Live on the Edge. You may have heard the line in action movies where the badass main character says something like “I like to live on the edge”, and it sounds cheesy, but if you want to experience your highest and fastest levels of growth and learning, you may want to take their advice and do the same.
The Edge is Where You Learn and Grow
When you live your life “on the edge”, it doesn’t mean that you are risking your life, base jumping off cliffs, robbing banks, or surfing 100 ft waves. All of these things certainly apply, but living at and on your own edge simply means leaning slightly past what you are currently capable of and pushing beyond your current limits.
Again, this does not mean doing anything crazy or stupid, but something as simple as running 1.1 miles instead of 1 mile, or doing 12 reps per set when lifting weights as opposed to just 10. Living on the edge is an important concept, and if you incorporate it into your life, you will experience unbelievable growth over a short period of time.
You cannot grow if you are not being challenged, and when you are in your comfort zone, doing things that are very familiar to you, you are being deprived of stimulation and adventure in your life. If you want to learn, grow, and live life to the fullest, you need to get out there and experience the difficult but exciting process of applying yourself and improving your skills in different areas.
Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
If you want to live on the edge and experience your fullest potential, you first need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. We spend a lot of time in our same routines, falling back to the same distractions that keep us in our comfort zone.
Whether it’s netflix, facebook, instagram, beer, sleep, food, or hot showers, most of these things are actively keeping you in your comfort zone unless you are using them as building blocks to reach a goal of yours. Don’t get me wrong, all of these things are fine in moderation and at the right time. We can’t be going full speed all the time or we would break down from stress and exhaustion, it’s important to have ways to relax and recharge your batteries.
But too often, too many of us get caught up in these distractions, trapped in a prison of comforts and distractions. It may be easy and feel good, but watching netflix in your underwear while eating microwave pizza rolls with a bottle of beer is not going to get you anywhere fast. If you want to grow, you need to escape from these distractions for the majority of your day and experience the discomfort and uncertainty that lies in personal growth and making progress toward your goals.
Here are a few recommendations to get you started stepping out of your comfort zone. Take these, try a few and then continue to make progress and get comfortable being uncomfortable.
- Cold showers – a great way to jumpstart your energy levels in the morning or any time of day. As opposed to relaxing in a hot shower, this gets your heart pumping and energizes you in literally an instant.
- Learn something new – whether it’s karate, taking tennis lessons, painting, or talking to more girls, doing something unfamiliar to you will instantly throw you into situations where you have no idea what to do. This cultivates the skills of decision making and learning from your mistakes, and once you develop these to a certain extent, you will notice you are able to navigate uncharted waters much more easily and skillfully, no matter what area of your life. This will do wonders for your confidence, knowing that no matter what situation you are in, you will find a way to get where you want to go, and that you are not afraid to fail and learn from your mistakes on the way there.
- Lift weights and exercise – this is one of my favorite ways to get out of my comfort zone and lean beyond my edge. Exercising gets your heart pumping, boosts testosterone and confidence, and moves your body in new ways, once again breaking your old patterns and incorporating new experiences in your life.
- Learn to breathe correctly – this is a recent hobby of mine, and although it may seem boring and maybe even stupid, it will boost your mental strength and self-control immensely. We can go weeks without food, days without water, but only a few minutes at most without oxygen. Most people do not breathe correctly, and as a result, they are not able to fully experience life. Learn to regulate your breathing correctly and flood your body with life-giving oxygen on command, and you can develop a mastery over mind and body beyond anything you can imagine.
Embrace Uncertainty – Embrace Adventure
The number one thing that stepping out of my comfort zone has done for me is to open my mind to new possibilities and cultivate a sense of adventure and wonder in my life. There’s a saying that the more you learn, the more you realize how little you really know.
This may seem daunting and even depressing to some of you reading this, but I like to frame it in a different way. Instead of being sad or depressed that I will never get to experience it all and learn everything, I take a perspective that there is always something new and different out there for me. There will always be a new experience, a new person to meet, a new skill to learn, and a new challenge that will push me to better myself and discover the true depth of my abilities and willpower.
When you come to this realization it is nothing short of incredible, and will do wonders for your sense of adventure in life. It makes life seem like a mystery, there is always something out there that will fascinate me and challenge me, and not knowing what it is yet is like having an infinite number of presents under a christmas tree.
In a similar vein, stepping out of your comfort zone will help open your mind to new experiences. What I mean by this is that you are more open to going with the flow instead of rigidly sticking to some imaginary scenario where everything plays out just the way you want it to.
News flash: very few things in life will work out in life the way you want them to, and I happen to believe that if you are open-minded to having incredible experiences no matter the circumstances, things will often work out better than you could possibly imagine.
So the next time you are with a group of friends and you want to go one way but the group wants to go the other way( I’m super guilty of this, I really like getting my way), remain open to the great experiences that lie on a different path, go with the flow, and enjoy the gifts that the moment has to offer.
Don’t Overdo It
Live on the edge, but don’t jump off of it. It’s important to lean over your edge and push yourself, but don’t overdo it. Once you experience the rush of a new experience, and massive levels of personal growth in short periods of time, it can be easy to think you are invincible and that you can do it all. This is how people get hurt, and hurt the people around them.
The idea is to lean just past your edge, don’t jump off the cliff just for the sake of proving that you can. Take things slow, go just past your limits, take things a day at a time, and be open to the small steps and experiences in life that, over time, come together to create tons of fulfillment and personal growth.