I recently had a really interesting observation that forced me to challenge myself, so I wanted to share. I was waiting in the airport security line and a few people in line before me did the same thing. They acted kind of cool and experienced at the airport. However, when it came time to empty their pockets and fill their bins it was chaos. And I mean electronics were hitting the floor, paper was being ripped, it was a scene. Then I realized, I’m probably exactly the same when I do it because, why would I be any different? So, I challenged myself to stay focused on acting slowly and deliberately. I think it went well! It took about the same amount of time to get everything done, but I did it in a much more controlled manner, and was more careful to not do any damage.
I tell this story to state that every day we are surrounded by opportunities to test ourselves. And these are micro moments of personal growth. If you’re in an Uber and get social anxiety, challenge yourself to strike up a conversation. When you’re walking in the grocery store, think ahead and see if you can come up with the most efficient route possible. Or, when you step out of a bathroom stall, don’t do everything in your power to avoid interacting with the person that walked in.
Putting ourselves in situations where we must respond to small self-imposed challenges will help us be better at responding to real life challenges. It’s like the concept of getting comfortable being uncomfortable, you have to experience those moments to improve your performance.
So, get creative because this can apply for anything you’re trying to emphasize in your life. For example, I want to be better at focusing on the task at hand, sometimes I try to keep too many balls in the air. So, any time I notice I have too many things going on, which usually takes the form of having too many tabs open in my web browser, I’m going to delete those not immediately pertinent to my work. Find your moments to train yourself in small doses so you can improve in the areas important to you.