Try Surprising Yourself More Often

Try Surprising Yourself More Often

When was the last time you actually surprised yourself—when you did something “out of character?” Maybe you were spontaneous about an event or a trip. Perhaps you made a quick decision or purchase, foregoing your usual time for deliberation. Maybe you spoke up at work when you disagreed with someone. Was the action or outcome positive—perhaps even exhilarating—or were you upset with yourself for “throwing caution to the wind”?

Take a few minutes to think about your current sense of adventure? Are you open to new ideas and activities or do you do the same things over and over again? Do any of these usual excuses apply to you:

I like stability.
I don’t like change.
I’m happy with the way my life is (things are).
I don’t need new challenges.
I am careful with my money and time.
I know better than to challenge authority.

Those tired responses often cover up the real reasons that hold you back:

•Fear of failure
•Fear of embarrassment
•Fear of the unknown
•Fear of being thought of as reckless
•Fear of being labeled difficult or pushy
•Fear of being judged by others
•Fear of exposure (especially fear of being exposed as an impostor)
•Fear of criticism

Of course it is comforting to have a comfort zone. After all, most of us are creatures of habit and most people like some routine in their lives. If, however, you feel that life and opportunity are passing you by, it is time to start taking a risk or two.

You can begin with small steps. Try changing one or two routines that you don’t think serve you very well. At work, have lunch with a new colleague. Volunteer to be part of a new project. Speak up more at meetings.

At home, try a new activity. Meet the neighbors who just moved in. Eat at that restaurant that looks interesting. Visit that new park. Check out that new car that you drive by everyday.

Slowly, you can begin to move out of the constraints of your comfort zone. As you do, you may find that your lost sense of adventure begins to reappear, and you will no longer have to be surprised by your own actions.


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