“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – Neale Donald Walsch
Our comfort zone.
It’s a safe place.
It’s a comfortable place.
It’s a place were we have daily habits, rituals & routines that make us feel safe.
And it’s true.. We all need a place where we feel relaxed, at ease and comfortable.
But it’s also a place were we limit ourselves. If we never try new things, take a risk or break our daily routine, we won’t experience much personal growth. We’ll put off chasing our dreams and settle for the mediocre.
A few years ago I had the dream to travel the world. I had a well paying job, a house and a good social life. One day I decided to get out of my comfort zone and I quit my job, sold my house, and bought a one-way-ticket to Bangkok.
At the start of 2016 Chantalle and I wrote down our new years resolutions. We decided to do a few things this year that would push us out of our comfort zone.
One of these things was doing acting classes. For both Chantalle and I this was a big challenge and something that we both found a bit scary to do.
But we did it!
Together we did a 2-day acting class and we really pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone. We learned a lot about ourselves and we also got some great insights about having happy and fulfilling relationships (the scene we had to do involved a couple that was in a long-term relationship).
Here are the 4 most important things and insights I gained from doing acting classes and pushing myself out of my comfort zone:
1. It’s a BIG boost for your self-confidence
Doing acting classes made me feel so much more confident.
I never thought that I would be able to perform in front of a group of people. Only the thought of being the centre of attention made my stomach turn itself around. But I did it.. I was perfectly fine and, to be honest, I didn’t even notice the audience watching me.
This made me realize that I am much more capable than I think. I now feel confident that I can achieve anything I want. I just have to push myself out of my comfort zone.
2. Anger is a dead-end street
In our class we had to play different versions of the same scene.
The scene was about a couple in a long-term relationship and the guy was addicted to playing poker. He came home after a night of poker and had to tell his wife that he just lost $ 30,000.
We had to play one version of the scene where we both had to be very angry at each other. We had to raise our voice, shout at each other and make the other person feel like they were not good enough.
Doing this particular scene made me realize that being angry at each other doesn’t get you anywhere. It’s a dead end street. The conversation just ends and a possible solution is far far away.
It really showed me that when you get angry you have to say “STOP” to yourself. Think about what you’re going to say next. Instead of getting angry, it’s much better to have a constructive mindset, even if you think the other person is wrong. Anger is just a response to something underlying. Maybe you misunderstood each other or maybe somebody’s needs aren’t met in the way they want.
Listening to the other person without any form of judgement and trying to find out why they are angry is one of the best things you can do for your relationships.
3. Pride is a relationship killer
Pride means that when somebody tells you something that you don’t like you’ll defend yourself.
There is a big chance this is what you think: “How dare that person say or do something like that to me”.
You put your walls up and you prepare for a fight. You don’t want to admit that you were wrong and you’re convinced that the other person is wrong.
You have to realize that this attitude, like anger, is not going to get you anywhere (even if you are right). This was very visible during the acting classes. A few times the spouse was being very proud. There was nothing wrong with his behaviour and he was trying to blame the other person. Very soon the conversation came to a dead end.
If you can recognise pride in yourself, stop yourself in your tracks and be humble, you’ll see your relationships magically transform for the better.
Here is an example that helps you to understand this better:
A couple is driving in their car and the wife thinks her husband is driving too fast. She mentions it to him and this makes him really agitated. He thinks: “How does she dare to criticise my driving, I’m a very good and safe driver”. But his wife just feels a bit scared and driving a car makes her anxious about getting an accident. Instead of asking his wife why she wants him to slow down, he feels attacked. And next thing they get into a big fight.
In this example the husband could have responded much better. Instead of getting agitated and feel attacked he could have tried to find out why his wife asked him to slow down. So next time you feel that pride is taking over, stop yourself in your tracks and think about your response. Realize that a lot of things are not worth fighting about.
4. Almost everyone has a personal struggle
I have to admit that I was pretty nervous going to these acting classes.
I’m afraid of making a fool of myself and terrified that people will laugh at me. It’s something that I’ve struggled with for a long time.
I always thought this was a weakness. I was hiding it and didn’t take unnecessary risks. To be honest, I always thought I had to be perfect. Without flaws.
But during acting classes I realized that nobody is perfect. Everybody has things that they struggle with.
People struggled with shyness, their emotions, pride and assertiveness.
It made me realize that we are all humans. And as humans we have struggles and nobody is perfect. I felt like a big weight was lifted off my shoulders. For the first time I realized that I don’t have to perfect. And that it’s perfectly fine to have struggles and also openly admit them.
Boost your personal growth
By doing acting classes I’ve learned that one of the best ways to grow yourself is to get out of your comfort zone.
It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes or look like a fool. Everybody makes mistakes!
The most important thing is to have a positive attitude towards life. An attitude to grow in life. An attitude to try new things. And an attitude to be eager to learn from the mistakes you make.
Over the next few days I challenge you to do something that pushes you out of your comfort zone. Of course you don’t have to acting classes like me. Just do something that scares you or makes you nervous.
And it doesn’t have to cost much. Before doing 2 full days of acting classes Chantalle and I did a 3 hour free acting class. Have a look around in your town or city to see what you can do. If the thought of doing it makes you feel uncomfortable then you’re on the right track..
Just pick ONE thing and do it!
I guarantee you that afterwards you’ll feel really proud of yourself for doing it. And you’ll notice that you’ve stretched your comfort zone. You’ll see things from a new perspective and you feel like you’re moving forward in life.
Let me know in the comment section what you did to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Also if you’ve done things in the past that pushed you forward in life feel free to share what it was and what you’ve learned from it.