Overcoming Fear – Getting Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Monday, November 9th, 2009one Commented
Categorized Under: Dating Manual Author Articles

Overcoming fear is one thing you need to do in order to increase your learning curve greatly. The best way to overcome fear is to get outside of your comfort zone. This is where true growth is made. The challenging thing about getting outside your comfort zone is that it puts everything on the line. Your ego, emotions, and ambitions are all out there for the world to see. Many will stand on the sidelines and criticize you. A great example would be a huge boxing fight where everyone is watching mayweather vs pacquiao, or penn vs sanchez video for example.

It takes big cojones to do this sort of thing. However, the rewards for those that rise up are amazing.
A few examples from my personal life. When I’m in practice for wrestling, or thai boxing, I’ll often ask to spar with a person who is bigger or more experienced than me. This is counter intuitive, and as soon as I see someone who would be a tough match up I get a tense feeling in my gut, then my brain starts questioning if that’s a good course of action. The way to override these feelings is to act quickly. So I’d ask the 220 pound dude with a shaved head to spar before my brain would have time to figure out the implications. That way the logical side of my brain can’t psyche me out of doing what I need is necessary in order to get better.

I’ve gotten my ass kicked a bunch of times by doing this. This may seem like a bad thing, but there’s a silver lining here as well. I was surprised to find that more often than not I did really well, and even exceeded my own expectations, as well as the expectations of others. Had I just stayed content sparring with mediocre people I would’ve stayed comfortable winning, but I would have not learned at a much quicker pace. The mentality of a person that is willing to look bad in order to challenge themselves is crucial in any area of achievement.

Another personal life example is working in the server industry for over 2 years. Though I didn’t like all of it, having to talk to hundreds of people who you don’t know helps a great deal in overcoming fear of social interactions. Being a server also helped me learn work under pressure. Both things were greatly outside of my comfort zone when I started, but I grew tremendously because of trying them out. Getting that type of job isn’t the “be all solution to socializing” that a lot of people make it out to be, but it certainly helps get more social if that is something you desire.

Same thing applies to girls. When you get out of your comfort zone by talking to a hot blond chick, you’re putting a lot of yourself on the line. There’s a chance that you will get shut down, but if you succeed the rewards will be huge. Plus, you really cant fail because you’re learning during this process. So “failure” can be replaced with “learning” here. That’s a key frame of mind to have. Any experience in life that would be deemed as a failure by the masses is actually just another learning experience. Don’t take those small bumps along the journey seriously. They are just there to test how badly you want to achieve your goals. Do you want to achieve them badly enough to go ahead and overcome fear on the most fundamental level?

John Alexander describes this well in Becoming an Alpha Male. One of the primary characteristics of an alpha male is a strong belief in himself. Alpha males act on their fears even if they know there’s a good chance that the will fail. His book has a bunch of awesome exercises and theory that has really helped to get this point illustrated. I really recommend that you read the review here, or grab a copy of the book here.

Here’s a useful exercise that a mentor of mine taught me: Take a pen and paper right NOW, and write a few times in the last couple of days where you had the opportunity to get outside of your comfort zone. Did you do what you knew was the right choice despite some fears that you had? If not, make a challenge to act despite your fears at least once per day for the next 30 days. That’s something you can do every day to grow tremendously as an individual. Now to make it a bit easier, you don’t have to expand your comfort zone in every situation that presents itself, but make sure to do it at least once per day.

This challenge won’t be easy, but with time you’ll get into the habit of jumping at those “comfort zone expanding” opportunities. It will literally become part of your character to jump at these opportunities.

I was dozing off on the subway today going to a practice. In my peripheral vision I saw a girl get up from her seat, and walk over to sit down closer to me. I knew logically that’s as little of a sign as I need to approach her. Since I wasn’t all dressed up, and had just been napping in my seat I felt a slight anxiety about talking to her. As soon as that anxiety came up though I knew it was time to ACT. Overcoming my fear was the necessary thing to do, so I started a conversation, and had the girl laughing within a minute. This is despite the fact that I was dressed in track pants, and a big ass snowman jacket. Not to mention I didn’t shave that day, and had some eye boogers from my awesome nap. A simple interaction like that is the difference between you meeting up with a new cutie the following Friday night, or wondering the dreaded, “what could have been”.

You don’t notice how much growth little moments like that foster in you. But doing these little things on a daily basis goes a long way in a year’s time.

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One response to “Overcoming Fear – Getting Outside of Your Comfort Zone”

  1. anneke says:

    hey thanks so much for this article- this really helped me, i was struggling with indecision and i finally figured out that the dream i want to pursue, is one where i will be willing to overcome the fear and challenges that come along the way. oh and i had the realization that taking the easy way out may seem conviient for me at the present time but is actually hindering my growth as an individual…wow taking advantage of EVERY opportunity makes a difference…people can change the world with this mentality. =)