What’s your discomfort zone after you quit drinking?
How long is it going to last and what does it involve?
Let’s go walking.
Today I wanted to talk about your discomfort zone and learning how to be uncomfortable with yourself.
What is your discomfort zone?
How long does it last?
What are you feeling?
These are all questions that are sort of impossible to answer in the grand scheme of things, from a personal perspective.
I can tell you exactly what I went through, what some people went through, and I can tell you that most of your discomfort zone is upheld within your own mind.
So, a lot of the discomfort is great in some people because they haven’t done enough homework, they haven’t thought about it in the right way.
They thought about it in a completely negative aspect.
None of us like the discomfort in any shape, way or form.
Most people won’t eat vegetables for instance because they don’t taste that great.
They don’t taste as good as a four cheeses pizza with pepperoni slices and pineapples smeared all over it.
That’s why most people won’t at that kind of stuff, that’s why most people are obese, that’s why a lot of people, 85-90% of people are there because of stuff they’ve done to themselves.
We’ve got the western diseases of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis.
All these diseases are caused by the food we’re eating, all the crap we’re putting into our bodies.
But people don’t want to stop doing that because they don’t want to feel the discomfort of doing something different, and they believe that the discomfort is going to last a long time.
People won’t change their diet because they believe ‘if I change what I’m doing now, then I’m going to have to eat this horrible, crappy food for the rest of my life.’
This is all your taste buds.
I often talk about when you quit drinking alcohol, that your body gets a tolerance to the alcohol, after a while you have to drink more.
In the beginning, no one likes to drink alcohol, it’s all fucking horrible stuff.
They don’t like the taste, how it makes them feel, and it’s only after a while that we get into the taste of this thing.
It’s exactly the same thing with food.
You get into quite a taste to vegetables and lentils and rice and beans.
I’m going through the same sort of thing in my life with salt.
I’m trying to eliminate most of the salt as I can.
First I tried to eliminate the whole thing.
It was difficult.
You can eliminate the salt in general, just same way as you can eliminate the alcohol because the body produces a certain amount of alcohol.
There is a certain amount of salt in the foods that you’re eating.
If it’s coming out of the ground, there’s a certain amount of salt as a mineral in the food.
If you try and eliminate it…
I was a big salt eater.
I’d eat two or three teaspoons of salt a day.
That’s not good for you.
What I’ve done is to try and stop sprinkling salt over my food and that’s working so far.
My body, my mind is getting used to not having salt in my diet.
When I do go for a meal and it’s a highly salted meal, like some of the curries that we go for, it really tastes salty.
Now I’m sort of going for asking them not to put any extra salt in the food.
I’ll talk about a different perspective.
When you’re talking about people eating vegetables, it’s exactly the same thing as people losing weight, or exercising, or doing the things that they know they should be doing in life, getting through those things that they know will make a difference, and it’s because of the discomfort.
If you haven’t exercised before, or if you haven’t n a long time, then it’s going to be tough.
It’s going to give you a lot of discomfort.
So it stops a lot of people from doing that one thing whether it’s running or walking.
They don’t want to feel that.
A lot of other things like saving is more difficult in the modern society because we’re built to be consumers.
Saving is another one that people don’t want to do.
Speaking up for themselves, speaking up in public, there are so many other things that bring discomfort, but if you get over the discomfort, it will bring great benefits to your life.
We spend our whole lives running in the opposite direction from discomfort.
All we want to do is stay in that comfort zone where we’re nice and comfortable, no pain but no gain.
Static, stagnant, and I think if you bring your life into that sort of area where you’re thinking about what I was talking about earlier, where the alcohol brings you tolerance, you get used to certain things, then it’s not only stagnation if you just stay in your comfort zone and never do anything outside of it, you sort of go backwards in your life.
I think it really brings chaos and conflict into someone’s life.
Because the whole thing about humans is growth and movement.
When you go against that, you’re going against your own human nature.
Getting outside of your comfort zone is one of the best skills that you can learn.
It is a skill, something you’re born with.
When you’re a young kid, you’ve got no problem with trying new things, experimentation.
You just do things, there is no ‘I’m going to do this and that’, it’s just do.
And we forget that as we get older.
I know myself, it’s a form of laziness.
We get so attached to the things we’ve got, places we are, people we’re with, we don’t want to rock the boat in any way.
This is half the problem with drinking, it’s getting too comfortable with what we know, even when that comfort is going to bring us more discomfort in the long run.
Think about all the shit that will happen to you if you don’t stop drinking.
What’s going to happen? Nothing good anyway.
You’ve got to learn the skill of being uncomfortable in your life.
It’s a learnable skill.
Quitting drinking is always something that will pull you out of your comfort zone.
There’s no doubt about that, it’s just the nature of it.
You just used to do it all the time, you’re used to drinking all the time.
As soon as something strikes us as being uncomfortable, then we drink.
As soon as something is stressful, we drink.
It’s one of the things that I see all the time, one of the things that I feel for myself, even now.
When my father died, I didn’t really give it a thought.
It wasn’t something that I thought about in the negative term.
It was something that I thought about in terms of ‘my father just died. The natural part of me would have a wake and be a big part of the wake’
There was a wake, everyone was getting drunk and dealing with that problem in their own way.
I dealt with it in my own way, which was to think about my dad, and think about the times I had with him, talk about those ‘do you remember this?’ times with my family.
I got up the next morning and I remembered all those stories that we shared.
Half my family got up and had dirty, big hangovers.
I’m just saying from my perspective, I’m glad I’m not there anymore.
I didn’t think about doing that.
I didn’t need to.
It’s because my comfort zone has stretched way beyond alcohol.
Alcohol is not a factor anymore.
I’ve got over the discomfort of alcohol being any part of my life now.
I’ve been to weddings, I’ve been to a funeral, many birthday parties and dinners, and I’ve gone through many situations where alcohol would have been a part of my life before, and isn’t now.
And, I’ll say that I learned something from each one.
I didn’t learn something deliberately.
It wasn’t the fact that I had to say ‘I need to sit down and think about this, think about the lessons that this is going to give me’, but I just built a little more experience to what I had before, and what I’d gone through previously.
It gave me a little bit more knowledge about myself and abilities and self-confidence.
That’s what happens.
You build bit by bit.
When you’re going forwards, you’re moving away from alcohol and you’ve got your aim on something out there in front of you, whatever it is, take it easy.
Break things down into smaller chunks and you’re basically pushing outside of your comfort zone.
You’re getting slightly into your discomfort zone bit by bit.
As you do that, you build momentum, self-confidence, you educate yourself naturally.
It’s not something that you deliberately have to do, it’s something that happens as a part of the process of living.
Just as we grow accustomed to drinking alcohol and acquiring the taste, you have to go across that to the new part of your life.
If you go back to when you were a teenager and you first started drinking, would you ever have thought that you would end up I the position you are now, whatever it is that you’re drinking?
You want to stop.
I’m not talking about just wanting to stop, it’s looking at yourself from back then, looking down on yourself as you’re drinking.
I’ve got a video of myself where I was absolutely plastered, and it’s just a disgrace.
I look back on them now, I don’t know if I’m ever going to post those online.
Maybe one day.
But it is a disgrace, and when I look at myself in those videos, if you think the first video I made was bad, maybe I’ll put a bit up sometime.
But we all know where we are.
If you’ve ever done that or looked like that, look at it from that perspective of when you’re younger and you’re looking forward, not at a video but say you could have transported yourself to the future and looked down on yourself, I would have seen this fat, baldy bloke, overweight, being plastered, talking about how miserable my life was, basically bitching and moaning and getting upset with the whole thing.
It’s good to have those videos.
I’m never going to go back there, but if I ever, maybe in my wildest dreams, or something bad will happen, I don’t know.
I don’t think I’m ever going to be in that position, but what if?
It’s a good video to look at and say ‘fuck that’.
I’m never going to be in that position again.
I never want to feel like that and look like that.
But again, this is a skill that you can learn.
You learn through practice, through doing.
You learn through putting yourself in uncomfortable situations.
If you want a bit of discomfort today, what you can do, just do it for five seconds, is get into a cold shower.
Stand underneath the shower, turn the thing down to its coldest setting, stand underneath it for 5 seconds.
Can you do that?
This is something that is not going to kill you.
It’s not going to do anything bad to you, but it will give you discomfort.
There’s a great TED talk on it, just put in cold TED talk, and there’s a young guy talking about it.
He’s saying if you can’t do that, feel the discomfort of having cold water splashed across your skin- it’s not a whip and won’t cause you any harm- then how do you expect to be able to put up with other kinds of discomfort in your life?
You might be thinking what’s the point of that?
There is a point, it builds your discomfort.
It builds your skill of accepting discomfort.
I guarantee you, this one skill if you can build it, keep pushing yourself little by little outside of your comfort zones, this one skill will help you with so many different areas of your life.
Because all change requires you to step out of your comfort zone.
All stepping out of your comfort zone is your discomfort zone, a place where we don’t naturally like to be.
Quitting drinking alcohol involves stepping outside your comfort zone into your discomfort zone.
But, once you do that, your comfort zone will stretch, and it will now encompass what used to be part of your discomfort zone.
It’s the idea that stops you from doing it more than anything else.
If you don’t think about it, you just get in there and do it, that’s when it’s easy.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone in little ways, and you gradually expand your comfort zone.
You expand it to encompass what used to feel uncomfortable.
You’ve changed, and what you’ve changed into it someone that can tolerate, has got used to doing this, has got self-confidence in doing this, and that’s what it’s all about.
Push yourself past, don’t wait for the right time, don’t wait until the stars are aligned, until everyone’s ready for you to quit because that’s not going to happen.
Perfection is something that will stop you from doing everything.
It will just lead to stopping in your tracks, lead you to stagnation.
So, put yourself out and do it now.
Put yourself into your discomfort zone for a while.
It won’t last long.
It will gradually decrease the discomfort for a long time.
If you focus away from the alcohol and on our future, you will quickly find yourself leaving alcohol behind you.
What you focus on is what grows in your life.
So, if you focus on the alcohol, that’s what’s going to grow.
If you focus on the future, that’s what’s going to grow.
So, focus on your future, your plans and what you really, really want to do in your life?
What’s your ultimate dream?
Start pursuing it, break it down into small chunks, step out of your comfort zone little by little.
There’s no point in stepping outside of your comfort zone little by little when you’re quitting drinking, that’s something that you have to do all at once.
All this bollocks about if I cut down from 20 this week to 19, really?
If you’ve got a medical condition, there are some people that need to do this because they just can’t stop.
But most people are not in that position. Most people are just afraid of what’s going to happen when they stop.
So, don’t be that person.
You don’t have to be.
You’re just prolonging the agony.
For years, I prolonged the agony of quitting smoking.
I put myself through the same torture over and over again, and it was just pointless.
Instead of just saying ‘no more, I’ve had enough’ I just kept going back.
I was looking for an excuse to start smoking again, tricking my mind into believing that I had stopped, but I was still smoking at the time.
It just led me back to the same thing.
It’s the same with alcohol, you trick your mind into believing that you need this toxin in your life.
You don’t call it a toxin, you call it your few cans of beer, your few pints of Guinness, whatever it is, it’s all in the head.
When you’re quitting drinking, there is no easy way to do this.
Stop doing it and then gradually ease yourself into your new life.
Do this bit by bit.
Focus on one thing at a time and make gradual progress.
This is a long video.
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Onwards and Upwards!