It's true! I have done many things in my former career that transcend sanity. Well trained insanity yes, but skirting the space between life and death nonetheless. In fact, when the Navy SEAL movie came out "Act of Valor," all of the operations that took place in that movie I performed in one way shape or form, except the part where the guy stopped a Rocket Propelled Grenade with his chest...
What I did was nothing new or revolutionary. Humans have been pushing beyond their comfort zones from the dawn of time and we will continue to do so. It is what makes us human. So why stifle your own sense of humanity by not trying new things?
Performing "acts of valor" that are outside of our comfort zones are not only fun, they are critical to our functioning as human beings. They are physiologically and psychologically necessary for the development of ourselves cognitively, emotionally, and yes, even spiritually. In fact, studies have shown that brain neurons continue to grow and expand well into our late stages of life.
So the old adage of "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" is a bunch of bull.
Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone will keep your brain malleable, refreshed, and energized. It will keep you young. Don't fall into the "we have always done it this way trap." Listen to new ideas; try new approaches to problems and don't let fear control your emotions.
The definition of fear is False Events Appearing Real.
The definition of insanity is doing the same old thing over and over again with no results.
Getting out of one's comfort zone has existed for as long as I can remember. In fact, it is so common that some psychologists call it adventure therapy. Adventure therapy is a simple process where individuals face their biggest fears to give them better self confidence to face other problems in their lives. It's the "if I can make it through that, I can make it through anything" mentality.
Adventure therapy is defined as the use of experiences (often in unfamiliar settings) to create learning that results in change. Here is an example. You fear the ocean. You learn how to SCUBA dive. You conquer your fear of the ocean (in a controlled and well trained environment). This "conquering" ability transfers over to your job as a receptionist and you volunteer at work to run the training for the entire office; something you would not have done previously but it was fueled by your SCUBA diving experience. The Adventure Therapy concept has been around for a long time. Remember the Outward Bound experiences back in the 1970s and 1980s? Same idea. The basic premise is that one will learn more by experiencing difficulty and learning how to overcome adversity. This learning will directly transfer and apply to the work and family environment, facilitating positive change in the individual and an increase in effectiveness.
We cannot talk about adventure therapy without explaining self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is a motivation theory that points to the feeling of effectiveness and confidence that we feel concerning accomplishment of certain goals. By using adventure therapy, in combination with certain techniques of emotional resilience, we begin to see positive change and performance increases in ourselves.
It works; and it is becoming more popular. But you don't have to sign up for a fancy "boot camp" program to reap the benefits or be a Navy SEAL (although both can be a lot of fun). You can conduct your own adventure therapy as long as you make the decision to do something that you don't want to do.
But, ironically, it is those things that we do not want to do that we should do in order to get out of our comfort zones.
Scared of heights? Why not climb that rope, suspended 40-50 feet above the gymnasium floor?
Scared of being in a group setting? Why not join a new organization and volunteer.
Self conscious about the way you sound when you speak? Why not learn a new language and travel to a new country to practice your new found skill?
Have you grown accustomed to that "favorite sport" that you have done since childhood? Why not take up a new sport to both challenge yourself mentally and physically?
Scared of speaking in public? Why not get up and give an impromptu speech at your local organization or business, just to see if you can do it?
I think you get the picture; conquering our fears is the first step in becoming truly resilient; a position that, as humans, we crave.
Adventure therapy transcends the traditional “lie on the couch and tell me about your mother” therapy but it is therapy nonetheless. It is a journey into the deepest and darkest recesses of one’s soul and inner being. Face your fears. Remember the FEAR definition...
Go and conquer those places that you have always feared but never challenged.
So what are you waiting for?
"Lean into it!"
Make sure you check out our Resilience Video of the Day HERE!