Many of us these days are feeling overwhelmed. Not only by the information we receive but also with the sense of choices and opportunities we now have. As a result, we often feel uncomfortable that we may be missing out on something important. And this in turn just adds to our daily stress, our sense of overwhelm and a sense of nervous fear.
With all the technology, with all the information and contradictions we read and see, it is important, I believe, for us to become comfortable with the uncomfortable.
What do I mean by this?
Throughout our lives, we always revert to what is comfortable and this comfort zone becomes our habits. We know that to change a habit we have to push ourselves to feel uncomfortable in a sense until we come to feel comfortable with the new habit.
For example, we know that if we want to be fit and healthy, we need to be doing something different than sitting down at a desk all day. We need to regularly exercise, eat differently, let go of technology at night, sleep longer and so on.
Some of these new activities might at first feel uncomfortable however by diligently pursuing a new activity, over time we know it becomes commonplace and we can start to feel a sense of comfort in its repetition.
The sad thing is our dislike for change is underlined by a sense of fear – in fact as a coach I see this as our default place. We allow the news, technology and social media to make fear the norm. All we read, see and hear on the news is the negative. Why because it validates our existing comfort zone and so we don’t seek change. In the end, everything is reduced to its simplest message of fear and danger.
With the abundance of information and knowledge sharing, our sense of comfort is being tested. There is so much information out there that we no longer know what to do nor who to believe. Thus we enter our discomfort zone.
However, do we really have to accept the message of fear, when we have random acts of kindness popping up all over social media?
This impacts our ability to choose, to make the so called “right” decision. We become lost in a world of choices, options and indecisions, and our daily stress levels keep going up.
If we know that the amount of information and knowledge is going to increase over the years to come, then does it not make sense that the options in our decisions are also going to increase?
If we accept this, then we have to work on becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable. I believe this is what we have to accept going forward.
We have to explore this uncommon place – what I call our discomfort zone.
How can you do this? Here are a couple of suggestions:
1. Every month, try something new – just one new thing. You only have to do it for a month. When you start, acknowledge the sense of discomfort and how strange it feels. Find the positive in this new activity.
2. Explore your sense of discomfort whenever it comes up – what causes you to feel uncomfortable? Are you feeling some fear? Where do you think it comes from?
3. If you are feeling overwhelmed, understand clearly the decision you are making – be very precise in what you are deciding. For example, don’t just say you are looking for a job. Say you are looking for a role as a Marketing Manager in an international fast-moving consumer company with x$ and a career path. The clearer you are and the more focused you can be, the less overwhelmed you become with information. I find that most people are not that clear on the decisions they are seeking to make.
What would be the possibilities in your life when you start to feel comfortable with the uncomfortable?