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> Going Outside The Comfort Zone
Ben Higgins
post Dec 13 2014, 12:14 PM
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Life is full of things like pain, discomfort, anxiety, doubt and fear. The kind of things that we would prefer not to experience and often do our best to avoid. But in order to move forward, to grow, to achieve new heights of performance or success in any endeavour, we have to accept these unpleasant sensations because they are part of the experience.

Whenever we do something, or think about doing something, that is new and/or unknown to us we're on shaky ground. All of a sudden, that stability we take for granted isn't there any more. We're taking a step into no man's land where there is no guarantee of anything. As a species we generally fear the unknown and change. But in order to make discoveries and progress we have had to overcome these inbuilt inhibitions.

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A part of our brain called the amygdala can perceive unknown situations as a threat, hence delivering all these unpleasant feelings into our systems. Whilst this is useful for alerting you to the fact that there's a tiger on the loose and if you want to live you'd better run or hide FAST, it's not quite as appropriate a response for when you're thinking about changing jobs or speaking in public. Nevertheless, our brain can still perceive certain situations, which are trivial in comparison to life or death situations as a possible threat to our person. Modern life has added more facets to the threat possibilities such as threat to our image, our ego, our social standing, our wealth... all of these contribute in some way to our survival in this world so they all can trigger that same threat response.

So when you've got butterflies in your stomach at the thought of doing something that isn't that scary in reality, it's not because you're a coward. It's not necessarily that you're afraid. It's just the bodies response to a situation that is currently outside of your comfort zone ie: the unknown. And as we know, the unknown is a possible threat until proven otherwise. Logic itself cannot always pierce this barrier. We may know that logically there's nothing to fear in giving a speech or going to audition for something but the emotionally unpleasant feelings go beyond logic. This cerebral response is a connection we have to our earliest ancestors and non human species.

We know why we get these discouraging feelings but we somehow have to accept them, push past them and do the activity in order to reduce the trepidation that we feel about it. Next time we may be less concerned but still a bit nervous. Eventually we may feel as calm as a pond. Our comfort zone possibly expands to include this new activity if it's something we do consistently and regularly. But whenever we go into the unknown we will again experience that cocktail of fear and trepidation.

This is a necessary part of the process in getting what we want. If you want something more than what is currently at your disposal then you are required to somehow get it by either training, studying, practising, searching, basically working hard in some way in order to get it. But it will not be easy because your brain is trying to keep you in the safe zone by flooding you with a cocktail of fear. This is when people dip their toe in and then give up after the first bit of hardship. But it's got to be hard. The reward has to be hard won. That's how we've evolved over the years to become what we are today.

As our own Todd 'T-Master' Simpson loves to remind you young shred disciples; EARN IT.

Comfort is nice but remind yourself that no progress was ever made in the comfort zone.

So when was the last time you really had to go out of your comfort zone ? What was it for and what did you get out of it ?



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Monica Gheorghev...
post Dec 13 2014, 04:34 PM
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In the last months I'm out from my comfort zone but especially the last two weeks (and probably next months biggrin.gif) really out me totally from any comfort zone possible. I work at a lesson with my instructor for months because it's a hard one and even the parts which looks easy aren't. I never thought that a lesson can has a detail on each note and was tricky to understand the difference between details and ornaments. Are two things totally separately and it's damn hard to play those ornaments. Anyway, with a lot of work I succeed to manage all these and feel a comfort when I play those details.
But I'm now at the last 15 sec from lesson and this part it's a hell for me. It's very, very fast and these seconds kill me every day. If you know Darek's lesson "Hybrid Blues" you will understand what I mean. It's not a good feel to work very much for something and to make this to sound "dangerously close" (quoting Darek biggrin.gif ) to the original lesson and get stuck at the last seconds. So, I'm totally out from my comfort zone. I'm disappointed at this moment but I'm conscious that this is a part from learning. Don't worry I will not give up at lesson wink.gif I start to work that part separately and I put the backing at 60% speed because this is the speed where I start to make mistakes. I must fix a right position for the right hand, to keep the same picking direction as in original lesson because it's a key for solving. The rest it's just hard working until I will manage this part. Probably it will take a long time but after I will finish this lesson I will double my actual level.

As a conclusion......not a chance for the next period to enter again in my comfort zone. Anyway probably after this lesson Darek will find something more difficult for me and I will be again out from my comfort zone biggrin.gif But I like this smile.gif
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Ben Higgins
post Dec 13 2014, 06:39 PM
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QUOTE (Monica Gheorghevici @ Dec 13 2014, 04:34 PM) *
In the last months I'm out from my comfort zone but especially the last two weeks (and probably next months biggrin.gif) really out me totally from any comfort zone possible. I work at a lesson with my instructor for months because it's a hard one and even the parts which looks easy aren't. I never thought that a lesson can has a detail on each note and was tricky to understand the difference between details and ornaments. Are two things totally separately and it's damn hard to play those ornaments. Anyway, with a lot of work I succeed to manage all these and feel a comfort when I play those details.
But I'm now at the last 15 sec from lesson and this part it's a hell for me. It's very, very fast and these seconds kill me every day. If you know Darek's lesson "Hybrid Blues" you will understand what I mean. It's not a good feel to work very much for something and to make this to sound "dangerously close" (quoting Darek biggrin.gif ) to the original lesson and get stuck at the last seconds. So, I'm totally out from my comfort zone. I'm disappointed at this moment but I'm conscious that this is a part from learning. Don't worry I will not give up at lesson wink.gif I start to work that part separately and I put the backing at 60% speed because this is the speed where I start to make mistakes. I must fix a right position for the right hand, to keep the same picking direction as in original lesson because it's a key for solving. The rest it's just hard working until I will manage this part. Probably it will take a long time but after I will finish this lesson I will double my actual level.

As a conclusion......not a chance for the next period to enter again in my comfort zone. Anyway probably after this lesson Darek will find something more difficult for me and I will be again out from my comfort zone biggrin.gif But I like this smile.gif


It sounds like you're working ultra hard on this, Monica... Darek is a good instructor - he doesn't give people an easy ride smile.gif

As you said at the end, when we've climbed one mountain we find there is another one on the other side ! But never worry about the next mountain, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and repeat.

As you're spending so much time out of your guitar comfort zone you'll notice after a while that certain things that were once difficult for you have now become easy - whilst you weren't even looking !


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Monica Gheorghev...
post Dec 14 2014, 06:11 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Dec 13 2014, 05:39 PM) *
It sounds like you're working ultra hard on this, Monica... Darek is a good instructor - he doesn't give people an easy ride smile.gif

Hahaha...totally true smile.gif But this is what it makes him a special instructor for me and that's why in 1 year and 5 months I sent him my homework every week smile.gif Sometimes more homework in a week when appear collabs or different tasks. You know, I think even if will come the end of the world, definitely I will find a solution to send him my homework without to have any break in our schedule biggrin.gif

QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Dec 13 2014, 05:39 PM) *
As you said at the end, when we've climbed one mountain we find there is another one on the other side ! But never worry about the next mountain, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and repeat.

As you're spending so much time out of your guitar comfort zone you'll notice after a while that certain things that were once difficult for you have now become easy - whilst you weren't even looking !

The funny thing is that even when I realize that some difficult things seems now easy, l never had time to enjoy this because I always have a new goal. Somehow the new purpose minimizes the success of the last goal. This is an endless game wink.gif
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