To do what is comfortable, is human nature. The average human would always choose the path of least resistance over the road less travelled. And yet, a kite can only rise up against the direction of the wind.
When we challenge our rational mind to do the seemingly impossible, or something that we might not have skills for, we often surprise ourselves. To borrow from Robert Browning –
Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?
When you feel restless about your goals or feel like you’re not utilising your full potential, it is the perfect time important to start something new. Something that makes you apply beyond your comfort zone.
Going above and beyond your comfort zone not only enables creativity but also boosts your confidence. It can help instil faith and conviction in your own abilities, which is an extremely contagious mindset.
What if your entire team did the same and stretched their limits? What are all the things you could achieve together?
Presenting a list of activities that can help you and your team break through the complacency of the comfort zone –
Be it as a recreational activity or an extreme sport, it is a perfect remedy to get your adrenaline pumping. Be it for a tandem or a solo jump, it takes a strong heart to even decide that you are going to do this.
From boarding an airplane with your heart in your mouth and a parachute strapped on, to gathering all your strength and taking that jump – everything about this activity is going to push your current boundaries.
It is said that every problem contains its own solution. However, our day-to-day distractions keeps us from looking at solutions to our problems.
But, within the contemplative silence of meditation practice, you still your mind to delve into its depths and find the highest version of yourself. There are numerous studies that show us that a calm mind the power to make better decisions. It also allows for an optimistic outlook towards life and its many challenges.
Leaders like Jeff Weiner, William Clay Ford Jr, and even Oprah herself credit their innovation, creativity, and success to regular meditation practice.
3. Running a marathon
Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle said,
“Endurance is patience concentrated.”
Running a marathon isn’t just a matter of physical training but it is about developing the mindset to see it through. The strength that you draw from the experience lets you take on other challenges with more confidence.
You can even make running a marathon a team activity and prepare together. The following links can help you set up your next ( or first ) marathon –
Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM)
4. Bungee Jumping
Bungee Jumping has always been a great way for people to face fear and push through it. A great way to challenge yourself and your team, it is must try for people looking to break out of their comfort zones.
“A body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it.”
It is only when we move, engage in some action, or chase our goals that we grow.
This great exercise makes individuals and teams go through many unplanned/ unforeseen challenges. The victorious feeling of staying the course and finishing the trek is unmatched. This experience can impart valuable lessons about collaboration and staying focused.
7. Scuba Diving
‘Corel reefs grow best in agitated water.’
In a similar manner, new challenges broaden our problem solving capabilities. The underwater world is quite serene and quiet. Apart from your own breathing, you won’t hear any other sound.
A perfect place to practically empty your mind and choose what do you want to fill it with.
8. River Rafting
The path across rough waters is a fine metaphor that truly reflects any team or even an individual’s journey.
With the market conditions being unpredictable and ever changing, a team has to always stay prepared. A thrilling team activity, this one is not to be missed.
9. Rock Climbing
Rock climbing requires persistence and patience. The thrill of conquering a dangerous peak can fill one with passion and zeal. It also can help clear you gain clarity, and allow for a broader view of things.
Both literally, and figuratively.
10. Intensive yoga
Yoga is an ancient source of body-mind mastery. Not limited to just physical flexibility, it also allows for sustainable mental growth. By taking complete charge of our breathing, concentration, body, and mind, we can learn to live mindfully.
11. Get to know yourself
One of our team members wasn’t able to follow a health regime as they were not an early bird. It took a board-breaking session to make them realise that they could get up late and still manage an effective workout.
The idea, here, is to kick-start the engine first. You have to think about what’s bothering you. Is it ill health, stinky finance, an irregular job, cold relationships, or something else entirely?
Comfort zones are not just where you feel at ease. Sometimes, comfort zones can also be an unhealthy situation you have made our peace with. This complacent attitude can hamper your growth.
That’s why it is important to know it well, to handle it well.
12. Get better first – being good can come later
The understated reason of a ‘bother list’ is the Know-Do Gap. When we are being honest with ourselves, each one of us knows the ways to overcome our problems. However, knowing doesn’t solve the problem, doing does.
This ‘doing’ becomes enormous when we determine to settle for nothing less than the best in what we do. This quest for perfection can often lead to procrastination. The idea of doing it perfectly at the first attempt is not ambitious, but rather, is destructive. It often stops people from taking that first step.
Therefore, it is important to begin. Whether you are successful or not, taking the first step, in itself, is victorious enough. So, instead of waiting for the right moment, the right teacher, the perfect workout clothes, just start.
The key to better health, after all, isn’t in running a marathon, but rather, in jogging daily. And, always going further than you did, yesterday. And, before you know it, you will be crossing the finish line of many a marathons.
13. Feel you are already there
Rumi put it beautifully when he said,
What you seek, is seeking you
Once you start, celebrate each and every milestone you conquer. Celebrate how far you’ve come even as you push forward. Remind yourself that if you can win once, you can win again.
14. Practice Gratitude
When we start taking the things we have for granted, we get complacent. This complacency, in turn, stops us from pushing ourselves. Thus, it is important for you to practice conscious gratitude for all you have, while working hard to strive for better things and habits.
Gratitude allows for humility and also inspires one to reach for seemingly impossible goals, with confidence.
15. Practice till it gets easy
When learning a new skill or developing a new habit, the first few days are the easiest. You are excited and eager to succeed. But, after a week or so, your motivation starts to fade. And you find yourself slacking off. You find easy excuses to justify this and procrastinate till you eventually give up.
However, if you really want to step out of your comfort zone, you need to stay consistent. Whether it’s playing the guitar everyday, taking a language class, or even getting up early in the morning. You need to push through your excuses and stay at it.
The more you practice, the easier it will get. And before you know it, you would have mastered a new instrument or a embraced a new habit.
16. Read a book every month
Reading, as an activity, could never be overrated. Pushing yourself to read even a few pages everyday can help you get into the habit of reading. Reading not only allows for an improved vocabulary but opens your mind to new perspectives and ideas.
Leaders across industries encourage reading and swear by its benefits. Studies have also shown that reading has long term health benefits and reduces the risk of Neuro issues like the Alzheimer’s disease.
17. Wash your teeth while standing on one leg
“It gets you to balance,”
says Mike Roizen, M.D., who is the Cleveland Clinic’s Chief Wellness officer and co-author of the best-selling YOU series of books. Also, this habit will get you to stay focused and alert. Which, in turn, can help you kick-start your morning on the right note.
18. Take an Improv class
Improv is a great way to experience something new and outside your comfort zone. A wonderful team activity, it can help you become more confident and sociable.
For organisations, attending an improv workshop could also serve as an engaging team building activity.
19. Watch a show in foreign language
In the era of Netflix and chill, web series have become a part of our daily routine. But, if you want to do something out-of-the-box, try watching shows in different languages. Not only will you be able to learn a new language (somewhat) but also, experience new cultures and historical facts.
Casa Del Papel managed to make converts of us all, didn’t it?
20. Make friends outside your industry
If you look around, you will find that most of your friends are in the same industry as you, or are somehow involved with it. And even though, this is perfectly normal, it is not ideal.
The more you actively interact with people from different backgrounds, the more you will learn. You will be able to hold conversations that don’t necessarily center around your work, and come across as a well read person. These connections will also help you develop fresh new perspectives, and an enriched point of view.
This brings us to the end of this list. Do you like the ideas shared? Do join the conversation. We would love to hear from you. Also, feel free to share more ideas help draw individuals and teams out of their comfort zone? Do join the conversation.