How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Your Comfort Zone

AlbertEinsteinFor years there has been a “quote” going around that was attributed to Albert Einstein. It says, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

First, Einstein never said it. Second, it’s not really a definition of insanity. However, with those two points out of the way, it is extremely dumb to keep doing the same things again and again with the hopes of achieving a different outcome.

And for my purposes today I want to apply this principle to the habits around which your life revolves. If you are doing the same things day in and day out, it becomes virtually impossible to get a fresh perspective on anything, including how you are running your business and how you are living your life.

Be proactive

As 2014 is winding down and we begin to look ahead to 2015, I suggest you intentionally get outside of your comfort zone, leap clear of your rut. Do this in both your personal and professional lives. Sometimes it takes a major outside influence to get us to take steps like these. I’m thinking about life events such as the loss of a job or business, or the breakup of a personal relationship.

In those cases, pain forces us into new places. However, I suggest that you draw on your senses of curiosity and adventure to propel you into some new experiences. Don’t wait for the hammer of pain to get you hopping.

Have you ever moved to a new city and spent the first year or more exploring all the interesting places it has to offer? If you ever do this, and then share your experiences with folks who have spent their entire lives in that city, you’ll find that many of them will have never gone to the majority of the places you visited as you took time to know your new hometown.

How the ‘Lost Generation’ Found Greatness

Is it just a coincidence that many of the world’s greatest artists and writers left their native countries post World War I and settled in Paris? It presented a new and vibrant culture where creative types with all kinds of new ideas could be inspired by one another.

I see some of that kind of synergy today in co-working spaces. If you run a home-based business, why not go outside of your comfort zone for a few months and lease a desk at a co-working space? See what other local entrepreneurs are up to. Make some connections. Be inspired by new ideas.

If your evening time devoted to unwinding revolves around what’s on TV, pledge to go TV-free for a week or longer. Find a local pub that has a trivia night. See what books business leaders are reading and grab one from your library. Volunteer at the local rescue mission. You’ll see yourself and your community from a different perspective.

In your business, start a project where people, including yourself, trade jobs. I’ve always found that this is a great way to break through chronic problems in a business setting. Often person “A” doesn’t even realize that something he or she does routinely causes a problem for person “B.” We get so accustomed to dealing with various workplace inconveniences that we stop seeing them as drags on our productivity; they just become “part of the job.” Switching roles on your team can “rediscover” those problem areas and help uncover solutions.

Commit to doing something different, you’ll be glad you did.

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