“Do one thing every day that scares you.”― Eleanor Roosevelt
That piece of advice from a famous First Lady, rings as true today as ever. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do something stupid or dangerous; rather, that you should challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone.
Everyone develops a comfort zone – that nice, quiet, sometimes boring place in which we try to live; not because it is so satisfying so much as because it is so safe feeling. Our comfort zones require little of us and where there is little required there is also little reward. That is why so many answer the question “How are you doing?” with the response “OK” or “good” and not “Great”. Having a great day requires effort, it requires a victory or some successful new experience. An OK day just requires that nothing unusual happen.
So, Eleanor’s advice is that you do something unusual, something out of the ordinary for you, something that scares you. It could be something as simple as saying hello to people as you pass them when you would normally just keep your head down and walk on by them. Maybe it involves introducing yourself to that person at work whom you been secretly hoping that you could meet somehow or asking that secret someone that you like out for a date. Maybe it means going somewhere that you ‘ve always been afraid to go or perhaps doing something that you’ve hesitated to do out of some unfounded fear.
Getting out of your comfort zone immediately causes a physiological reaction in your body. Your adrenaline flows. Your heart may race. You may begin to sweat. All of those things pass quickly once you break through the barrier that was holding you back and realize that your fears were unfounded. The feeling of dread is quickly replaced by a sense of accomplishment and maybe even joy. Even if the encounter does not pan out as you had hoped, the fact that you got there and did it still gives you a feeling of accomplishment and victory over the fear.
So, take Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice and pick our something that you’ve been avoiding doing or fearing doing and just do it today. At the end of the day, you will have something to look back on and learn from – a new experience. We must always keep pushing against the walls of our comfort zones, moving them further rout; otherwise, they can close in on us and become suffocating.
So when someone asks you, “How are you doing today?, you can answer, “Great, I just met someone new or I did something new, and it feels wonderful.”
Get out of your comfort zone. Do something that scares you today.