Follow Your Discomfort to Skyrocket Your Growth
The Neuroscience Behind Our Tendencies to Stay in Comfort Zones and 3 Steps To Overcome Them
Ever heard of growing pains? Discomfort and growth go hand in hand.
“You need to recognize that the risk of moving toward your dreams is much lower than the slow, everyday punishment you inflict on yourself by suppressing your dream.” — Mel Robbins
Your grand vision requires you to take steps in many new directions. You may even need to blaze new trails. This takes effort. It feels uncomfortable. You may need to put yourself or your work out there before you feel ready. You may need to apply your skills in unexpected and challenging situations.
Your brain does not like to expend energy when it doesn’t have to. Its survival mechanism sees any new action as potential sources of risk. Why strive for more when you have made it this far and are currently alive?
To save its precious energy and protect you from danger, the brain immediately draws your attention to all the things that could go wrong. The excitement of potential success is overshadowed by your brain’s spotlight on the risk of failure. This is the Negativity Bias at work. Your heart constricts, your breathing quickens, you feel the pit in your stomach.
Although more subtle than outright fear, discomfort can be just as powerful in halting our personal growth. When we get so used to feeling discomfort and not acting on our heart’s intent, we create a habit of hesitation. That habit has a biological underpinning — it creates a baseline state from which you then tend to act — or not act.
COMFORTABLE WITH DISCOMFORT
Your most frequently inhabited emotional states and attitudes can be compared to your brain’s home. The brain doesn’t care whether the feelings that you find most familiar are positive or negative. It becomes familiar with them and sets them as a baseline or a “default program.” These feelings and tendencies are your comfort zones. Your brain loves them because they help it conserve energy.
You tell your brain what is important by where you consistently direct your mental energy. It then creates shortcuts to get there faster next time. If you place your attention on…