Crush Your Comfort Zone

We hear it all of the time – “step out of your comfort zone.”

The sad truth is that a very small minority of us do. Our fear mechanisms take over and in the old days if you did something outside of your comfort zone, you would get killed.

Even though we’re living in the modern age, our mind is still circuited in that way. Nonetheless, it’s critical to do so because it’s the only way to test your limits and live to your full potential.

It’s also critical in the neurological sense. Every time you try something new and interesting, you trigger different parts of your brain, create new memories, and new connections within your neurons. You’re essentially exercising your brain and expanding it.

Here are just some of the things I’ve done recently that I never thought I would do:

  • Improv comedy class for 8 weeks – I have to say this was one of the most awesome things I’ve ever done. I consider myself an introvert and not really witty in person, but this class forced me to come outside of my shell and let go. It taught me that it’s not really about being witty or quick on your feet – it’s just about not caring what anyone thinks and expressing whatever is on your mind at any given moment. If you have a fear of public speaking, I would highly recommend taking an improv comedy class to loosen your nerves and gain some confidence.
  • Yoga – I never in my life thought I would try a yoga class nor even be able to do any of those crazy poses. However, just a couple of weeks ago, upon the recommendation of a friend as it’s supposed to really help with back pain which I’ve intermittently started experiencing (being an online marketer has it’s physical costs too). After forcing myself to go to the first class and riding up the elevator being the only dude in it (not that I was complaining about that), I came out of the class feeling pretty damn amazing. It was for sure harder than it looks and a total workout, but made me feel light, refreshed, and relaxed. It was like combining a workout with meditation at the same time – can’t beat that!
  • Boxing – Alright let me get some man points back after that last bullet point lol. I’ve been strength training for a while on and off, but it gets old. I wanted to mix in some high-intensity interval training and so I joined my local boxing club which does intense training (think Insanity + Boxing combined). I never felt so damn tired in my life after the workout, but I made it through. I learned a bunch of moves (straight jab, uppercut, right / left hook to name a few) and I experienced something totally new. It was also a great way to just get moving early in the morning and I could feel having more energy the rest of the day.
  • Meditation – Always being on the go and not really ever taking a breather, meditation is one of those things that I always knew I should be doing but never did. That’s until recently when I downloaded the Headspace app. I’m only on lesson 3 so far, but this app does a phenomenal job of training your mind to learn how to meditate. The benefits of meditation are now extremely well-documented and can make a huge difference in how you feel and perform on a daily basis. Some of the world’s most successful people including athletes and musicians do so, so why shouldn’t you? Give it a go today and try Headspace to start yourself off.

Those are four recent things I’ve done to step outside of my comfort zone (oh yeah I also gave a speech in London last month to over 700 people – that was definitely out of my comfort zone as well). Do a mental audit of your life right now and note when the last time was when you did something outside of your comfort zone. I’m only asking you to do so, because it can really help change the quality of your life by doing something absolutely different than your normal routine. You don’t have to fly to the other side of the world. Sometimes, all you have to do is pick up a new hobby or course and challenge yourself in a way that you haven’t before. So go ahead – make it happen.

Never Ever Book a Return Flight

There have been so many times I’ve traveled and almost every single time I’ve ended up changing my return trip to extend it and visit another city or to stay longer in the place that I am at. And every time I regret that I booked my return flight.

So take a lesson from me and just don’t do it. In the long run it’s a lot cheaper and it keeps your options open. You can easily book last minute tickets and sometimes better availabilities or cheaper routes open up, although not always.

The cool thing is that you can do a search using Kayak to figure out which city has the cheapest flight back home and then take a super cheap flight using budget airlines like RyanAir or AirAsia. I still have not done this because I’ve continually made the mistake of booking a return and have been stuck, but this method is far better and allows you to keep your options open.

In short, go with the flow, don’t plan ahead and see where your travel adventures take you.

How to Travel Like a Pro

Believe it not, traveling is an art these days. With intensely thorough and inefficient security lines, layovers, baggage claim, and crying babies, it takes a little bit of know-how to travel smart these days. Here are five things you can do to travel like a pro:

1. Sign up for Global Entry. This program is a huge timesaver and well worth the $100 application fee as it also includes TSA Pre-Check. In fact, many times companies like American Express will cover the cost if you have one of their high level credit cards. The program allows you to skip the regular custom lines upon entry and skip the regular security lines upon departure all of which amounts to saving a huge amount of time. I remember having gotten off a really long flight at JFK only to have to wait another 45 minutes to get past customs and immigration as the line snaked away. Luckily, I now skip that line, have my fingerprints scanned at one of the Global Entry kiosks, and am quickly on my way.

2. Don’t check your bag in. Not checking your bag in is ideal for domestic flights with minimal stops. It keeps your bag safely with you and you don’t have to waste any time retrieving it at baggage claim. If you do decide to check your bag in, however, make sure you mark it with something easily visible like a colored ribbon so you can easily spot it instead of being like everyone else who’s scrambling after a black suitcase only to find out it’s not theirs (or worse- taking someone else’s bag home).

3. Want to see another city on your trip for free? Usually you can have your airline schedule your connecting flight on a different day. For example, let’s say you have a connection in Paris, France. You may be able to call the airline and ask them to reschedule your connecting flight to say seven days later. That gives you a week in Paris and you didn’t have to buy a new ticket (you may have to pay for a flight change fee unless you initially book your trip this way)

4. Earplugs and sleeping visors are a godsend when you’re dealing with bright lights and crying babies on a plane. It’s a small investment that can assure you a lot of peace of mind in the future. On top of that, you never know when you’ll need these items. I’ve checked into hotels and there happens to be massive construction going on next door (that was fun). You get the idea.

5. Get yourself a Priority Pass. It allows lounge access to thousands of priorities in business lounges all around the world.

Following these tips and tricks will make for a way smoother travel experience – you’ll be amazed at how much time you save and maybe even feel a little guilty when you skip the long security and immigration line and get to sip on your favorite drink in the business lounge pre-flight.