habits, living outside of them is uncomfortable.

If you are prepared for such discomfort, the process is not altogether difficult, and must also include an openness to all that is happening, and all those around you. Meaning that things will happen that get in the way of the actualization of your created concept, or you may forget about it at times.

The most important thing to remember is that becauses things happen that get in the way does not mean that you cannot still attain that goal. Building a new habit around a new goal is difficult, yet people do it all the time.

Persistence without resistance is key. Meaning that when things get in the way, know that these things are there for a reason, and that it is okay. Don’t resist what is happening, and continue to persist.

For instance, I’ve wanted to learn another language for a long time. And, have created the opportunity to do so, yet for the past two weeks, I’ve not studied very much Now, I could get frustrated, effectively resisting reality, and give up. Or, I could accept reality as it is, reserving all of that time and energy spent on being frustrated, and put that time and energy into studying.

In order for anything to exist in the world, there must be both concepts and actions that execute on those concepts. And, to do both requires an understanding of how most human beings typically operate, which is inside of their comfort zones. A comfort zone that will produce results that are similar to the results they’ve produced in the past. And, there is nothing wrong with that.

However, if you are looking to produce extraordinary results, you need to be prepared to conceptualize and execute outside of your comfort zone. In that territory that is unknown to you, until it is known. And to know, that once that territory is known, it will be time to create something outside of your now larger comfort zone. This is the process of growth, and you are never too young or too old to grow.

#business, #comfort-zone, #creativity, #extraordinary-results, #growth, #life, #persistence, #psychology, #self-development

Finding Comfort in Being Uncomfortable: Part 2

What is it you want out of life? Most of us would answer something like: money, health, and happiness. The usual suspects. Funnily enough, many of the things we want are those things that are best attained outside of our comfort zones. We believe, however, that comfort is relative to having the aforementioned, yet that is a simple thinking error. Let’s take a look.

Money

Regardless of how much money you make, to have money on hand takes a serious commitment to creating and sustaining a budget that is reasonable, which is uncomfortable. Yet budgeting your money in a reasonable way, even aggressive way, though uncomfortable, will give you that which you desire, more money on hand.

Taking on a promotion, or starting a new job, creates an unknown context, which can be very uncomfortable. However, that unknown context, if approached from an open mind, will create new growth opportunities, such as learning and developing new skill sets. And, having new skill sets will make you more adept in every context you work in.

Health

Attaining a level of health you desire takes a commitment to developing healthy habits in relation to your physical, mental, and spiritual self. Regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and time to focus on your inner self take time, and allocating that time every day can feel uncomfortable. Yet, doing these things regularly will create the context for your health to improve, and sustaining these activities over time will create more future health.

Happiness

In my estimation, the concept of happiness being attached to comfort is one of the largest thinking errors. Achieving happiness begins with a commitment to do those things in life that we often avoid, put off, deny, and disregard. Why?

Because taking the time to do those things is scary. What if I fail? Or what if it doesn’t work? Feelings of being uncomfortable in not knowing how our time investment will go is scary. Both of the aforementioned questions are common mantras for putting off those things that will stretch us most, which when committed to on a regular basis will increase our overall level of happiness.

Thinking Error

The thinking error I’ve referred to in this post is that by not doing the things in life that will make us most uncomfortable we will find those attributes we want most, like money, health, and happiness.

Yet here is the reality. The exact opposite is true. Doing those things in life that make us the most unformattable are the exact actions that will create the attributes, like money, health, and happiness, we want most. An apparent paradox.

Yet not really. It actually makes total sense. Do things that stretch you, which include doing things that scare you, make you nervous, and for surely make you uncomfortable, and you will achieve those things you most desire.

Being comfortable never produced anything. Being uncomfortable, however, has produced many, many things. Think about any historical figure, pick any one you like, and I guarantee you their life was full of uncomfortable situations. Situations they actively created, and welcomed with open arms.

Now it’s your turn. The next time someone asks you to do something you’ve always wanted to do, yet were too scared or uncomfortable to do, do it. Give it a try, and see what you get back. You may be quite surprised.

#comfort-zone, #creativity, #happiness, #health, #money, #motivation, #psychology, #thinking-error, #wellness

Finding Comfort in Being Uncomfortable: Part 1

There are countless quotes, books, and movies about “living outside of your comfort zone.” What this actually means, however, is open to great interpretation, and, I think, changes for people over time. How you view the idea of living outside of your comfort zone is a product of how you were raised, how you think, the context you live and work in, and those that you surround yourselves with.

Further, the idea and actually experience of a comfort zone, and the corresponding uncomfortableness that comes with being outside of it is different for everyone. As there are over 7.5 billion people on the planet, we can actually say that there are over 7.5 billion different comfort zones.

Growth is the byproduct or result of living outside of your comfort zone. In fact, the only real growth there is is found outside of your comfort zone. There is never any growth inside of a comfort zone. This may seem like common sense, and it is, however, most people have a hard time realizing this truth. Why? Simple. If feels really good inside of our comfort zones.

Who would want to intentionally create situations or contexts that challenged this comfortability? Really, not many. Most people are perfectly content inside their comfort zones. Yet, if these people were to examine themselves on the inside, they would find that this contentment is covering up other issues.

Sometimes being outside of your comfort zone happens unintentionally, which can happen when we are faced with a very stressful situation or life event that we didn’t see coming. If we are open to it, there is also growth in these experiences.

Learning how to find comfort in being uncomfortable is manifested by doing things that we find uncomfortable often. When we are open to getting outside of our comfort zones often, there is a comfort that comes as a byproduct of the continual practice of being uncomfortable.

As with most everything else, it takes practice to realize this kind of comfort in the uncomfortable. By practice, I simply mean creating intentional contexts that we find uncomfortable, and engaging in these contexts until they no longer feel as uncomfortable. Ultimately, until they feel comfortable.

If you are reading this and thinking, nope, not me, I like my comfort zone and have no need to create intentional contexts of uncomfortability. Very well, that is your choice.

If, however, you are thinking, maybe, or yes, sign me up. Then go out and do one thing today that you’ve been avoiding or putting off because it makes you feel uncomfortable, and see what happens.

If it’s anything like the many experiences I’ve had, yes, you can count on being uncomfortable. Yet, you can also count on that experience providing you a whole lot more, which is only possible by doing things that you find uncomfortable.

Until next time….

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#being-uncomfortable, #comfort-zone, #covid-19, #growth, #human-development, #intention, #life-events, #psychology