I want you to imagine that when you wake up tomorrow, everything you do will be done to the best of your ability. You’ll give 110% effort to each activity you’ve planned for your day, disregarding any fears you may have. No obstacles. No negative thinking. No procrastination. Do you think this attitude will impact how your day turns out?
We’re all creatures of habit, preferring to be comfortable with daily routines. We get up about the same time every day, we have the same foods for breakfast, we drink the same flavor coffee every day, we shop at the same stores all the time, we do the same things at night, including eating the same small group of dinner entrees that we know we enjoy and like….and we go to bed at about the same time. Routines, routines, routines…………we like to be COMFORTABLE, and we do NOT like change.
How about you? Do you consider change wonderful and exciting, as long it’s happening to someone else?
Our lives are in a constant state of flux, so we tend to gravitate towards our comfort zones. It seems too risky to try something new.
Now, comfort zones are neither good nor bad, but most people mistakenly think they perform their best when they are in a safe and familiar place.
For me, I truly dislike being comfortable. If it gets to be too much, I’ll create some chaos and shake up my world a bit. I get extremely bored with my life if my daily routines begin to feel “always the same.” It drives me to the point at which I must either create a new product, start a new business, buy a new business, or completely shake up my routines. It drives my wife crazy when I START a sentence with- “Babe, I have an idea”- It’s been a running joke in the family for over 20 years!
No matter how enthusiastic you are, you AND your business will stagnate if you don’t take responsibility in your job and life. Anything not making progress is on its way to becoming stagnant and boring, which is to be avoided when pursuing and embracing our lives with zest and zeal.
Here are some exercises that can help shake the bushes of your life:
- Try a new restaurant this week. I challenge you to try a cuisine you’re unaccustomed to. It can be BBQ, sushi, Chinese, Korean, Mexican, French, fast food, pizza, or any other style of food that is NOT in your regular rotation.
- Try buying different brands at the grocery store, such as deodorant, toothpaste, or dish soap, frozen pizza. Did you know that the store brands or generic brands are typically the exact same product that is inside the boxes of the big brands? It’s called private labelling….and it’s when a company wants to come out with a…. let’s say……a new brand of toothpaste. Instead of investing potentially millions of dollars on equipment, and computers, and raw materials…. the company will go find someone who is ALREADY manufacturing toothpaste and purchase the product from them…. with YOUR packaging. Then, you are off to the races with your OWN marketing, your OWN branding, your OWN sales systems. Give it a try!
- Take a new route to work. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much beauty there is out there. If I have a choice, I will ALWAYS take the country road…. even if it adds a few extra minutes to my trip.
- Listen to a style of music you typically don’t listen to. Scan your radio, download Amazon Music, or iHeartRadio. If you are a Classic Rock junkie…. try listening to some smooth jazz, or new age music, or country. I think your brain may like what it hears!
- Sample a different dinner recipe for seven straight nights. Google and research recipes add the ingredients to your weekly shopping list. Give your culinary palate a shake up! Cooking is one of the purest joys that we have……. it’s an opportunity to create something that NOBODY has ever created before…. right in the confines of your kitchen or on your back deck!
- Read a book completely out of your comfort zone. Now, this one may be a little difficult. We all tend to stay in our lanes when it comes to our routines….and reading is no exception. I am addicted to non-fiction……. business books, autobiographies, and other educational-type books. Every now and then, I will download a fictional book just to give my mind a break. It’s actually kind of fun, to be honest with you!
- Switch the side of the bed you sleep on. You may have to sweet-talk your spouse or significant other, but you’ll be amazed how different it makes you feel.
- If you have longer hair, try a different hairstyle, or add some color.
- Pick an obscure subject you know very little about. Research and read about it, watch videos on it, then write a five hundred-word essay. Don’t worry about making it sound like a Pulitzer prize-winning document; just pour your heart and effort into making it the best report you’ve ever written.
- Eat and write with your opposite hand for twenty-four hours. Don’t worry about dropped spaghetti. Practice writing your name twenty-five times and see how much you can improve. This exercise activates the opposite side of your brain, rewarding you with a very powerful sensation after a short time. I try this technique two-to-three times a week, just to keep things a little off-centered.
- Instead of salting your food, try seasonings like salad dressings, hot sauces, pepper, BBQ sauces, vinegars, and spices for flavor. Make this a fun project and see what kinds of flavors stimulate your taste buds!
If you keep doing what you have always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten. It’ll be virtually impossible to break out of your mental funk unless you shake up your mental branches to stimulate your foggy brain.
As Albert Einstein noted, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Take a risk! You might not like it….and then again…. you may LOVE it!
BUT you’ll never know unless you try.
If you step up to the plate, you might strike out. If you don’t try, you’ll never know the true joy of hitting a home run. Barry Bonds struck out over fifteen hundred times during his career, but he has also hit more home runs than anyone else in Major League Baseball history. He took a LOT of swings!
When you take a risk or face a fear, you move forward with your life. As challenging as it may sound, this is a simple formula in living life to the fullest and growing your business as well.
Here’s another problem with comfort zones. If you’re good, staying comfy can keep you from becoming great! That in and of itself should motivate you to get off your butt!
Lack of Discipline can also hold us back from realizing our full potential.
Show me a successful businessperson, and I’ll show you someone who is disciplined and dedicated to his or her mission. Success and failure are habits and self-fulfilling prophecies. If you don’t prioritize and build positive habits, you will just stagnate and create your own demise.
In high school, I competed in the 400-meter dash on a national level and became an All-American my Junior and Senior years. Between my coach, parents, friends, and competition, I was able to create a very strong set of goals I wanted to accomplish with my running. At one point, my times were on track to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon. Unfortunately, a torn hamstring ended my college sprinting career, forcing me to retire long before I was ready.
But that experience left an indelible lifelong impact. Athletics is a powerful way to learn about self-discipline and setting goals. I know that my core values and beliefs are firmly rooted in the training I received from competitive sports.
Do you wait to see how you feel before making plans? Are you easily sidetracked, or do you have a sense of discipline? The key to staying focused and dedicated isn’t hard if it’s something you love and are passionate about.
Any discipline you desire must be built up gradually. If your goal is to run a marathon next year, you can’t start out by running twenty-six miles on your first day of training. Start small and work your way up!
Then there’s FEAR-
Our innate fear of trying something new has been part of human nature since the dawn of civilization. We tend to avoid any kind of risk if it has anything to do with taking us out of our comfort zone.
Fear stops many people from taking risks. But if we aren’t willing to walk out on the limb, we’ll never get to the best fruit that the tree of life has to offer.
Overcoming our fear is how we learn to do just about everything in our lives, such as eating different foods for the first time, driving a car, talking to strangers, speaking up at meetings, or playing catch with our kids. They all come with certain levels of risk.
Now, trying a new variety of apple vs. investing $1,000,000 into a new business are both risky in their own unique ways. As humans, we like to take “measured” risks, meaning we can mitigate what may happen to us.
Pessimists and negative thinkers say things like, “You might get struck by lightning if you go outside,” or “Did you know over one hundred people a day are killed in car wrecks in the US, which means I shouldn’t drive?” Boy, what a waste of a person’s great potential and mind space to think so negatively!
Nobody likes to lose, but the only loss in not trying AT ALL.
How do YOU overcome negative talk with yourself and people you meet? Do you seem to spend all your time trying to convince them to be positive? Well, here’s some tough advice………If you are unable to convince these people to be more open to having a positive outlook, then it’s time to move on. Life is too short to allow yourself to be surrounded with people who attempt to bring you down, whether it’s unintentional or not.
It’s completely cool to surround yourself with people who espouse ideas opposite to yours. This can open your thinking to new ideas and creative problem solving. BUT…. negative thinking has no place in your 86,400-second day!
In my business life, I am kind of ruthless. I’m an extremely aggressive marketer, a pretty good salesperson who knows how to close, and I know how to find niches in the marketplace that are not being occupied by others…. Plus, I’ve learned how to focus my efforts and energies into attaining my goals. I call these my SUPERPOWERS, and you have YOUR own list of superpowers as well. It’s a list of skill sets and strengths that give you the competitive edge over others in your market. Can you tell me what your top 3 Superpowers are? If not, that’s your homework assignment for this week. Give it some thought and write down what YOU feel makes you unique and different as a humanoid.
Here’s the thing……… Just like you, I didn’t discover these techniques on my own……not even close! They have been created over the many decades of experience, meeting a vast multitude of different people…. who in turn have different strengths and weaknesses. It’s been said that we…. you and I…. are a combination of the 5 people we spend the most amount of time with….and I don’t know about you, but I want to make sure that I spend as MUCH time as possible with people that will have a POSITIVE effect on my life and build me up…. NOT break me down.
Again, this goes back to our comfort zones………. we don’t like change….and we will resist change at every corner…if we think it will bring us some kind of stress or consternation.
I encourage you to try AT LEAST 5 of the tips I listed above and see how it changes your perspective. Who knows, you may find out that you are more ready for a new routine than you knew.
Unless you try, you will never know!
Written by Mitche Graf.
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