Sure, jumping out of one’s fishbowl sounds easy enough for an extravert, you may be thinking, but what about an introvert? What if something as simple as going to a new class is completely out of your comfort zone? Be true to who you are. Your fishbowl is going to look a lot different than my fishbowl or your best friend’s fishbowl. It’s not about the level of craziness; it’s about the stretch. If you aren’t stretching, than things will very well stay the same. And sometimes there’s nothing wrong with that, but if you want more, than you need to do something different. Forcing yourself to be slightly uncomfortable is a complete paradigm shift. Getting out of your comfort zone is not only about physically challenging yourself to do something daring or engaging in various social activities, but being mentally and emotionally open to thinking differently.
So, how do you think differently? For starters, you could aim to change a habit. They say it takes 21 days to change a habit, so if you are a night owl and you want to become a morning person, start going to bed earlier and waking up at the crack of dawn. See what you can do in the morning that you couldn’t do before. Maybe you’ll find that you have more time to yourself. Give up soda or coffee for 21 days and see if you feel healthier or less dependent on caffeine. Turn off the cable (gasp!) for 21 days and read a book. And of course, you don’t have to go cold turkey and give these things up, but if you find yourself saying “I never have time to . . . .” make time for that thing you claim you want to do. If you only ever watch action films, watch a documentary. Play a sport that you are not good at until you get better. If you are always saying “yes” to everyone and exhausting yourself on the social scene, say “no” and make time for yourself.
Sign up for a class and learn something new. Learn how to create an app (and then email me because I’ve been wanting to learn how to do that too!). Invite your friends over to watch the Hamilton play on DVD because you couldn’t get tickets to ANY of the live performances (no, not bitter at all). Color in an adult coloring book (who would have thought that would be a thing?) – or create the next cool thing like Uber or Twitter or the Human Sized Hamster Wheel Desk. The possibilities are endless and dependent on your interests, but if you only go to work and come home and watch tv you are missing out on valuable stretch time.
The picture above was taken in Barcelona, Spain, as I walked through La Sagrada Familia Iglesia (The Sacred Family Church), designed by Antoni Gaudi in the 1880s. He utilized nature as his inspiration for the architecture. It is really absolutely beautiful to see and mind-blowing to understand the concepts he applied. in the picture above he has mimicked tree branches to support the ceiling of the church. Inside there are beehives and spiderwebs transformed into architecture and it just works so well because he took it directly from nature. If you ask me, this is a great example of thinking outside the box.
Your level of stretch is all dependent on how much work you are willing to put in. Start with baby steps, but, as the definition of insanity goes, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.