Sep 5, 2019
Travelling, building new relationships, getting a new job, giving and honest feedback or speaking in public — all these situations require you to go outside your comfort zone. And here is the dilemma: one part of us wants to stick to our comfort zone, while the other part strives to face challenges, have unique genuine experience and grow. And, as Seth Godin explains this, our lizard brain – the primal part of us – wants us to stay safe and keeps us far away from any changes.
There is a relationship that we need to have with ourselves, Alex believes. And by that he means the understanding that, by nature, we are all designed to seek comfort, because our lizard brain wants us to be safe and not to die. However, with this thinking, we will never actually experience anything in life. And let’s be real: a lot of people prefer to stay in the comfort zone. And the reason some of us don’t get that job promotion, or the reason we aren’t in a relationship with the person of our dreams or we don’t experience what we want to experience in life is simply because we are in a comfort zone.
“The most oldest part of our brain – the lizard brain or the primal brain – protects us from changes and strives for our safety. That’s why it’s so important to be aware of that part of ourselves that wants us to stay safe and survive. We don’t have to deny it, we have to understand it and learn more about it, so that we can be aware of what actually holds us back” – Alex Ikonn
Coming from the background of immigrants moving to Canada, Mimi and Alex started everything from scratch. And all the adversities they have faced allowed them to build strong and beautiful relationships, be here today where they are, do what they love and live the life they have always dreamt about. That’s why the Ikonns family believes – and knows it for sure – the feeling of discomfort is normal. Actually, it is the signal of growth.
“Depending on how you interact on this discomfort,'' Alex explains, “it will go one place or another”. We must be aware that we can’t expect growth without discomfort. So, it’s also about reframing our relationship with what that feeling is. If we give up in power of the resistance voice that holds us back, then how do we expect to grow, prosper and change?
Alex mentions the great example of working out. When we exercise, we build our body by tearing our muscles apart. And the reason we become stronger is that our muscles tissues will then repair and rebuild and become stronger. First we make them uncomfortable, then we tear them apart, and when we work out enough, we then create that growth. So, that’s why Alex is sure that feeling discomfort means getting stronger is the very basic law of nature.
“Life is always changing, pushing you to grow and step into new stages of your life. The moment you shy away from that is the moment you stop growing” – Mimi Ikonn
Have you ever asked yourself the question of why so many people struggle with the idea of how to grow their relationships and careers? The reality is simple: in order to have a better life, we will have to face the challenges and the discomfort, and go through them. And one of the most important things to keep in mind is to always be honest one with another in relationships and face challenges together, and not be afraid to talk through what you think or feel.
The reason so many marriages and friendships fall apart is because with the time the parties just stop talking to each other and they don’t actually want to bring some certain things up. But, here is a great reminder: we will not be able to grow in our relationship unless we will be able to face challenging situations together. When we are able to do emotional work by truly listening, opening up, giving each other enough space, being vulnerable and accepting our own fault, we will defuse the conflict and have that massive opportunity to build a stronger bond.
“So many family relationships, friendships, marriages come to the point then someone just don’t want to face the challenge. Unless both parts are ready to work with this, be honest and open, they cannot experience growth” – Alex Ikonn
Alex believes that life throws us in challenges, because it wants us to teach a lesson. That’s why we also have to be open to the adversity. The moment we bring that awareness of discomfort, it’s really the moment for us to see how we can make the best of it and what we can learn. We are our own habits, we build them every day. So, in any situation of growth, we will face discomfort. By focusing on it and seeing it as a real opportunity, we will build this healthy habit of getting outside our comfort zone and become a little better.
And another kind reminder: the reason we are here is not to hide, is to live.
Here is what else we have talked about:
Books we have mentioned in this episode:
Linchpin - Are you indispensable? by Seth Godin
Do the Work by Steven Pressfield