10 Ways Zoning Out Improved My Life +1 Opportunity for More


My armpits were pouring sweat.

This happened at this time everyday.

I sat in my desk terrified.

I was about to be called on to give my presentation in front of the class.

I had a fear of public speaking. My voice would quiver. My body would shake and I would kinda zone out as I hoped for the three minute speech to be over quickly. It wasn’t until I took an actual class about speech giving in high school that I got over my fear. Funny thing was it had nothing to do with the class and everything to do with the teacher.

Looking back now the teacher was a good lady.

At the time I was more afraid of her than I was of public speaking.

So I gave my speeches. Shake voice and all…

The act getting outside of my comfort zone is not difficult for me. But usually I don’t out of well…. comfort.

I have always been a little weird. Just ask anyone who knows me. On the way to school as a kid, when I wasn’t peeing my pants, I would be waving to strangers. I ate an assortment of leaves and berries along the way. And for a while I ate a lot of paper.

Mostly I don’t have trouble doing things. I just have to have a reason why and a purpose for them. Then I will try something new. For example check out 10 MOST UNUSUAL THINGS I came up with to get outside of your comfort zone.

In 13 WEIRD WAYS TO FIND BALANCE I had this to say about comfort zones:

“I want to know my limits so I can then break them. I want to find my edge. The ends of my comfort zones and then get uncomfortable. I want to grow. I want to change. I want to develop.

Mostly I just want to sleep.”

I read this blog by Paralign about getting outside of your comfort zone: “There is nothing holding you back from creating a better future other than your beliefs. If you don’t want your life to be determined by a star template, than you have to modify it yourself. This involves intense reprogramming where “stepping out of the comfort zone” would seem like an understatement.”

And to develop I need to come up with ideas…

As far as ideas go, Google wants to count calories in your Instagram food photos. I had a similar idea about that once.

“[Google] is reportedly developing a new artificial intelligence project which will identify pictures of food posted on Instagram, and will tell you the number of calories included in that meal.” This is great to a point. I could see someone using it to get things under control. My objections would be having to take all the pictures myself and essentially be entering the data. Also, come on, we all have an idea about the calories and nutritional value in our foods. Or can just look on the labels…

So where is the advantage of sharing everything on Instagram for Google to analyze? Sure it is interesting and might be fun to do a few times. But after that you are basically working for Google, albeit without pay. At least Amazon Mechanical Turk offers pennies for your time.


“If someone already created the course you want to create, that’s GOOD NEWS!

I know that’s counter intuitive, but bear with me…

When you come up with an online course idea that has NEVER been done before, that means one thing: there’s probably no one interested in buying it.


This is actually a good thing that I had an idea similar to Google. It is confidence building to know that the things I am thinking are actually worth doing by a big company.

You might be thinking that someone else carrying out my idea would cause despair, dissatisfaction of jealousy. Some people think they can own ideas or sell them (which is possible…). However, ideas are not exclusive. I think, similar to Mark Cuban, that patents are running innovation.

Intellectual property rights are a way for intellectual laziness.

It is a fear based move on protecting something (that wasn’t solely yours to begin with usually) and then trying to “milk it for all its worth” rather than being free and creative. The second way is more work. That is why most people don’t want to do it.

It is easier to say ideas are shit than it is to come up with 10 ideas a day. Let alone 10 good ideas. Let alone 10 really great ideas!

When I watch Shark Tank I wonder what these people who don’t get deals plan on doing. They usually seems to have gone “all in” on just one idea. They have often gone into great debt and not paid themselves. Sometimes for years. And then the go on the show and walk away with criticisms (which can be helpful) and no deal.

I feel like this is part of the false “American Dream” that we are all just one idea away from being rich. If only you had just one idea then you could make it. Sell it. Get rich. The truth is you would always have to do more anyways. The people who have made deals on Shark Tank would tell you that.

Whether it is making more products to add to your line or getting into new locations. There is always the next step to continue building. No great business every only had one product.

Which is why getting used to getting out of your comfort zone regularly is important. Pushing your personal limits allows for development and growth. Often in unexpected ways.

For Day 112 of Claudia Altucher’s book Become An Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency Of The 21st Century: I get to share 10 Crazy Things I Have Done That Were Completely Out Of My Comfort Zone and What I Learned From Them.

Some of these are not so much “crazy” just things outside my comfort zone.

1 Quitting my job… and then quitting the next job…

Here’s the deal. Long story short the first time I quit my job I did give a two weeks notice. But I had no plan where I would work. It took awhile but I found something else better.

In the in between time I worked a terrible job at a call center. I was making $100 dollars a week. My rent was $400 a month. This job sucked anyways and it wasn’t even gonna cover all my other living expenses. I just basically never showed up again. That happened a lot there.

I learned from that place that I am not willing to lie to make a sale. And that bills keep coming even if you don’t have income.

This lead to my next short gig where well…

2 I tried selling kitchen knives

This was uncomfortable in that I didn’t want to be a “door to door” salesman. I didn’t even want to be a “salesman”. But that changed in a way later after reading some influential books.

From trying this out of comfort zone experience I learned that my networking skills needed improving (they still do…). Selling “door to door” is a terrible waste. And be careful who you work for. The guys in charge where suspicious. Possibly drug dealers on the side. But that was just a hunch.

3 Over Stay My Welcome

Not what you are thinking…

This happened when I had a job interview. I was looking for a side gig at the time and had an interview at a big box retailer.

It was Target.

The guy didn’t really want to hire me. At the end of the interview I didn’t get up and leave. I was going out of my comfort zone and going to try to talk him into it anyways or at least make him give me a straight answer on why he wouldn’t hire me.

Eventually I left but without a satisfying answer. They had a stupid requirement and were inflexibility. I had a college degree and cashier experience (from the first job I quit) so there was no real reason not to hire me. But from that I learned that even when you “don’t take “no” for an answer” sometimes the answer is still “no”.

4 Recently I started being a driver for Lyft

This one is not entirely out of my comfort zone. However it keeps me from doing things that I want or rather do (i.e. being comfortable). So far it has been a great experience! If you want to sign up with this link: https://www.lyft.com/drivers/MICHAEL454040 you and I both could earn an extra $500.

Ultimately I included this as outside my comfort zone because it is giving up “free time” to earn some side money. I have had plenty of time to sit at home and watch TV. I want to be out there and make a change to my life so I can grow and develop beyond my current state of affairs.

Speaking of which, this is why I…

5 Have gone back to school to get my MBA

This is outside my zone because I said I wouldn’t do it. But as my wife has written about in her blog post, What happens when you throw caution to the wind?, sometimes we do things we never set out to do.

Again this is a instance of giving up the comfort of “doing nothing” and instead “doing something” about my future. Getting out of my zone is leading to growth and development.

Which reminds me of the other time in college where…

6 I walked out on my final exam

I was taking a huge risk. I didn’t even write an essay. And the final was to answer just one essay question.

It was for my World Literature class. I was supposed to analyze part of Dante’s Inferno. The part where it says “Abandon all hope ye who enter here”. And so I wrote, “Abandon all hope, and accept faith.” Then I wrote a P.S. I said that I was going on a road trip and leaving immediately.

I got up about 2 minutes after he passed out the test and writing that. I walked up front and handed it in and never looked back.

I felt like a bad ass.

From this I learned that it is not always important to follow “rules” and that not doing so can lead to adventure.

One sorta adventure outside my zone was when…

7 Went out on short road trips

The trip I left on that final exam day was one of a few I ended up going on that summer. I would pick a few destinations and map out the major highways to get there. This was before phones had GPS. And thing I would pack up some water and a few snacks and hit the road.

I wrote about one time I almost died in HOW UNLEARNING SAVED MY LIFE.

Mostly it was just me and my car and not staying in my comfort zone.

Speaking of cars…

8 I bit off more than I could chew

I have done minor car repairs before. I have replaced spark plugs, oil changes, alternators, and one time I diagnosed and repaired a problem with my EGR valve system. I find problem solving interesting.

Well one time I decided to replace my belts. I did the job ok. Or so I thought…

It turns out that job was a little outside my capabilities. I thought I could do it but was a little hesitant to try. I did anyways and in the process managed to strip a bolt which latter caused a bigger problem.

This ended up as a total failure.

From it I learned to get help if something is beyond your level. I could also have done well to have the right tools for the job.

As far as getting a job goes well…

9 Having a 12 person interview

This was an unplanned uncomfortable experience.

I went to a job interview. I had a typing test. The position was for a front desk job at a community college. Nothing too spectacular but I needed something more steady at the time.

Well after the typing part I got sent upstairs for the interview.

That’s when I walked into the bear trap.

There was a horseshoe setup of 12 people to interview me.


For a front desk clerk position!

Besides having no idea who to look at and direct my answers too, it was mostly a waste of everyone’s time. They asked pointless questions of just following the script. And then I didn’t get the job. Which I was okay with after that.

But from that I learned that if an interview needs 12 people, it better be for something really important, or else just turn around and walk out. Save you and everyone else the time and trouble…

10 Buying a house

This wasn’t uncomfortable because of the process. It was simple because my wife is awesome and we make quick decisions. We had great people help us with the process. We ended up only paying about $63 upfront to get it too! That is a story for later.

However, the thing is that I didn’t want to own a home. But it was my idea. I still don’t and we will be selling as soon as it makes sense to. It is really just a move in a bigger plan…

+1 Tomorrow I am getting outside my comfort zone again in a whole new way

I have an interview scheduled with Michele the Trainer. We will be discussing my recent blog on 10 WAYS TO CHOOSE YOURSELF ON PERISCOPE. I have never been interview that I can remember. I have worked on my middle school news paper where we wrote articles and then asked interviewees leading questions to fit what we already wrote…

But that is something different altogether.

Overall when it comes to comfort zones, for me…

I went from being sweat, shaky, and afraid to speak in front of my small high school speech class, to wanting to become a paid public speaker.

My have things changed…


I wanted to share with you this interesting website I found: http://paralign.me.

It has a good message that: “You’re Not Alone. It’s healthy to talk about your problems.”


Check them out today!


P.S. Want more ways to grow besides just being uncomfortable?

Conspire to Inspire is NOW ONLY $0.99!

When reading Conspire To Inspire, you will find out why I chose to feature Claudia Altucher along with eight other prominent people.

The story will tell how I discovered them, and why you should care.



Becca primarily blogs in French so if Vous parlez Français?
Check out her blog FLEUR DE FOI.



Deutsch Gesprochen?
Check out my friend Malchus’ blog Anders-Unternehmen.



Go to sarahpaine.com for more great perspectives to rethink life!



If you have been thinking about using Lyft for a ride or driving for Lyft please use my link: https://www.lyft.com/drivers/MICHAEL454040 and we will both reap the benefits!




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