Everyone takes a different path to success. Some people achieve success quickly, and then struggle to keep it or remain happy. Other people struggle for a long time, then something clicks and success happens fast. And, for many of us, success comes like a slow march up long hill often taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back.
Whatever your path to success, there are certain universal truths. The first is that we are not born with success habits or successful thought patterns. We must learn and acquire them over time. And, to do this we must change. We must get out of our comfort zone.
The Comfort Zone
The comfort zone is living within our current thinking patterns, surroundings and habits. It is not stressful. It is not cumbersome. It is easy and safe. Our subconscious mind likes this, and is happy. This is the comfort zone.
Neuroscience tells us that the subconscious mind is designed to protect us. Anything new or unfamiliar is potentially dangerous. This design served us well when we were cave men. However, in today’s world, many things are new and unfamiliar, but are seldom dangerous.
For example, our conscious mind develops a vision for success. We set goals and figure out the skills and habits we need to develop to achieve them. The problem is this doesn’t fit the thinking patterns and habits stored in our subconscious mind. Our subconscious mind resists the change causing cognitive dissonance.
The Uncomfortable Zone
Cognitive dissonance is the psychology term for the uncomfortable zone. Cognitive dissonance is the fight between what the conscious mind wants (success) and what the subconscious mind wants (safety). The internal fight causes an uncomfortable feeling. And if we want to make positive changes in our life, we must get used to dealing with the uncomfortable feeling of change. The more changes we want to make, the more we must get used to feeling uncomfortable.
The bottom line is if we’re not willing to get uncomfortable, we will not change and we will not succeed!
Image courtesy of: Jon Read
Here are three simple but effective ways to get yout of our comfort zone, and start heading towards the success you deserve:
By continually talking about, thinking about, and writing about the way things are, you are continually reinforcing those very same brain pathways that got you to where you are today.
To change this cycle, focus instead on thinking, talking and writing about the reality you want to create. You must flood your unconscious with thoughts and images of this new reality.
One way to do this – one way to stretch your comfort zone – is to bombard your subconscious mind with new images—of a big bank account, a trim healthy body, exciting work, interesting friends and memorable experiences.
Affirmations are simple positive statements declaring specific goals in their completed states. Although they sound rather basic at that level, these empowering mantras have profound effects on the conscious and unconscious mind.
Affirmations are reminders to your unconscious mind to stay focused on your goals and to come up with solutions to challenges and obstacles that might get in the way.
Lean Into It
Another way to move beyond your comfort zone is to lean into that goal that you want to accomplish.
You just start.
You lean into it.
You see what it feels like.
And you find out if you want to keep going—instead of sitting on the sidelines deliberating, reflecting and contemplating.
Write down 3 things that scare you and commit to doing at least one of them today. Make that phone call, send that email, commit, sign up – get started in whatever way you can.
Do the thing you must do to get out of your comfort zone. Tomorrow do the next thing on your list, and the day after…the next.
Creating a successful life requires successful thinking and successful habits. Since we are not born with these skills, we must learn them. Learning requires change, and change is uncomfortable. By learning to get comfortable with the uncomfortable process of change, we can acquire success skills more easily.
Affirmations, leaning in to change, and taking immediate action are three powerful techniques to master the process of positive change.