How do we actually broaden our horizons? This may seem difficult and before you actually do it, it may seem preposterous, but it’s quite feasible, and with the smallest of practice it can even be fun. The trouble is that you’ll have to momentarily relinquish your comfort zone. Why would anyone ever want to leave their comfort zone? Well, most people wouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. Leaving your comfort zone will allow you to push the limits of what you know, and by pushing the limits of what you know and are familiar with, you’ll become more flexible, better able to make changes, better able to handle life. Focus on the pleasures that await you if you decide to follow this exercise. Downplay the pain involved as you overcome your own inertia and move.
This exercise is simple.
Broaden your horizons.
Which could also be translated to: Get out of your comfort zone.
It may not seem simple, because everywhere you look, everything you see is probably inside your comfort zone. So you’ve got to move away from the familiar towards the unknown. Again, remember to focus on the pleasures of exploration, the advantages of undertaking a challenge. The absolute best way to remove yourself from your self-created comfort zone is to sell everything you own and go live in a country where you don’t speak the language…but I know that’s a bit extreme, and the same effects can be accomplished on a smaller scale.
The process of getting out of your comfort zone is easy. Just go somewhere, do something that you normally would not do. If you live in a big city, go to a part of town that you never visit. Or go to a small village 30 miles away. Hang out there and talk to the people. Introduce yourself in a way that you normally wouldn’t. If you’re a greeting card writer, but it’s your life-long dream to be an architect, introduce yourself as the latter. While you’re outside your comfort zone, find those dusty dreams that you once wanted so much, and see which ones are still relevant. Pretend that they are true.
Here are some examples for getting out of your comfort zone:
Go to an unknown part of town.
We feel good in places we know, and while there’s nothing wrong with this, it does have some disadvantages. Being in familiar surroundings almost always means we assume the familiar roles, behaviors, and thoughts that we’re conditioned to be, do, and think in that particular location. By changing the scenery radically, you’ll allow yourself more options.
Talk to someone you wouldn’t normally talk to.
This is a good exercise, because it will present to you, your own stereotypes about people. And that’s a great way to deconstruct them.
Stand on a street corner. Decide on an exact time to start, e.g. 10:23. At exactly 10:23 approach the absolute first person you see, and introduce yourself. “Hello my name is ____.” And then listen to their response. When the exchange ends naturally, introduce yourself to the very next person you see. Do this with a total of 6 people. The point of this exercise is to ignore the dialogue in your head that will insist you do say ‘hello’ to this person, but you don’t say ‘hello’ to that person. Pick a time to start, and then introduce yourself to the FIRST person you see, no matter how awkward your mind insists it will be.
Create an alternate history and pretend it’s true for an hour or an afternoon.
Some may claim this is lying, but I see it as playing. This allows you to try on new beliefs, new roles, a new identity to see who they fit. It’s good practice for the upcoming shift.
Go to a movie you don’t want to see.
Likes and dislikes are arbitrary. They aren’t anything more than a representation of our personal history. By choosing to do or see something you normally wouldn’t, you’ll increase your scope of possibilities, as well as loosen the grip the past has on you.
Watch or listen to a political show of opposing view points and do your best to support whatever it is they say.
More tolerance. By trying on opposing view points, we can better emphasize with other human beings. Although it may feel threatening, there’s no real harm in putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. At worst, it will lead you to developing a healthy capacity for compassion.
Go to a restaurant that you’ve never been to and order something you think you won’t like. Then do your best to like it.
This is another exercise in stretching possibilities, in widening our concepts of what is ‘good’ or ‘bad.’
Arrive early or late, whatever it is you don’t do.
Most of us are either obsessed with being punctual or passive-aggressive in our perpetual tardiness. By practicing the other strategy, you’ll gain insight into your own automatic strategies and have more options on how you do things.
Sleep on the other side of the bed.
Nearly everything we do is habitual, by changing our habits, we’ll literally force ourselves out of the ruts and begin to gain more freedom, more choices in how we do things.
Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand.
More habit altering practice.
Analyze how you get dressed every morning, and rearrange the order.
More habit altering practice.
Take the bus.
In our modern world, it’s easy for human beings to wake up one morning and find themselves living in a bubble with little or no authentic contact with the real world. Part of this is due to our tendency towards extreme individualism. Taking the bus will simultaneously burst your bubble, put you into the public, and work on changing your habits.
Find another route to wherever it is you choose to go.
More habit altering practice.
By persistently pushing the limits of your known world, you’re already working on belief change. Once you become proficient in being in the Unknown, you’ll have an easier time at changing your beliefs…so practice. Then practice more. Once you’re comfortable being uncomfortable, you’ll have gained an enormous amount of personal freedom, as well as a more adaptable, well-rounded character. Get out of your comfort zone for as long as you can manage. Set aside an afternoon a week and really go for it. Despite what your conscious mind will tell you, you will survive, and you’ll be a better person for it. This is a continual practice, ideally, something you incorporate for the rest of your life. Throughout the rest of this guide, I’ll periodically remind you to broaden your horizons.
Source by Dennis Dziedzic