What I learned through 2 weeks of discomfort challenges

I’m a big believer in the idea that the best way to grow is to go out of your comfort zone. And for the past 2 weeks, I got to practice that through 10 challenges, ranging from asking for a discount on a water bottle to requesting a meeting with a local celebrity.

While all these challenges impacted me in one way or another, I’m going to go over the four most impactful things I learned about myself through these challenges.

Self-reflection brings me joy.
Coming back from a vacation, I started a blog that highlighted outstanding travel adventures. The original purpose was to serve as a way of remembering my trip however, writing about my trip forced me to reflect upon it. I was able to pinpoint aspects that made my trip phenomenal, like meeting new people, trying new things, and going out of my comfort zone.

A screenshot of the home page of my Azores trip blog.

More importantly, it gave me the chance to improve my day-to-day life when I’m not on vacation by integrating these aspects. There’s no reason I can’t be as confident when meeting new people or can’t actively seek adventure when I’m home in Canada. Blogging about my experience forced me to reflect upon my trip and brought me the opportunity to bring more happiness into my personal life.

I learn well by teaching others.
I offered to deliver a recruitment webinar that covered how to write an effective cold email. While I don’t consider myself a beginner in this area, I managed to teach myself a thing or two during this seminar.

A sample email I deconstructed while teaching younger students how to write cold emails for recruiting.

I realized that while a number of cold emails I previously sent were high-quality, a good amount of them didn’t even follow the rules I outlined! Forcing myself to sit down and systematically break down my emails helped me realize effective strategies that I had used subconsciously and inconsistently. Going into the future, I plan to incorporate teaching in my regimen for learning new things. After getting the basics of a new skill I want to learn, I will teach what I know to someone else and, in the process, teach myself a little more.

It pays to be patient.
For one of my challenges, I called a music school to apply as a clarinet instructor despite the fact that I’ve never touched one at all. When the manager found out that I had no experience, she was very polite and assumed the best in me and my intentions.

While she was kindly explaining that the company was looking to hire someone with more experience, her voice was calm and she still seemed excited to speak with me. While I will never be a clarinet instructor, I still remember the company’s name and will revisit it if I am every looking for music lessons in the future. Being more patient and assuming the best out of everyone is an act that takes slightly more effort on my end, but has a profusely positive benefit on the other party. It’s a practice that I will try to adopt in my day-to-day life to be happier myself and to positively impact those around me.

Winners always find a way.
When I called my credit card provider asking them to lower my interest rate, I expected a quick “no” as I knew my interest rate was competitive. Instead, the agent attempted to upsell me to a premium card a lower rate and annual fees. My conversation with this agent taught me that there is always a way to solve a problem.

Had I been serious about getting a lower interest card, my provider would have successfully upsold me and it would have been a win-win situation both for myself and for my bank. Personally, I find that I need to ask “How can this be done?” when tough situations arise rather than simply shifting focus. This is a mindset that I need to adopt in my day-to-day challenges as well as in the professional workplace.

There’s so much that one can learn from seeking discomfort and reflecting on those experiences. I plan to make seeking discomfort a routine. I’ve started a group with my friends, where every 2 weeks we will collectively do something that is out of our comfort zone together. Being comfortable with the uncomfortable is like training a muscle — it must be done consistently for proper growth and results. And I’m beyond excited to continue seeking discomfort for the foreseeable future.



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