A person can look at the top athletes in the world and learn a lot about how to do hard things. The very concept of increasing strength through weight training teaches us this lesson. If you want to increase endurance, do low weights with a lot of repetition. On the other hand, if you want to increase muscle strength, do heavier weights with fewer repetitions. This idea translates to the classroom. When you begin practicing a skill a lot, you will begin to gain mastery in that subject. Similarly, push yourself to learn a new and difficult topic, and you gain confidence in your own ability and the other subjects start looking a whole lot easier.
When you begin to condition yourself to do hard things, you will start to believe that it’s okay to feel uncomfortable. Teaching yourself to be uncomfortable can be a huge stepping stone to reaching your goals. Once you know that it’s okay to do hard things you will gain a psychological advantage when faced with adversity. Essentially, you become experienced with dealing with difficulty. All of a sudden, things that may have seemed stressful to you in the past, may not seem as challenging. This happens when you put yourself in situations that are just a little bit passed your comfort zones.
Most people’s biggest obstacle in going outside their comfort zone is the fear of failure. A person may stop trying something because they are not good at it right away and they feel vulnerable. However, it is important to remind yourself, when this happens, that you may miss out on an incredible opportunity. A term often used to describe that space that is just outside of your comfort zone is “optimal anxiety.” This is a place where your stress levels are just slightly higher than normal. There isn’t a huge amount of stress that prevents you from being productive, but just enough where you maximize your performance. Growth happens outside of our comfort zones and not within it.
Keep challenging yourself to do hard things. The next time you feel that little bit of fear, instead of taking a step back to feel safe, take a step forward and grow. The same way you need to lift heavier weights to challenge your muscles to gain strength. You will find yourself feeling more comfortable and able to push yourself a little bit more and reach higher levels of performance. For this weeks #MakeItHappen, we challenge you to try something hard and outside your comfort zone. Let us know what you are passionate about by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or share your story and tag us on social.
Go make it happen,
Luly & the YTeach Team
“Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.”
– Robert G. Allen