How many times do you think about what needs to get done and you start with what is easiest aka comfortable and come up with excuse after excuse to avoid the hardest aka most uncomfortable? And then those uncomfortable tasks never get done or you keep burying them on your list? Who else is raising their hand besides me? Don’t leave me hanging – come on you know this is YOU!
If we do not have a compelling enough reason to choose what is uncomfortable 9+ times out of 10 we choose what is comfortable. What we should be doing instead is choosing what is uncomfortable. Did I just hear you sigh and say why? Your comfort will not push you forward or create the life you want. Discomfort usually means growth and you are being stretched. And that is where we need to be more often than we instinctually are.
Why is that?
Well let’s look at it scientifically . . . but I promise it is really interesting so please stick with me! Researchers have found that our amygdala, a part of our brain, reacts negatively when we experience risk or uncertainty. Now don’t get me wrong – that is really important should we ever be in harm’s way! However when we think about life differently than it is today we get nervous, scared and uncertain because it is foreign. That is when the amygdala kicks in and prevents us from that risk aka shuts us down! In other words we are programmed to resist change! Explains why change is hard for many of us, right?! BUT, there is another part of our brain that fights back against the amygdala and that is called our prefrontal cortex (PFC). It is the part of our brain that responds to those magnificent views we see of the beach and when you imagine greatness ahead!
So you’re probably thinking . . . thank you for the science lesson, Wendy, but what does mean? Well what it means is that your brain can be programmed to change. Imagine it is like a new muscle to exercise and over time as you keep practicing it gets stronger and easier to complete the work. Therefore our brain has the opportunity to change based on how we choose to use it! We can literally train our brain to act on an uncomfortable vision and over time as you stay connected with it, you will be more open to being uncomfortable more often!
You have a choice – keep exercising your amygdala or start using your prefrontal cortex. In other words do you want to resist change stay stuck or do you want to repeatedly envision something BIGGER and more inspiring that? I say GO BIG . . . there isn’t an option to go home!
As Mary Oliver says “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”