On Expanding Your Comfort Zone

Derek Sivers writes an inspiring post on how he’s been able to expand his comfort zone over the years:

I’m 40 meters underwater. It’s getting cold and dark. It’s only the third dive in my life, but I’m taking the advanced training course, and the Caribbean teacher was a little reckless, dashing ahead, leaving me alone.

The next day I’m in a government office, answering an interview, raising my right hand, becoming a citizen of Dominica.

I’m in a Muslim Indian family’s house in Staten Island, washing my feet, with the Imam waiting for my conversion ceremony. Next week they will be my family in-law. The Muslim wedding will make her extended family happy. I’ve memorized the syllables I need to say. “Ash hadu alla ilaha illallah. Ash hadu anna muhammadar rasulullah.”

We’re on a rooftop in Rio de Janiero on New Year’s Eve, celebrating with some Brazilians we met the day before. Down below on the beach, a million people are wearing all white.

I’m alone on a bicycle in a forest in Sweden. I left from Stockholm 6 hours ago, headed south, with only 50 Krona, and I’m getting hungry. I don’t know the way back.

We’re in a filthy dorm-room apartment in Guilin, China, studying at the local university. At the local grocery store, we choose from a bin of live frogs.

The India Embassy official hands me a pseudo-passport that says I am now officially a “Person of Indian Origin” – a pseudo-citizen of India.

I’m the back of a truck in Cambodia, soaking wet, hitching a ride back to Phnom Penh after an all day bike ride. The roads were flooded but we rode our bikes through anyway, Mekong River water chest-high.

That week I speak at four conferences in Cambodia, Singapore, Brunei, and Indonesia. By the 4th one, my American accent has started to morph into something kind of Asian.

Derek mentions how some people push themselves physically, but he’s been pushing himself culturally. I want (need!) to improve in both arenas.

Do check out Derek’s question at the bottom of his post and the hundreds of comments people have left in response.

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