The struggle to break the day to day routine of living within your comfort zone is something you can only accomplish through conscious undertaking. It is simply too easy to wake up everyday to the beat of the same drum. In fact, it’s human nature—we love our routine. I find myself struggling from this “disease” after four years of having my days and nights planned well in advance—day after day after day. However, I’m working to break the old routine and try different activities. In fact, I think stepping outside your comfort zone will make you a much more interesting person. In addition, you may find some things about yourself that you never knew before.
I have some very interesting people in my life, and I’ve taken some time to think deeply about what makes them interesting. Moreover, some of what you read is from personal experience that I’ve picked up along the way:
1. Read, Read, Read. Ok, I realize this is not a new idea. However, there is a bit of a twist. Read both fiction and non-fiction. Read magazines. Read your friend’s blogs. Read random people’s blogs that have taken the time to comment—they probably have something interesting to say. More importantly, read both for purpose and for pleasure. If you get stuck in academia land too much—meaning you are always marking a book, taking notes, etc, you never really allow yourself to take a new adventure. Getting lost in a good fiction novel can help spark many quality thoughts as well. A special thanks to my brother the Doc—Jared Reese—for suggesting I expand my reading selections. Cameron Schaefer wrote an excellent post related to reading called 7 Ways to Remember What You Read.
2. Learn to Develop Yourself Socially and Don’t Be Afraid to Take Risks. My good friend Andrew Ramsey is one of the most interesting people I know because he takes risks and is always seeking new adventures. His laundry list of cool activities include: Photography, traveling, hiking, camping, an African safari, eating organic foods, wine tastings, etc. Moreover, he has rightfully earned the nickname “The Renaissance Man” because he can literally talk to anyone about anything at anytime of the day no matter what. This is no a joke. He steps outside what an average person would deem “comfortable” and shows a genuine interest in other people. Instead of looking at someone as “weird,” he’ll ask them a deeper question like “That’s awesome, how did you get into that.” His social skills along with his willingness to take risks and be different make him the top dog on my list of “most interesting friends.”
3. Create a Network of Friends for Active Discussions. There are many different ways to attack this idea. The best suggestion I can offer is to have a focus area with friends for different topics. Have friends for business. Have friends to discuss things of a religious or spiritual nature. Have friends that just want to drink beer and watch sports. Find out what you like and don’t like. Having peer mentors can be a very powerful thing. After you have your categories, don’t be afraid to mix and match—discussions get interesting as your personal relationships grow.
On a related note:
An area I’ve been thinking about deals with therapy. Ben Casnocha writes—Should Everyone Attend Therapy? This brings up an interesting argument in your personal development: Why not have a completely unbiased relationship with a professional? How much growth could come from interacting with someone on a purely professional level with no strings attached?