Lessons Learned From Doing What You Don’t Want to Do

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

In life, sometimes we have to do things we don’t actually want to do—or at least we may be put in situations that force us to act or perform in ways we wouldn’t normally. It’s all just part of the human experience and, in the end, doing things you’re reluctant to do inevitably builds character. But that’s not all it does: You can learn a lot about yourself and how you relate to others by doing things you don’t want to do. Here are four things you may not want to do and the lessons you’ll learn if you do them anyway.

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1. Putting Others First
It’s okay to be selfish sometimes, but it’s also good to put others first—even when you don’t want to. Putting someone else first shows them you care and can score you big points in the relationship department. You may accompany a partner to dance classes even though you have two left feet. Or you may go visit a sick friend in the hospital even though you hate hospitals. In both cases, you’re going out of your comfort zone for someone else’s sake. Whether it’s a dire circumstance or not, being more selfless is never a bad thing. Those you put first will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

2. Having Empathy
It’s good to walk a mile in other people’s shoes. It makes you appreciate what you have more, teaches you valuable lessons, and shows that you can be present when someone is going through a tough time. Being empathetic means you’re allowing yourself to develop a deeper understanding of someone else. This will change your relationship for the better—forever. Having compassion for other people, especially those you’re closest to (like friends and family) will allow you to connect with them on a more personal level. What a wonderful lesson!

3. Trying Something New
Yes, you’re definitely stepping out of your comfort zone, but in trying something new you may discover a new passion. You may have convinced yourself that you’d never want to do it, and if you did it, you would hate it. Well imagine the sweet excitement of uncovering a new love or passion when you least expect it! So take that cooking class, join that mom group or take a service trip. You could be about to unlock a part of yourself you never knew existed.

4. Listening to Your Gut
Sometimes we don’t want to listen to our gut, so we ignore it. But when it’s right, we feel regret for not listening to it in the first place. Perhaps you accepted a date you knew was going to be terrible, but you agreed to it because you didn’t want the other person to feel rejected. Or maybe you accept another drink from friends, knowing you’ve already reached your limit. If you listened to your gut you probably could have avoided many bad experiences, so listen to it more to minimize bad experiences in the future.

There are many lessons to learn when doing something that seems uninteresting, scary or outside your comfort zone. And with each lesson you learn, the more growth you’ll experience. So the next time you have the opportunity to try something new, or be there for someone, take it. You never know what kind of positive impact it will have on you.

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