Have you ever had a trip to the office where you barely remember what happened after you got in the car?
If you don’t get out of your comfort zone, you might find yourself tuning out much of your life daily.
In this Ted Talk episode, Ted explains why feeling uncomfortable is the key to success.
Also, he shares his own experiences when he had to leave his comfort zone to grow and what happened next.
Tune in if you’re stuck in your comfort zone and you want to learn how to grow and live the life you’re meant to live.
- Why your comfort zone is holding you back in life
- Why do we feel background anxiety even though everything seems to go well in our lives?
- Why is so important to seek discomfort
- How Ted overcame the death of his father
- Ted’s experience with diving in the Cenotes
- Why we should do things that scare us?
- How we should approach the things that are uncomfortable
- What are the things in your life that you need to face
- Fear can be a good thing
- The importance of facing our limiting beliefs
- Effective strategies to get out of your comfort zone and live a better life
- And much more…
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Podcast Transcription: Stop Taking The Easy Way Out! Seeking Discomfort Will Make Your Life Better
Ted Ryce: We all want an easy life, we all want to coast by, we all want just great experiences, especially if you’re American, that’s kind of the Disney World pollyannish mentality that we just grow up with.
And today, we’re going to talk about how seeking an easy life leads to a harder one. And how seeking discomfort, doing the hard things in life, actually leads to an easier life.
So, if you’ve been a person who’s been avoiding hard things—now, you don’t avoid all hard things, it’s hard to go to work every day or run your business or whatever it is that you do that you need to. But I’m not talking about those things, I’m talking about the things that you know you need to do in your life, but you avoid doing them, you procrastinate. You distract yourself, you scroll on social media, watch Netflix, or Apple TV, or Disney Plus, or eat or drink, or do drugs or watch porn, all to avoid doing those things that you know you need to do.
But nobody’s holding you accountable for it. Nobody’s forcing you to do it, so you just keep running back to what’s comfortable.
No judgments here, as I’ve done a lot of that. But today, we’re going to unpack why doing those easy things, running to our comfort zone, leads to a harder life and why facing the discomfort in your life, leads to a much easier life, ironically. It’s just one of those concepts that I love, because it’s so counterintuitive.
So, what is up, my friend? Bienvenidos, mis amigos! Welcome back to Legendary Life podcast. I’m your host, Ted Ryce, coach to entrepreneurs, executives, and other high performing professionals. And as you may know, I’m back in Mexico, back in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. And just yesterday, October 3, now this is going to go out a bit later, but it’s been a year since my dad’s death.
And kind of interestingly, Playa Del Carmen Mexico if you remember, if you’ve been listening to the podcast for that long, it’s where I went when I needed a break last year from the stress of my dad’s failing health and stepping in for him financially, stepping in for him emotionally, stepping up for him in all those ways in doing those necessary things.
Well, at least I didn’t have to, but I felt as a son—even in spite of all the mistakes. And yeah, I would even say greater than mistakes. All the... I mean, what would you call them? All the terrible things my dad did to me, you know, I felt it was necessary to do those things. But since that time, like I said, he ended up dying in October 3, I’ve been in this spot where I lived in Brazil for eight months.
And then I went to Miami for a month and I had to leave Brazil, I didn’t know where to go. And the goal that I have in my life right now is to grow my business. But I’m very fortunate, in that, I don’t really need to be in any city or necessarily in any country, as long as I have a solid internet connection and I don’t mind the timezone differences. In other words, like going to Europe might be a bit tough to do calls with my clients at 3am in the morning or something like that. I can be anywhere in the world.
And so, I’ve chosen to come back to Playa Del Carmen. And just yesterday, just the anniversary of my father’s death, I went diving in a Cenote. And if you don’t know what a Cenote is, they’re these underground caverns that are filled with water. They’re sinkholes, and people from around the world come to this area of Mexico to dive them because it’s so accessible. There are many caves. There’re caves all over the world, but it’s very accessible here.
In fact, before the Spanish arrived in Mexico, the Mayan people used these sinkholes, these Cenotes as places to gather water. Drinking water, the water is fresh, even though we’re surrounded by ocean. The sinkholes in these areas are a source of fresh water. And at a more spiritual level, the Mayan people believed that these sinkholes were insurances to their underworld. They believed that’s where their gods resided and that’s where the spirits of their ancestors went after they died.
And how fitting is it, I thought that it’s the anniversary of my father’s death and I’m diving into the underworld, the Mayan underworld to face death, to face the death of my father, to face what I’m thinking about now, my own death, even though I’m 44 years old.
A friend of mine told me last year, a great friend of mine, an Irish guy who I met in Chiang Mai, Thailand, he said, “Our fathers are the barriers to death, they protect us from death, they do it not just physically, in that, fathers physically protect us, but metaphorically protect us as well. It’s a buffer against death. And when that buffer is gone, there’s no more protection.”
And it’s something we all, if we live long enough, we all go through this. And we all have a story about our parents, and how our parents acted and what it means when they’re gone, what it means when our fathers are no longer here.
So, I decided to go diving. And let me tell you, I’ve been feeling a lot of anxiety, I haven’t shared that much of it. But I have been feeling a lot of anxiety, just this background anxiety in my life.
And my life is really good, right now, it’s the best. I’m having the best life ever, in so many ways. My business is doing well, I make more money than I used to. I have a very free lifestyle, where I have to be on my calls for my clients. And certainly, I’ve got to get work done. But I have a schedule that allows me to a great deal of freedom. I mean, it’s just incredible. I never even thought life like this existed five years ago.
And so, I’m at this place where I’m really enjoying my life. And at the same time, I’ve got this other struggle, this more existential struggle, this connection with my family—and especially the death of my dad, it means so much. It’s been causing this background anxiety. And I’m sharing my story with you. But I want to know if you resonate.
Do you walk around with a background anxiety, with a feeling that there’s just something off, even though if someone looked at your life, they would say, “Well, you’ve got this going on for you, you’ve got that going on for you, you’ve got so much to be grateful for. You have nothing to complain about. What’s the problem?”
And in a way, they’re right. And you know they’re right. But what they’re wrong about is that just talking about how you should be more grateful or how you shouldn’t feel this anxiety it doesn’t get rid of the anxiety. The feeling is still there, even though you can logically, with your mind, reason it out that there’s no reason to have this anxiety. And that’s what I’ve been struggling with. Does that sound familiar to you it?
I’ll tell you, just from being in a month in Miami last month, a few weeks ago, people are walking around like that. It’s palpable when you speak to them. So many Americans are walking around like that. In Miami, it’s quite interesting, because people have a lot to be grateful for so much to be grateful for, yet there’s this underlying anxiety.
And not only do they have things to be grateful for, I mean, people are doing well financially in Miami. The place where I was living in, the apartment started half a million dollars and up. It’s a luxury building. Not super-duper luxury, not quite there yet, folks. But I’m just saying it’s interesting that people who are making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, they’re still walking around, they’re not quite happy.
And then you arrive in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and the average salary here is like $13 or $15 a day, you see a lot more—you definitely see people struggling. But there’s not the same level of this existential angst that so many people walk around with.
And so, I’ve been wanting to get rid of that. And I’ve been trying different things to get rid of that. A lot of us just suck it up, though and we keep doing—or we distract ourselves, like I talked about in the beginning.
So, I’m not a person who—I mean, I’m not going to say I don’t distract myself, because all those channels, the Apple TV, the Netflix, Amazon Prime, what else? Hulu. I’ve got them. I love series. I love movies, but I’m very cognizant of the fact that distracting myself doesn’t solve these problems. And I’m more...
Well, I used to do a lot of that and I used to smoke a lot of marijuana to escape things or drink alcohol and do other things that weren’t healthy for me.
And eat too, even though I didn’t have a weight problem until I was in my 30s, I had like this binge eating behaviour. Although nobody would have said anything about it like, “Oh, but you look perfect, you have abs and you’re lean.” It’s like, “Yeah, but it’s not about how I look. It’s great to be physically free of bad blood markers, bad blood readings.”
But emotionally, I wasn’t feeling so healthy. So, I know I’ve been hunting, how to get rid of this anxiety. And when I dove into the water yesterday, for the first time in a year, because I didn’t do any diving in Brazil, I was hoping to do some diving in Miami, but it just didn’t happen. As I started to descend into the Cenote, the underground entrance to the Mayan underworld, I started to have feelings of fear, even though I had done this before. And the feelings where I can’t breathe underwater, “Oh, I’ve got to stop, I shouldn’t be going underwater, I think I need to go back up.”
I started to have these fears come up. But what I had to do is I had to breathe through it, I had to calm myself through it. I had to remember I’ve been doing this, I’m certified. I’m not just an open water diver, I’ve got an advanced certification, I had to remember, “Hey, remember who you are here.” And then I also realized this is awesome, this fear that’s coming up.
And the reason it’s so awesome, is because this fear that I’m experiencing, doing this thing that I’ve done many times before it’s a sign that it needs to be done. It needs to be done. Something that I feel like I had conquered in the past, my fear of diving, of being underwater and breathing, it was still there. It was back after a year, as so many things have come back after my dad’s death. It sensitized me emotionally, I’ve been emotionally more on edge. My nervous system has been a bit on edge. I haven’t been sleeping as well.
Like I said, I have that background anxiety, which, when we have a background level of anxiety that just is always running, taking up RAM, if you will, if you don’t mind the computer analogy, it means that our nervous system, more specifically, the sympathetic side of our autonomic nervous system is on edge, is more activated. And when that’s happening, what we need to do—one of the things that I found that works super well is to do things that scare you, do the hard things.
And so, I didn’t have to come back up. I breathe through it. And Ed, who is my dive master down here in Playa Del Carmen, the guy who I— the three times that I’ve been here, he’s got a business named Diving Incorporated, highly recommend them. He realized that I hadn’t been doing diving for a year and he had me come back up a couple of times we had a talk, we did some, some things to gradually ease into it.
Which is another part of attacking things that are uncomfortable. It would have been okay if we kept going. But the fact that we came back up, it even made the discomfort even more tolerable, which is good, because when we got into the cavern, oh, it’s dark in there, it’s tight in there, it’s not for everybody, which is why I like it. It’s not like diving in the ocean. Some parts, you can’t just swim up to the surface, even though you’re not supposed to do that when you’re diving because you get decompression sickness, but you feel like you can escape if you need to. You can do an emergency ascent if you need to.
But in a cave where there’s—it’s a cavern, not a cave, there’s very particular difference in doing cave diving versus cavern diving. But still, you can’t just descend when you want. So, we eased into it. But it was still very challenging. It was hard. It was scary. And not only do you face the Mayan underworld down there, you face your own death down there. You face the fears of your own death, you face also the fossils of plants and animals that have been long gone.
You see formations of stalactites and stalagmites that took thousands and thousands of years to form. It gives you a lot of perspective. Sometimes you see bones. I think that’s only happened in one place, where there was some human remains. Mayans apparently, put the skeletons or they used it as a graveyard sometimes. So, I faced this hard thing, did this hard thing.
And guess how I felt on the other side of it? I was so calm when I came up after that dive, after facing my fears of death, not being able to breathe underwater. Why? Because you’re afraid you’re going to die, being in a dark cave underwater. Again, cavern, right? Especially for those of you who dive, know the difference. But for those of you who don’t, it’s a cavern, right?
But being in a cavern underwater, knowing you can’t just go up when you want, that you could have an accident. I mean, accidents rarely happen, but it’s still a possibility. And so, I think the lessons from this story, they’re not immediately obvious, is that by facing our fears, we lower the level of background anxiety in our life. And if you’re walking around with a lot of background anxiety, it’s a sign that you’re not doing enough hard things.
And you may say, “Well, Ted, I’m not in Mexico, man. I can’t just leave my business or take a vacation from work so I can go do some diving in Mexico.” But this isn’t about diving. This isn’t about Cenote diving or cavern diving or cave diving, it’s not about those things.
It’s about what in your life can you do? What are the things in your life that you can do? Or more specifically, what are the things in your life that you need to face, you know you need to face them, but you keep distracting yourself or telling yourself it’s not the right time.
Or you’ll just put it off a little bit more. You procrastinate. When in reality, you know there’s no—there’s never a right time. It’s just whenever you start to leave that comfort zone, you start to feel the anxiety and you’ve got to go back.
You’re just like, “Oh, that feels so uncomfortable. Everything’s telling me no.” But the part of you that’s telling you no, is the bullshit part of yourself. That’s what I’ve learned. Every time when there’s something that I know I need to do and that voice comes up and tells me not to do it, I know it’s not the best part of myself. It’s the bullshit part of myself. And I want to ask you, what in your life do you need to face?
And whenever you start to think about it, whenever you start to maybe take action towards it, that bullshit-self shows up and says, ‘No, it’s not the right time! No, this feels really uncomfortable. You should probably stop.”
I remember having a call with a client—or she wasn’t a client yet, it was that breakthrough call that I offer. And she was like, “Oh, my gosh, I just feel so anxious about this.” And I’m like, “why do you feel so anxious? Is there something that you don’t trust? Because if you don’t trust me, I understand.” She’s like, “No, I trust you.” I was like, “Okay, well, is there something about the program that you don’t trust?” She’s like, “No,” I’m like, “Well, what is it?”
And the answer was that she knew she needed to do something, but it was just so hard to put herself first. It was so hard for her to overcome all the beliefs about seeking help, and putting herself first and investing in ourselves. I mean, we all invest in ourselves, right? But we go on vacations at all you can eat, all you can drink resorts, we buy new cars, because that’s so important. That’s such a great investment. It depreciates as soon as you drive it off the lot—most cars. Buy clothes and other things.
So, for her, that was facing one of those things that she knew she needed to handle, but she was afraid to. It’s one of the most common things that I see not only...At least she made it to the call. Some people, what they do is they sign up...When you sign up for the breakthrough call, I have you fill out an application. And some people write just a little bit and some people really write a lot.
And what’s interesting is sometimes when people write a lot and they describe what they’re going through and you’re like, “Wow, this person is really struggling with this. Obviously, this is something that they need to get handled.” And then sometimes they don’t even show up to their calls. It happens every once in a while.
And what’s interesting is, those are the people—I don’t know, I got to hop on a call to figure out if I can really help a person, right? Because there’s got to be a vibe and we’re going to be working together for three months. We’re got to really know like, is this going to work out? Do we vibe well? Do you want to work with me? Do I want to work with you?
Because I’ve learned the hard way that there’s some clients that I’m not a good coach for. I’ve had to work refund money and just like get rid of that person. Thankfully, that happened in the beginning of my online coaching career, it hasn’t happened in a long time, because we really make sure I’m a good fit, they’re a good fit. Hence why we do the calls, to really work through some things to make sure that both parties are comfortable.
So, it’s a big deal, what we do—not just learning macros, and tracking and few workout techniques; it’s more than that. It’s facing limiting beliefs, and working through the frustration that comes up and other things.
Sometimes it’s more emotional. I had a client recently, where it was more emotional for him; he had a lot of beliefs about whether he could do it or not. And now he really believes he can make it happen.
And then I have another client, he didn’t have any of those emotional struggles, he was dealing with hunger, in figuring out how to eat, because he’s traveling all over the place. His business is exploding. It’s so interesting, so many of my clients, their businesses are doing so well. It’s fantastic to see. It’s also interesting to see how so many of them when their business starts doing better, it brings other challenges.
For example, one of my clients got flown around in a private jet with the food already catered. So how do you eat properly when you’re not even choosing the food, and it’s gourmet food, where you’re spending time in a different city because you just bought a new firm or business to add your business and you’re integrating everything and you’re having to travel the airport and figuring out what to eat.
So, these are some of the other challenges that come up for my clients. It’s not emotional, it’s just some pain in the ass emotionally, but it’s more like those types of things. But the people who don’t even show up to the calls, it’s funny because it I feel like those are the people who need it the most, except nobody can make you show up to the call. Nobody can make you do the work.
It’s one of those hard things, even when you sign up with me; I can lead the way I can show you what to do, I can show you how to make things easy, but you’ve got to be willing to do the work. And that’s what we’re really talking about here. And while I’m using examples from my coaching program and from my personal life, because that’s what I have to share, this could be anything.
Maybe working on your health isn’t the thing that you need to do. I’ve talked about this a lot. One of the reasons why we have these calls, some people, they want body transformation coaching, and I don’t feel like it’s the right move. It’s like, you shouldn’t be focusing on this. We don’t get this much anymore, but some people, they come and it’s a money thing for them. It’s like, you’re in the wrong place, go get your money, right?
Go work with someone to help you get on a budget to grow more to work with your limiting issues about money. This isn’t what you need. Body transformation, and you’re thinking about money? This isn’t the right place for you. Go get your money right first. Don’t listen to that one dude who tells you to save $5 on coffee a day, and you’ll be a millionaire in like, six months or whatever. I don’t know. He doesn’t really say that. But this silly advice, I forget the guy’s name, but he’s really famous.
Go learn from Ramit Sethi about how to negotiate a greater salary, go get your beliefs about money healthier. Or if it’s relationship thing, I mean, health can certainly help you from a confidence level and feeling good about yourself. But it’s not going to get you a date if you’re single, and it’s certainly not going to fix a marriage that needs a lot of work.
Some of the interesting things that have happened with some of my clients is once they feel like they need to get in shape and we talk and it does seem the right fit for them. But then they start losing weight, feeling better, looking better, get having more confidence, and then stuff with their relationship comes up.
So, some people, it’s like they need to kind of de-cloud their mind through working on their health, getting their confidence up, and then they start realizing, ah, you know,
I need to handle these other problems in my relationships or in my work or in my business. That’s always interesting. I love what I do. So, it’s always so interesting, and I always do my best to help but it’s fascinating what comes up for people.
We think this is an information problem. Oh, just a few things, you share a few things with me and then I’ll have it down, but the journey... I remember I worked with a guy, Kevin, shout out to you, if you’re still listening don’t know, in three months, this guy actually in four months, this guy went from being around, I don’t know, maybe 18% body fat to being 10% body fat. I have his before and afters. They’re so great.
One of the few that started at that, and it took him four months. I mean, by three months, he was already pretty lean. But four months, he was like jack. It was great. And it was easy for him. He was 30 years old, one of the youngest body transformation clients I’ve ever worked with. But even him, he came to the calls, he was like, “Well, what more can I do? I feel like I’m not doing enough.” And I’m like, “dude, you’re crushing it right now.”
There’s no way to speed up fat loss or to speed up muscle growth, they have limits to them. If we try to speed up fat loss for you, by cutting your calories, you’re going to lose muscle. If we try to speed up muscle growth, by adding more calories, you’re going to gain fat. If we try to give you more volume. That’s not the answer either.
Everything is dialled in for you. You’ve got to find a way to be patient.
And it only took him four months to do it. Awesome transformation, four months, and he just crushed it. But even then, things came up for him. We had some really interesting conversations work through some really cool stuff. I mean, for me, it’s cool. For him, it was challenging. But man, he was so happy, those last photos. He was flexing. It was great.
And so, I want to ask you now: what is this bringing up for you? Because this isn’t necessarily about the big stories in our life, or the small stories or what you should or shouldn’t be grateful for.
The truth is, what are you struggling with? What do you know, you need to step up with? How are you stopping yourself from showing up that way?
And you know, you need to do it because this is causing you anxiety in the background. And that background anxiety, it’s affecting your relationships, it’s affecting your relationship with yourself. It’s affecting relationships with other people, the people you love in your life, it’s affecting relationships that you have at work, it’s affecting everything, but you’re not stepping up and dealing with it.
And again, no judgment here, we’ve all been there. Or we’ll all be there, depending on you know how long we’ve been around and what our story is, what our challenges have been in life, but we’ll all be there. We all have things to work on. There’s no one so enlightened, that they don’t have something to work on in their life. We all have it. So, what is that thing for you?
And again, most importantly, what can you do right now? There’s a lot of thinking going on, not nearly enough action. So, what is something you can do? You don’t even have to solve it right now. But what’s one step that you can take right now? Before you binge listen to the next podcast or do whatever it is, what is something you can do right now, to start to face your fears to start to live with courage?
And if it’s a similar story to mine, to honour your ancestors, to honour your parents, to honour the people who work so hard and struggled and toiled and went through things that you and I will never have to go through, just so you can have the life that you have today? How can you honour them better?
How can you step up more? Not from a place of beating yourself up, but from a place of self-love. Because you know if you do that, do that hard thing, you’re going to be more at ease. You’re going to be a better father, a better business owner, a better CEO, a better executive, a better whatever it is that you’re after, a better mother, a better father. What is that thing that you need to do?
Then stop this and go and do it. That’s what I’ve got. I hope you have an amazing weekend. Love you lots, and speak to you on Monday.
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