Overcoming The Familiar

In all of my years of personal growth experimentation, teaching and studying, I have come to one overwhelming conclusion. True change only happens when you overcome the familiar.

It has been said that 90% of the thoughts we have today are the same thoughts we had yesterday. How can any of us expect to change when we keep thinking the same things over and over again?

I was a habitual e-mail checker. I would check email upwards of forty times a day. It was comfortable, it was familiar, and it was something I did every single day. Two weeks ago, I decided to cut that habit down to three times a day. On my desk it says e-mail 8:30, 12:30, 2:15. For one week, I only checked my email three times per day. I had more time, got more work completed and felt much less stress. But it took stepping out of the familiar.

I have been focusing on the backwards design of life lately. I have repeatedly asked myself this question: “Are the habits I have today in line with the vision I have for the future?” I want to be more fit, I want to have more knowledge, and I want to increase my salary. But none of those things will happen if I continue to do the same things each and everyday. I have to get out of my comfort zone and do things differently. As the saying goes “if you want something you’ve never had before, you have to do something you’ve never done before.”

Some people are familiar with negative thinking. Some people are familiar with wasting time and some people are familiar with living fulfilling lives all of the time. So ask yourself, what do you repeatedly do?  If you want to change here are some suggestions.

1. Experiment with different things everyday

In the past year, I have studied the works of  Wim Hoff and changed the way I breathe and the way I adapt my body to the cold.

I have also followed the advice of James Altucher and started carrying around a waiters pad to write down random ideas.

Having never loved running before, I decided I would run 2 miles a day for 100 days. After forty days I absolutely love running.

2. Ask better questions
I stopped asking people what they want to be when they get older and started asking them who they want to be. It’s a much better conversation piece. Stop asking about the weather and start asking questions such as:

  • What is something you have never done, but would love to do?
  • Where would you go if you could go anywhere?
  • Which historical dictator do you think you could beat in a wrestling match?

3. Listen to more interesting people.
I spend a lot of time listening to motivational speakers such as Les Brown, Tony Robbins, Peter Sage and John Maxwell. These people have become my mentors. I haven’t met any of them in person, but their words cause me to think differently and change my routines.

The more you practice getting out of your comfort zone, the more likely you are to change, adapt and grow. It honestly takes experimentation to train your mind to think differently. As I continue to experiment and practice different strategies, I find myself much more open to new ideas and philosophies that are helping me grow.

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out.
Leading Through Service

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