Discomfort is doing (experiencing) something you would rather not have to do or deal with.
We often fear things before we ever experience them, because we have an opinion of what they will be like, or their consequences, and this is a good thing when it comes to potential dangerous situations like putting your hand on hot plate or jumping from a moving vehicle.
But we often fear things that don’t aren’t going to injury or kill us. We fear failure, rejection, disappointment and their like, we fear what others will think of us and this stops us even trying.
The fear of public speaking is enough to turn many people to jelly, and get their heart racing out of control, yet the worse that can happen is… you mess up, you freeze, you forget the words. The fear of public speaking is often quoted as one of the major fears of people.
It’s easy enough to say it’s an irrational fear, but it’s a different thing changing your reaction to it. Fear is fear, and simply saying face your fear, isn’t going to cut it for many.
Overcoming discomfort is about …
- Being prepared to push through barriers and out of your comfort zone,
- Doing things that scare you, because they scare,
- Dealing with pressure situations (e.g. athletes performing when it counts).
Well, it’s as simple as changing the way you think about the thing, sure that’s not simple, but it’s the answer.
- Realising it isn’t going to kill you,
- Don’t take yourself too seriously, give yourself room to have fun and laugh at yourself, without being too judgmental and hard on yourself. Self-esteem needs to be built up, bit by bit. Build yourself up, surround yourself with people that help you do this too.
- Rehearsing it as much as possible (even in private) so that you feel more comfortable doing it. In the case of public speaking, do lots of practice speaking into a camera and watch it back after. Look at what you’re doing well and what can be improved, and go again. You’ll get better with practice and eventually you’ll be more comfortable to give it a go in front of others.
- If you’re trying to overcome a phobia like climbing a ladder, do it in small increments, bit by bit.
- If you’re wanting to start your own business, but the fear of failure is stopping you, start it as a sideline, working extra hours on it after your regular job. Consider disappointments as opportunities to learn, after all we often learn best from set backs, that’s a fact not just wishful thinking.
As the quote graphic says at the top of the page, comfort zones are often expanded through discomfort.
I’m sure you can remember wanting to do something in the past, that scared you to try, but you did it and now it’s easy and you wonder why you ever feared it. Once you do something and do it again and again, it becomes second nature and is no longer a challenge. Things like riding a bike, driving a car, learning to crawl, walk, run, talk, write, read. If you’re an adult, you’ve overcome many obstacles just to be able to function at a basic level in society. These are all things you probably take for granted now, they are part of your comfort zone.
Each new thing you learn, becomes part of your newly expanded comfort zone.