One of the best ways to grow as a person is to challenge yourself on a daily basis. It doesn’t matter what exactly the challenge is, or what sphere it relates to – so long as it allows for new ideas and/or experiences. It is these new experiences that allow all of us to evolve individually and collectively as a group.

In contrast, recycling experiences keeps us busy, but adds little in the way of improving or growing.

Every time you have an experience, new neural connections are made in the brain. Over time, the repeating pattern will end up with so many connections that changing or modifying the behavior becomes a long, drawn out and from time to time unpleasant process. As more new connections are created which align with this behavior the effort involved diminishes.

This works the same for positive and negative changes.

If your dominant pattern is positive, great! If it is negative, getting less comfortable will help.

The simplest and most efficient way to do that is to engage in new experiences. Depending on your environment, pick one one of the following to try (in no particular order):

  • Read a magazine you’ve never read
  • Sign up for a class you have little interest in
  • Go to an open party where you know no one
  • Order an ethnic dish at a restaurant
  • Visit a nearby town you’ve never been to
  • Move to a new area / place
  • Start a friendly conversation with a stranger
  • Learn to prepare a new dish
  • Watch a foreign flick
  • Take a new way to/from work
  • Check out an ethnic market and try a new product from there
  • Join a club or an organization
  • Try to go as long as possible without one of your minor vices
  • Volunteer (anywhere)

For everyone these activities fall on a spectrum from completely comfortable to unfathomable. Pick one that is in the middle somewhere and try it!

Over time, I’ve found that the more uncomfortable something is, the more value I receive by following through with it. In the end, everything you want is outside of your comfort zone – because if it would be in it, you would already have it.