I keep referencing my childhood or adolescence to be able to frame up my thoughts and share what seem to me are personal experiences that may hold value to someone. Thank you, I appreciate you allowing me to indulge in this and hopefully you gain so much more from it than I ever could. Honestly thought that this experiment of putting myself out there, even though there have only been a small amount of entries until now would have been a lot more difficult. Right before pressing the Publish button I want to reread, correct, modify, not publish, but ultimately I hit the button and move on to something else as if I am pretending that what I just did had a smaller value than the next task. It doesn’t, every post has been thought out, maybe not perfectly communicated but ultimately well intentioned to provide a maybe new or sometimes repetitive perspective for someone needing that read. Uncomfortable a bit to share something, but the end outweighs the discomfort.
I’ve grown up lucky to have many friends, acquaintances and great exchanges with strangers, of many different ages and walks of life. This has allowed me the benefits of a broadening perspective, not as much as I would like to be honest but learning from human interactions and behavioral patterns has been something that has fascinated me since early childhood. If you become observant enough you get this little glimpse into the future of some sorts because we as humans revert back to our comfort patterns of behavior. Our responses, reactions, feelings, the words may change, intensity of our embellishments or truths as well, the pattern is the same though. After going into your memory and connecting the current experience you make identifications in your brain that give you the insight as to what’s going to happen. It’s pretty fun actually and the only way you get better at is by being observant and listening to when people speak, patient and respectful of peoples attention. No, I’m not posing as a guru into human behavior, it’s just something that happens when you’re silent and listen more than be in love with hearing yourself speak.
One on one conversations have always been easy for me, unless I liked the girl, then it used to be terribly difficult, but when conversing with friends in small groups or just two of us my participation level was through the roof, quick back and forth’s, valuable exchanges being had. Now whenever I was sitting with a larger group I would automatically sit back and learn, I was uncomfortable sharing my thoughts. Now looking back to many of those conversations, my discomfort had some lack of courage added as well to disagree with whatever was being discussed. This wasn’t done on purpose, I would just shy away from sharing, luckily I was gifted a good memory, so the conversations stuck with me to learn from. My opinion was seldomly required so I kept it to myself and whenever I did jump in, it hardly went along with the current conversations flow. The immediate benefits from sitting silently, learning from whatever topics were discussed, you can learn from something you don’t agree with, never would have happened if I didn’t allow myself to be uncomfortable.
Public speaking was something that I ran away from quicker than Forrest Gump ever could, all the excuses imaginable, just the thought of it made me sweat. One day at this organization I volunteer in sometimes, they were having a medical mission and some reporters had come to ask questions about what the organization was helping out with. The director said, Bernie, there’s nobody else around and I have to go see something about the kids, just remember 150 kids, operations start Monday, invite more people to come get evaluated and possibly operated. Done! Sounded easy, lights, camera, frozen… just at that moment a volunteer friend stood behind the camera and showed me one of the kids we had been playing with earlier. Everything just popped into my head and had an amazing 2 minute interview, a full two minutes, felt like an hour, and just when I thought it was all over, the reporter said, ¨Where can the call?¨ Fail! I’ve never forgotten the number ever again. After that time, those interviews and presentations became more common, I still struggle but the discomfort I feel now is heavily outweighed by whatever benefits those children can get from my uncomfortableness. Find your purpose, you have that clearly mapped out, everything is a piece of cake after that. Some years back I gave three different presentation speeches to over 500 people each time from all parts of the world each a year apart, Amsterdam, Geneva & San Diego all volunteering, never thought that would take me to those places. I am authentically grateful and humbled at the generosity and trust that was laid on me on those trips by the organization. Purpose, fundraising for the same kids, what better drive than that, still terrified, got the funds, got the smiles, got over the uncomfortableness of public speaking.
Last one, physical discomfort. No there wasn’t an order or anything well structured before, I’m just saying this is the last one. My body weight has always gone up and down, good pronounced ups and downs, usually the ups have been more stable, LOL. Thankfully I never did develop a complex about my weigh, never had an issue or ashamed of my appearance any more than the average person wanting to be in better shape. A good friend, invited me one day to join him and a group of people that were practicing this Brazilian fighting style, I think I said not interested 50 times, at least, he kept asking. When I started practicing I was well on-top of my weight curve, so I kept that gym shirt on under my jiu-jitsu gi, wasn’t facing that discomfort in front of a gym full of fitness. As I started liking this practice and wanting to get better, after or before practice I would workout at that same gym until I managed to go from an XL gi to an M gi, I wasn’t focused on loosing weight to look and feel better, I wanted to lose the weight to get more flexibility, greater cardio, and get better at jiu-jitsu. My being uncomfortable wasn’t coming from my weight, it was from having to tap out(lose) so many times. We all practiced together for about 4 years, that time will definitely be a chapter in my third book someday. I have an ongoing riff with another friend, he get’s so annoyed when I tell him very confidently that I very easily could beat him up, he insiste I couldn’t, we’ll never know but it’s been going on for years now. My fit friend would give me tips on nutrition, and subconsciously refocused my purpose, keeping a healthy weight is of course important, but your obsession can’t be the scale, there has to be something more uncomfortable that will drive you further. Quick followup, gained some of it back, my friend opened up a CrossFit box, came down to a weight I hadn’t seen since junior year in high-school. For now, I think i’ve just plateaued with my weigh, someday I’ll manage to keep a number stable. Rarely have I seen such a selfless person wishing so much goodness to whomever crosses his path. I know I frustrate him with my lack of discipline, but he’ll keep coming back, he doesn’t now how to not care about peoples health.
So that whole cliche quote of ¨Nothing good ever comes out of staying in your comfort zone¨ or whatever other variations I find very lacking and too dismissive, it’s meant to impulse into changing your comfort habit obviously. Nobody is truly comfortable in their comfort zone, this retreat into a safe space must be studied, understood, why you are uncomfortable in this supposed comfort zone. Allowing yourself to be uncomfortable, forcing yourself into a situation will teach you more and empower you more than this overused mantra. For any real change to occur, you must first became aware of what you need to get done, after that, accepting what you just become aware of is as important. Only then, will your base be strong enough to push through whatever adversities come your way.