A Small Social Challenge: Try This
How many days have you passed the faces on the street or walked through the office and failed to have a human interaction? How many humans do you pass by without eye contact? Without a smile? Without an acknowledgement?
Yes, maybe a bit more challenging of a thing to do when we're in a worldwide pandemic and everyone is cowering from each other. But think back to just before all this happened.
It's so easy to fall into our patterns of comfort: where we walk the same walk and talk the same talk. We have our habits, we have our people, we do the same things.
If every day we do the exact same thing, how do we ever expect to ever be more than who we are today? How do we expect to grow into the person we want to become? For as much as we do what we've always done, we'll continue to get what we've always gotten.
Imagine the child who practices their addition skills over and over. They know what 1+1 and 3+8 equal. But that's all they ever practice. They'll be damned good at addition when they're older, but they'll never be able to multiply or divide. If that child forever stays working on one thing, they'll forever limited by the extent of their experience.
Growth in life comes from taking risks. It comes from stepping outside our comfort zone. It comes when we live in a place of uncertainty.
"Comfort is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth." -JFK
Think of all the ways you find comfort in your own life. How you have your habits: you take the same way to work every day, you talk to the same people, and you do the same things. When was the last time you stepped out of your box?
Think of the opportunity cost of living in a place of comfort. The longer you do it, the more chances you've missed at growth.
You could change any one of your habits today and find a bit of growth. Or you could do something massive like quit your job or travel the world. Big or small, you've got options within reach that can put you outside your comfort zone.
Here's a small challenge: the next time you find yourself out among people, such as:
On your walk to work or the store
On the bus, train or plane
In the elevator
Waiting in line
Any time you're around a human being you don't know
Try this out. Try putting your phone away, and leaving it away. Try to be in the moment, not lost in thought. Smile at the person you see and watch their response. Say hello. Give a compliment on their shoes. Ask them how their day is. Talk about the weather. Create a connection.
This might put you in a world of awkwardness, but embrace it. Lean into the feeling. Accept it. Push through the feelings, and find a connection to the human you've met.
Do this once. Do it again. Do it a thousand times. If you push yourself into a world outside the box you've built for yourself, you'll absolutely learn more about yourself and the world around you. You'll grow, you'll evolve.