How do you approach your day?
When you go to the gym, what exercises do you choose?
Do you go for the ones that you feel you've mastered, where your muscles and form are strong, and you feel like a superhero? Or do you choose the hard ones that you do badly and feel weak?
When you're at work, what tasks do you focus on?
Do you favor the tasks you're best as, and quickest at, that you can crank through easily? Or do you pick some exceptionally hard ones where you feel clueless, unskilled, and out-of-your-depth?
When you talk to your girlfriend or partner, what do you talk about?
Is it the nice, happy things? The victories you had that day, or the next vacation you're planning together? Or do you go for the challenging parts of your relationship? The problems, and the things left unsaid?
It feels like there is a benefit to taking the easy road.
There is less stress & friction, a lower risk of "failure" and quicker results... and all of this feels like greater success and improved productivity.
But... at what cost?
How comfort zones harm us
Here are 3 ways our comfort zones harm us.
#1 - Comfort zones inhibit our growth
Lower challenge feels might equate to more frequent "wins," but when we take away challenge we also eliminate growth.
The immediate cost is low, but the long-term cost is massive.
Ask yourself these two questions;
- Are you completely happy to stay at your current level of capability for the rest of your life?
- Are you OK never discovering what you are capable of?
If you're hesitating on a absolute "yes" for either of these, than you're probably not pushing your comfort zone enough.
Add some challenge to your world and see where it takes you.
#2 - Comfort zones create imbalances
I recently noticed I've been neglecting legs day at the gym, for too long.
It's starting to show. In the mirror, I can see that I'm visibly unbalanced, with a big top, and a small bottom.
Now, Johnny Bravo was a super cool guy... but he was a cartoon.
If he'd been real, I'm pretty sure he'd have issues... knee and ankle problems, maybe hip and back issues.
And... it just looks a bit silly.
Because balance is important.
#3 - Imbalances make us weak
In strength training, dance, martial arts, and sports...
Your weaknesses are vulnerabilities that your strengths cannot always compensate for.
The same is true of psychological self-development too.
Whatever your weaknesses are... fear of failure, lack of self-confidence, poor social skills, repressed emotions and anger issues... these things are holding you back in more places than you think.
Every little bit you strengthen those areas will improve your life overall in huge ways.
Your goal should be to identify those weaknesses and train them until they become strengths.
So, what are your weaknesses?
If you're a bodybuilder, you can tear your clothes off, stand in front of a mirror, and see pretty clearly which muscles need some attention.
That's a bit more challenging when it comes to stuff in your head.
So let's take inventory.
As usual for this kind of deep reflective work, I recommend you sit down with your favorite cup of coffee or tea, perhaps at your favorite café, and journal your reflections.
Here are 3 questions to start with.
"What things do I feel incapable of?"
"What things scare me?"
"What things do I feel unskilled at, but kind of which I were good at?"
Write each question, and all the answers you can come up with. Examples might be public speaking, talking to an attractive stranger, making a million dollars, performing on stage, running a marathon, getting super-fit...write whatever comes to mind.
These things- along with your limiting beliefs- are your weaknesses.
Now, consider how that weakness impacts your life. Where is it holding you back? How is it affecting your career progression, or your relationships?
What does it cost you in terms of anxiety, frustration and stress?
How would life be different, or better, if that weakness did not exist?
If you've been following my work, you know how thorough I like to be.
If you want to get deeper and more comprehensive with your introspection, try asking those same 3 questions above for each of the 5 areas of your life.
- Self - everything that happens inside your head, including recurring thoughts and emotions.
- Health - everything about your body, fitness, nutrition, and mental health.
- Wealth - your career, money, and physical security
- Relationships - your relationship, your family, your kids, your friendships, and your social world overall.
- Mission - the things that deeply matter to you- including the impact you want to have on the world.
How are your weaknesses affecting you? How are they interfering with your goals?
Next, build your training plan
As big as Arnold Schwarzenegger was, he always found his calves challenging. They were his weak spot, and they frustrated him a lot.
He once shared...
"When I went to train with my hero, Reg Park, he pulled out a tape measure and measured my calves and my biceps."
"He said, 'Arnold, your calves are 19 inches and your biceps are 21 inches. You might win Mr. Universe like this, but you’ll never go all the way."
"You need to build up your calves. Every step you take is a 250 pound calf raise. So to grow, you are going to have to go as heavy as possible, and you’re going to need to do 10-15 sets every single day.'"
We all have our weak spots, our personal challenges, that are unique to us.
The difference between being good and being great is that great people challenge and train their weaknesses mercilessly.
Designing your "train your weaknesses" plan
Your training plan will be unique to you and your weaknesses. Approach it the say way you'd design a solid gym plan.
If social anxiety is your challenge, make it a point to meet people regularly. Say "hi" to 3 new people a day. That's it. That's where you start, and then as that becomes easy, you increase the challenge steadily.
If your relationship needs work, where does it need work? Better sex? More intimacy? Better communication? Anger issues? Start working on those things together directly, instead of neglecting them.
Is it some aspect of your health, or fitness? Perhaps a particular addiction, like alcohol, caffeine, porn or video games. Perhaps you need to be more fit, or to lose ( or gain ) some weight. Maybe it's something specific like your nutrition, digestive issues or dental health.
Whatever it is, you deserve a better life, and a better you. So, create it.
3 Rules of effective training
Once you have your plan, even a basic starting one, apply these 3 rules to your training;
- Train intentionally. Always remember your goals, and keep them in sight. It will help you make certain that you're training the right thing, in the moment.
- Train with intensity. Change happens when it needs to, and that means it must have an element of intensity. If your training does not feel challenging, then it's time to raise the bar.
- Train consistently. Every day, put your training first. Whatever it is you're working on, have it done by 10am if at all possible. Then it's out of the way, and you can relax and enjoy the rest of your day, and the feeling of victory in your training progress. Investing in yourself always feels great.
And, once every few weeks reflect on how you've been doing, and whether you're seeing progress. If you're training right, you'll be surprised how fast you grow.
“Bodybuilders (hell, everyone) love to focus on their strong points, when we grow the most by doing the opposite.”
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
BROJO: Confidence. Clarity. Connection.
Join BROJO - the premier international self-development community - FREE!
- Connect with like-minded people who will support you with your goals and issues
- Overcome people-pleasing and Nice Guy Syndrome to build strong social confidence
- Get access to exclusive online courses to learn advanced social skills, how to master your psychology, proven career progression techniques and more
Finite and Infinite Games ( Book ) - James P. Carse