I want you to think back to a single moment or even an extended period of time that you were really uncomfortable or just out of your element completely. Maybe when you left home for college or headed off to the military like me? Training for a new job? Volunteered your time at a homeless shelter perhaps?
The reason I ask is, because if you're like me, you're not a huge fan of being uncomfortable or in awkward situations in general. Therefore, we avoid them.
Duh, we're no fools!
Or are we simply okay with settling for less than our actual potential? <--- That's the real question. Do we make a conscious choice to avoid moments that make our minds work differently or out of routine? Being honest & answering these questions in your mind is the first step to creating a life that will never remain stagnant.
New input encourages our brains creativity.
Ever heard of neuroplasticity? Of course I'm going to throw some science at you :)
Let's oversimplify, shall we?
Neuroplasticity simply means that your brain can continue to form new connections and neural pathways even into adulthood (which, prior the 1970s was not even thought possible). When you make a new connection between two ideas, it's not just a metaphor. Your brain is literally restructuring itself to accommodate new processes. New habits. New goals as you continue to achieve the ones you've set.
Still with me?
It's very easy to get into routines that we feel comfortable in, yeah? We can agree on that. Because of the way our minds work as humans, our days can easily become methodical and check-list oriented. Black & white if you will.
60% of what we do daily is by virtue of habit. How we wake up, cleanse ourselves, get to work, talk on the phone, use the computer, react to noise, work out; all of it we do as habitual pattern.
The problem however is when we allow important aspects of our lives that are actually vital to our spiritual, emotional, & physical well-being, be taken care of by that same 60% of habit. That's more than half of your day consumed in perceived complacency.
It happens more easily than we might think. We eat, drink, get angry, jealous, resentful without thinking, for too many days in a row and slowly, but surely, it becomes what we do.
It becomes who we are.
The takeaway from this: Our habits & personal integrity are quintessentially who we are & who we will continue to be.
So I challenge you as I do myself & with my clients- think about the actions & decisions that make up your day. Each intention should be towards the reason you choose to get out of bed in the morning. Your "why". Your purpose. Your goals. Everything is related & it all comes back to who we want to be & the legacy we want to leave behind.
Here's a few ways to stay on toes & keep things moving in the right direction.
Exercise: Some studies have shown that the mere act of exercising can facilitate neuroplasticity in certain brain structures.
Read: LeVar Burton had it right. Reading can help build new neural connections in your brain, and encourage greater plasticity.
Meditate: meditation has a wide array of positive effects including decreasing anxiety, increasing creativity and compassion, and improving memory.
Rome wasn't built overnight. Neither will a bulletproof diet or a perfectly structured daily regimen.
Care to be human?