Importance of Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone

by Richard Furleigh

Wake up, drink coffee, shower, work, lunch, work, meeting, home. Routines breed comfort in your day to day life, and in some ways they can help regulate your life and help keep you on task. Simplicity in some aspects of your life (like Steve Jobs’s obsession with jeans and black turtlenecks) can help bring creativity to other aspects of your life, but venturing outside of that from time to time is vital to helping your mind stay agile and flexible.

If you’ve ever run across people who can never seem to change anything in their life there is a reason for that, and needless to say those people are often not the most inspired people in the world. In the tech world I see this all the time and essentially it boils down to voluntary ignorance. There is something new to learn or try yet somehow this inspires fear; this isn’t limited to any age, position, or anything else. Last week I wrote about a friends company who is making them do cold calls to drum up business. As a fortune 100 company this would be embarrassing for me to ask my employees to do. Yet those who are in charge at these stoic institutions refuse to use the same time that they are wasting with the antique to work on a new outreach and cultivation program that they could implement.

This serves as an example in the workplace but there are times in our personal lives we need to break out and do something different as well. It’s colloquial, but the phrase “if you aren’t moving forward you’re moving backward” does have a lot of weight to it. One of my professors is fond of saying that entropy will kill all systems that do not reinvent themselves. Now it’s not about reinventing the wheel every day, but simply finding new ways to work your mind so that you don’t find yourself completely stuck into patterns that will eventually sabotage you.

If you find yourself stuck in a loop here are a few really easy things that you can do to help break out of it:

  1. Dress completely different than your normal style: This may seem like a small thing but I know that how I’m dressed can affect my mood and how I feel about myself and can get you thinking a little differently.
  2. Go take a walk around in a park or space that you haven’t been before: The new surroundings may inspire
  3. Get food at that new place you’ve been meaning to try: A different experience may bring a fresh feeling to the rest of your day. Just don’t get the safe option for your meal.

This may be a simplified list, but it usually doesn’t take much to kick start your creativity and move past those blocks we construct in our heads.

My challenge for you is simple: do one out of the box thing this week. Go sing karaoke, drive the LONG way to work, something that is more than a little weird even. Just see where that decision takes you! If you have some fun with it, or have any other ideas for ways to break out, let us know! We’d love to hear about it in the comments. Until next time Pengminions!

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