Getting out of my comfort zone

I’ve realised, half our lives we live in fear. Various forms of fear:

  • The fear of communicating: “What will happen if I tell him the truth?”, “What if she rejects me?”
  • The fear of doing things, esp when for the first time: “I can’t do that, I’ve never done it before”
  • The fear of taking risks: “I can’t quit my job and start a venture, its way too risky”
  • The fear of losing (things): “What if I lose everything that I have?”
  • Many more …

Have you ever thought what if you did the thing that you feared and then came out…

  • With the love of your life
  • A mentally stronger person
  • Accomplishing tasks that you thought were almost impossible
  • With the experience of a lifetime
  • Successful!

I think most of us know all these things that how it will – might feel but still we don’t take that extra step.

Let me share an experience I recently had.

I have a huge liking for organized trips. I should know which bus/train I am boarding, where to get down, where to go after I get down, where am I staying, etc etc. This time I chose to do it differently. All I knew was that I wanted to travel out of Delhi and to an unseen place. At first, a random trip, alone, far away, seemed too difficult. But then I chose to do it as it pushed me “out of my comfort zone”.

Googled around, found some portals/blogs and made a decision to head to Dalhousie. Google (and some blogs) mentioned that it takes about 2 hours from Pathankot to Dalhousie. <insert pic> They are/were all wrong. It took me 4 hours. You can discount 1 hour that I spent at 2 places waiting for buses, still, 3 hours. That’s a 50-75 % deviation! Anyways.

Pathankot to Dalhousie distance
Pathankot to Dalhousie distance

By the time I reached Dalhousie, I was already uncomfortable with the fact that it had taken me much longer (it 3 PM instead of 9 AM) to reach the destination. More discomfort with the hotel I choose. I imagined to stay in a place that would be warm, cozy, silent where I could work/meditate/write peacefully. Argh! It was none of those. The heater seemed ineffective, the doors had enough space between them that allowed breeze flowing through and in fact the room had wonderful cross ventilation, so all the more breezy, with temperature hovering around zero degrees! I had to make a choice out of:

  1. whether to stay and not work or
  2. move out and find a hotel which gave me the comfort to work

I chose none of the options. I chose to stay and do what I had planned. Initially it was a struggle but then I managed and then in a days time, I accepted the conditions and did whatever I had thought of. I now realise, after I accepted, I got comfortable! And eventually, accomplished my objectives and tasks with which I went!

I am not comfortable writing when I have company, I prefer solace. Being new year time, there were celebrations all around and I barely found peace during the nights in my hotel room. I wanted to write but just couldn’t. So I tried something different, plugged into light music which cut down some of the noise and then wrote. After successfully finishing my writeup, what I realised was that I was uncomfortable with the fact that there are people around or there is noise. In the end they were also playing music (which I myself did to cut them off)! I guess writing in solace is a comfort factor for me but not a necessary condition. It was just about pushing myself out of that zone. I often don’t write when I am at home because I don’t find solace but maybe from now on, I can. Isn’t that a win in itself? For me, it definitely is!

Using cold water: It was snowing in Dalhousie, temperature was below freezing point. Even touching the water seemed a daunting task, so wherever possible I would initially avoid πŸ˜‰ But then I said to myself, why I am not touching it? Just because its cold? Okay, really cold and I my hands would go numb for sometime. But that’s it no? Nothing more. With that thought I started using it and then got comfortable, so much so that I bathed without heating the water eventually. When I came out of the bathroom, I felt so gooood, I JUST CANNOT EXPLAIN. Its then I remembered, till 2-3 years back, I had never used hot/warm water. And was comfortable. I wouldn’t skip bathing even during winters and that too with cold water, always. So then what changed? I believe its once I started using warm water, I got ‘comfortable’ with it. And then going back to cold water pushed me out of my comfort zone.

I had one of the most wonderful moments when I experienced snowfall for the first time

Snowfall in Dalhousie
Snowfall in Dalhousie

I loved the view next morning, little did I know what was going to come. It kept snowing/raining the entire day and as a result of which, all roads were blocked for the next 2 days. No buses were plying, only people who had their own vehicles, risked their lives to drive out from Dalhousie. I was stuck. I had a return ticket from Pathankot but there was no way I could reach there. Again, things going off plan, initially I got frustrated but then said yeah, lets accept and plan for the next 2 days πŸ™‚ And spent the rest of my stay in peace and made them productive. Needless to say, once I accepted, I got comfortable.

In fact even 2 days after the snowfall I asked a taxi drive if he could drop me to the nearest bus stop. He asked for Rs.500 – for barely a 6 KM drive. I was like, really? He responded, “sirjee itna risk leke jaenge, 100-200 rupees k liye thodi karenge“. (Sir, I will not take so much risk for just 100-200 bucks!) Now I understood the side effects of snowfall πŸ˜› I thought let it be, I chose to walk! Yes, I actually grabbed my baggage and started the 6 KM walk. It was too slippery and on the way I found quite a few vehicles stuck as well. I thought to myself, glad I didn’t take that cab! On the way I found boards that said, “Beware of Trespassers” and had the image of a bear. Honestly, that scared me a little and I became more cautious now but didn’t stop and kept walking. Luckily after 4 KMs, when the snow on the road was barely there anymore, I found a bus πŸ™‚ I heaved a sigh of relief and hopped in!

Now when the trip is over, I feel I am much stronger mentally. I can write even when not in solace, I can get stuck at an unknown place and do something productive instead of cribbing, I obviously am more comfortable traveling alone now and the best part is I got back to Delhi’s cold and bathed with cold water πŸ˜€

6 Replies to “Getting out of my comfort zone”

  1. It reminds me of a childhood story; a story about a frog who is happy within his well that is suppose to be his world. He never steps out of the well to understand the further challenges and wonder of life. May be this is his comfort zone but absolutely the possibility of wonder life beyond our petty expectations is always there. Glad reading this motivational post about strength, I second your thoughts πŸ™‚

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