Yesterday, Under Armour tweeted, “Which would you rather do? A) sprint the length of a football field 6 times or B) run 3 miles?” This was a no-brainer for me: Sprint 6 times. This wasn’t because sprinting 6 times is easier for me…but in fact, because I perceive it to be so much more difficult. I figured, I would rather do something that will challenge me and make me a better, faster runner.
I tend to choose the more challenging options most of the time and try to set goals that will push me out of my comfort zone. It’s not because I like to feel uncomfortable or want to be vulnerable, but because I know that it will push me to be better. This is true in all aspects of life. In fitness, your body does not change unless you get uncomfortable- increase the weights, do intervals, push the speed, and so forth. With nutrition, getting away from the “comfort” of foods that tend to be unhealthy (e.g., sugary or salty foods). And in relationships, taking emotional risks: letting people in and being vulnerable even though you’ve been hurt before and it’s incredibly scary.
I think the one thing that keeps us all from taking those risks (or me, at least), is because it’s not easy to be vulnerable and to be exposed to criticisms. Getting hurt is not fun, whether it’s physical or emotional. And when I talk about taking risks, I’m talking about calculated risks, not ones that are obviously dangerous. On the other hand, what happens when we don’t take those calculated risks? What do we miss out on?
As I wrote in a previous post, one thing that helps us to grow and get better is the willingness to be vulnerable, ask questions, be open to feedback and criticisms. Change is uncomfortable, so if you want it, challenge yourself! This mindset has definitely helped me out in all areas of my life: I’ve been able to increase my speed and get stronger; control my blood pressure; finish my Ph.D. in 5 years (when it can take anywhere from 5-7 years). I’m not saying that everyone should take this approach, but the research points to the benefits of taking risks and challenging yourself.
What are some things that you haven’t done because it’s too scary or too challenging? What gets in the way? Do something this week that is scary or challenging and report back!