A Brain Hack That Will Change Your Perspective On Life (part 3)
The Comfort Zone
I’ve learned two things from detrimental experiences with friends, teammates, and family members:
the brain is extremely powerful when exercised properly
comfort zones distinguish people's success.
The decision to shed “old skin” and seek true happiness has been a powerful heuristic in the development of my brain. Not only by using the equivalent of 20 watts of power (which is surreal), but constantly growing by replenishing new cells & transmitting neurons and welcoming in cleansing thoughts of mindfulness..
What does this mean?
For example, you have been blessed with an natural energy source that material things cannot match. In China, I was able to sit down and have a conversation with a monk and he explained to my the importance of mindfulness & cognitive thinking in their culture. Stick With It, a book by Sean Young, gives great examples of how important knowledge-of-self is to hacking your brain potential. For many it will take shedding a lot of “old skin” to obtain the maximum capacity. It is also scientifically proven that people don’t like change. Many would rather stay comfortable with the same incomes from work or stick with a similar group of friends that look and think like themselves. This is the comfort zone. Imagine life outside of your comfort zone at an early age. What would your life look like if you had you stepped out your comfort level by embracing newer inputs, experiences, and social groups? Embracing anything new is always a challenging decision for anyone not accustomed to leaving their comfort zones. Comfort zones are artificial mental boundaries that give a sense of security based on previous habits which ultimately dictate our paths. In short, breaking those comfort zones will provoke new thoughts, and cleansing thoughts lead to new insight (which ultimately leads better habits and actions).
When life feels useless, overly comfortable, uncomfortable or simply isn’t going the way you envisioned, understand that our past experiences and habits molded us. There is good and the bad. There is glory and struggle. We are constantly creating our identity and growing into new skin with the choices we make. Subtle changes out of your daily habits can be all the spark you need to leave your comfort zones. Decisions to embrace the new expands our growth zone to where discomfort becomes your new comfort, which can lead you to become a better version of yourself. This is why self-awareness and knowledge-of-self is so important.
Optimum performances are times when individuals feel totally immersed in what they’re doing and the feeling is described as ‘outside of ordinary’. If we learn to find comfort in optimal anxiety --- aka: the level of anxiety that athletes get before the big game -- we could push our limits to expand our lives so we can avoid short term pleasures and immerse in a life way outside the ordinary. Leaving that bubble of comfort will lead to vivid visions, experiences and people. We can evoke better skills, creative thoughts and ultimately live a more fulfilled life. Ironic that the most comfort and happiness exists outside of something called ‘the comfort zone’ isn’t it?
Conventional wisdom teaches us to trick our minds to provoke action, but neuro hacks teach us that once you take an action your mind will convince itself. Neuro hacks like changing your thought process or how you approach things will help you in taking subtle, small steps in changing your daily routine, and will eventually change your entire perspective.
Through my personal experiences of practicing mindfulness, I’ve been able to improve my skill sets as a competitive athlete (and other endeavors). This mindset has transformed my daily habits physically, mentally, and even spiritually.
I believe people use the terms ‘introversion’ or ‘extroversion’ as an excuse to stay in their mental boundaries. I think most people are a mix of both. The biggest misconceptions about these personality traits are: people believe extroverts are obnoxiously loud attention seekers and introverts are quiet and want to shut the world out. Maybe both of these definitions are accurate, but it’s really about an individual's mental energies and comfort zones. They both carry unique traits that help them each thrive toward their success, but they also have traits that can lead to their failures.
For example, introverts are more prone to think before they talk and have more innovative qualities. Although some famous innovators were extroverts (Steve Jobs), most are introverts (Einstein, Newton, Tesla, etc.). Contrary to most beliefs, the best salespeople are good listeners--the direct opposite of the talkative extrovert. With that being said, introverts may overthink certain situations and lack confidence to evolve in certain areas leading to failure as opposed to a daring, thrill-seeking extrovert.
I recently discovered that personality labels can be detrimental in keeping people from evolving outside their mental boundaries. If you’re sold on the idea that you were born to be a certain type of person, you’ll be more prone to make excuses instead of expanding your growth. Rather you are seeking to be one way or fighting to stay another, try to be adaptable to seeking all opportunities of growth. Life may require us to be many versions of our real selves and we should just try to learn from all of it. I consider myself neither introvert or extrovert, but I use energies from each trait when they’re needed in my quest towards happiness.
Introverts, be proud of what energizes you because your mentality is needed in this world, but understand that there are benefits to stepping outside your bubble. Extroverts, be proud of what energizes you because fearlessness is needed in this world, but understand the benefits of stepping outside your comfort zone by nurturing yourself.
When life calls you to become more spiritually-aware and shed away that old skin, you’ll know, but probably you will have an urge to ignore the message. The messages can be hard to understand when you’re not aware of who you are. I’m talking about the ability to take control of your life path by using knowledge and your experiences to manifest better outcomes. Small, subtle actions toward changing and “shedding old skin” could be a life investment you and your family can use toward moving forward in life in a healthy, spiritually-guided way.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
I leave you with this: Conventional wisdom says that different thinking will lead to actions, BUT I believe forcing action will further convince your mind that you’re on the right path in seeking to shed that old skin because simple actions create our reality. In other words, the body can trick the mind to success if you choose to embrace the new. You more than likely have the same food on your plate and same mattress on your bed as me. Push yourself beyond comfort by starting small and now, but understand that happiness may require some unusual isolation and discomfort. You can have everything you ever dreamed of and find yourself no happier than the invisible homeless men walking the street. Biggie said it best ‘Mo money, Mo problems’ which means more responsibility and ultimately more headaches. To become a happy and successful professional athlete, entrepreneur, and humanitarian it took pleasure, purpose, and pride!