How to Live an Extraordinary Life

Bangkok protest rally stage. There are many ways to get out of your comfort zone. Sometimes you have to compete with fear, embarrassment or laziness. Whatever it is that makes you feel uncomfortable, it will challenge you when you confront it, and when you are challenged your feel stronger emotions. Staying comfortable maybe makes you feel bored, lazy or uninspired, while getting uncomfortable can make you feel exited, trilled or motivated. Now which of those emotions would you prefer?

Is your life boring? Do you lack the energy or motivation to accomplish something? Then challenge yourself to get into uncomfortable situations. Once you have experienced them, and step back in that safe comfort zone, you feel satisfied about what you accomplished. Fear is exchanged for happiness because you confronted your uncomfortable feelings.

What you have to do to become uncomfortable is different for everyone. Sometimes those actions are not scary or challenging. Maybe they are frustrating or annoying, before they become rewarding and exiting. Here are some examples that really changed things for me, when I stepped out of my comfort zone to overcame my discomforts.

Uncomfortable decisions that changed my live

An important challenge for me was to start traveling. At first only for short periods but eventually indefinitely. This was a very uncomfortable and live changing decision. I ditched my job and started working on my uncertain career as a travel writer. I lost my financial comfort and the comfortable feeling of being in my own country. However, it was absolutely worth it. Traveling is an excellent way to step out of your comfort zone.

During my travels I have petted a tiger, driven a motorcycle true Laos, skydived in New Zealand, talked with protesters on a rally stage in Bangkok and belly danced for a tour group in Turkey. All kinds of things that made me very uncomfortable in one way or another. Sometimes I embarrassed myself, sometimes I hurt myself, sometimes I felt totally horrible or even utterly scared and stupid.

But I never regret having experienced those moments, never ever. They made my live more extraordinary and provided me with unforgettable memories. Those memories will keep adding up. When I am old I can lean back and be happy and satisfied because I showed the courage to step outside of my comfort zone, and therefore got rewarded with an exiting live.

What could go wrong?

I often battle with my imagination when I want do something uncomfortable. Then I start thinking about what could go wrong, what people would think of me or what might happen if I fail. But it usually turns out to be completely different and not that bad at all. A lot of times it turned out to be far more exiting and rewarding then I could ever have imagined.

Sometimes getting uncomfortable does not mean jumping out of an airplane or entertaining people on a stage. It also means doing your exercises, even if you feel tired or lazy. It means finishing that article even though you want to watch television or go to bed. It means approaching that person and ask for a date. Think about how those actions can really change your live.

Getting uncomfortable is one of the most important actions I have to take every day. It provides me with motivation because I know the rewarding result. For example as a writer I notice that I am far more exited and motivated to write articles about situations which trilled me. I also enjoy that amazing feeling when I realize I am doing something extraordinary or unusual.

Maybe you feel very uncomfortable at certain moments, but eventually you will be rewarded for your efforts. The people that achieved great things did not get there by staying in their comfort zone. They went that extra mile. They crossed the line. That is what made them great. That is what will make you great.

What was your most rewarding uncomfortable action and how did it change your live?

Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable


Me and tiger.Why you should step outside of you comfort zone

We have been touring around Antalya for hours. The atmosphere in the bus is dull. People look bored and act grumpy. Then we reach this large dining place. Our last stop for today. During the next two hours we eat and, more importantly, we drink Turkish Raki. During the dinner we are entertained by dancers and singers, and the last act of the evening is a Turkish belly dancer.

She comes to the stage and lets her belly move. At a certain point during the act she asks if someone likes to join her. However, that will most likely not going to happen. I have been touring with these people, and I know for certain there is no one going to do that. Shyness and embarrassment vibrate in the room.

It trills me though. I know I can make a difference, if I have the courage to raise my hand. I know it will be hard to overcome my own shyness, but I also know that getting up that stage can change this dull tour and my vacation. This is my chance. I raise my hand, and then push my friend to do the same. Luckily he also shows courage by joining me

The belly dancer takes us to the stage and pulls of our shirts. There I am with my skinny white belly. I block my thoughts and go for it. The three of us manage to pull of a hilarious act. Our once so grumpy tour group, filled with alcohol and sudden excitement, cheers and claps. A day of markets, historic buildings and a Turkish sauna can not provide as much fun as we are giving.

The bus ride back to the hotel shows a big contrast with the previous rides. Everybody is cheering, singing and talking. Various people show us the pictures they took of our spontaneous act. I laugh inside, our white belly’s are probably going to be the highlight of so many vacation pictures.

Get uncomfortable and change your live

Because of stepping out of my comfort zone I created an unforgettable memory during a somewhat dull vacation. By getting up on that stage we changed the night for all those people in the tour group. It was a great feeling and I often think back about that night. Now I push myself to live outside of my comfort zone as much as possible. By doing this I create lasting memories and an exciting live.

You can’t afford to stay in your comfort zone if you want an exiting live. I encourage you to get up on that stage and live your live to the fullest. Realize that by constantly stepping out of your comfort zone you will get more confident, have more courage and change more and more uncomfortable situations into comfortable ones.

Do you often step out of your comfort zone? What kind of memorable moments did you create by taking those steps?

KLIA – Dream Away Airport

AirportI had thought about the possibility before, but I never had the courage to actually do it. Or maybe I did not yet found the right airport.

When I arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport it is already 20:00 a clock in the evening. Before my trip, I failed to book a room in a hostel or hotel. Determined to save some money, and to step out of my comfort zone, I decide to stay at the airport for one night. However I have no knowledge of this airport. It is my first time visit to Malaysia. I have also no knowledge of the language, the people, or the city of Kuala Lumpur. This is another reason why I decide to stay at the airport at my first night. I want to get to know this country slowly, step by step. Exploring the airport is my first step.

I have always liked airports. In the past I used to spend most of my working days at Schiphol airport. It is nice being around people from all over the world. A safe environment where nobody looks at you in a strange way, if you hang around. Just another passenger waiting for a flight.

Walking around airports at night also makes me think hat nobody cares if you just set up camp, spread out and take a nap. For me however this is a new challenge in stepping out of my comfort zone. For some reason I  feel slightly embarrassed with crashing out at the benches. A bit as feeling like a bum. Then there is also a safety issue, which always kept me from doing it. I have never been keen on losing control, and taking my eyes of my luggage. However I always see so many people crashing out on airports that I start to feel I worry to much. All these people are doing it, why not me. Time to overcome my fear and just do it.

Walking around Kuala Lumpur International Airport, I quickly start to realize that this might be the perfect place for my little experience. Unlike Schiphol, this place is a  much more comfortable location for travelers who want to take a nap. The benches have no annoying armrests. This is great because because you can sleep in a horizontal position. What makes it even better is that the benches are faced to the outside windows of the airport. Then you are not in direct sight, so you can actually have some privacy.

I look around, and sneak over to a bench. Uncomfortable fears try to nest into my head. My brain detects what I am about to do and starts to rationalize me away from the idea. What if someone steels your shoe’s? that would be a really annoying problem. What if someone manages to steal your valuable belongings?  What if you are dragged out of the airport by the guards?

Luckily I am tired and it makes me overrule my thoughts. I put my bag under my head. Bag up my shoes, and hug them like a teddy beer,while I stretch out on the bench. I manage to take a nap for two hours. Not a record breaking one but I feel like a hero. I did it, and I passed some time. Outside daylight is awaking. I survived the first night  at an airport,  in a far away country. Next step, surviving my first day in Kuala Lumpur city.

Your experience

 Have you ever slept at an airport before? If so which one? Do you have any advice for sleeping at airports? Share your interesting responses in the comments section below. 

A refreshing experiment in Bruges

BrugesOften I have the desire to escape my daily routine. At such moments I think about going to the other side of the world and start living on some remote mountain or island. Recently I did a little experiment which made me understand that refreshing your spirit does not have to evolve in gigantic for ever away escape plans. If you feel stressed out from normal daily life it can also turn out pretty refreshing to escape town for a few days and go to a nearby city or country.

I planned to escape for a few days and went to the charming old town of Bruges in Flanders (Belgium). When making preparations for my  little trip I noticed how long I did not traveled. I felt worried and uncomfortable about my plan to break the normal routine and having to stay in a strange place with people I did not know. But I really felt I had to force it. It turned out to be a success.

When arriving in Bruges it took me half a day to put away my worries and uncomfortable feelings and from that moment on I had the old familiar travelling spirit again. Everything turned out much more fun and less scary then I initially thought. I started thinking about what we are missing out in life by not wanting to break our normal routine life at which we so often feel frustrated. It is sad that we can get stuck in misery or tolerable but unsatisfying comfort, looking for a change but not willing to take it, all out of fear for disaster or the unknown. I wrote this article as a an advice to all you unhappy souls out there who are looking and dreaming for a change but who feel they can not put it of out of anxiety. You don’t need to travel to the other side of the world to fresh up your life. You can also just take a few days of and escape town.

It is like a refreshing shower. New people, new buildings, new food. It can be the town next to yours if you prefer not to go far at all. If you want it then do it despite your initial fears. It can be a real life changer. For example this little trip to Bruges helped me to start living more healthy and see things in a new perspective. Make sure you don’t fall back by planning regular short (city) trips. It does not have to cost you much as you stay close from home. Accommodation and transport tickets can turn out to be very cheap when you do a good search and book well in advance. Do not fear discomfort. Even if it does not turn out to be a nice place or the right solution for you (hey everyone is different). Its only for a few days. You will survive. Maybe it turns out to be so great that you get the real travelers spirit and start planning for a larger trip. Keep the travel fuel in your system by making regular small trips. I noticed it worked for me. Maybe it does for you as well.

Share your thoughts with us

How do you tackle anxiety and what is your favorite escape place? Leave your interesting responses in the comments section below.


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Become An Expert With The 4-Hour Workweek Approach

– How to become an expert in four weeks –

In his book The 4-Hour Work Week, Timothy Ferris explains how to become an expert in 4 weeks.

This are his bullet points for how to do it:

  • Join two or three related trade organizations
  • Read the three top selling books on your topic
  • Give one free one-to-three-hour seminar at the closest well-known university
  • Give two free seminars at branches of well-known big companies such as IBM
  • Offer to write one or two articles for trade magazines
  • Join ProfNet which is a service that journalists use to find experts to quote for articles

I have been thinking about those six steps and the achievement of becoming an expert. It looks like a very difficult task especially when you really want to achieve it in only four weeks. Then I realized that one of the important learning’s of Ferris his books is to actually take big steps and realize those unreasonable goals. After all if you don’t start somewhere then how do you achieve something.  So why not start of big with your becoming of an expert.

However you have to be critical as wel. The problem that I have with this six steps and with other parts of Ferris his book is that these steps take a budget to achieve them. You have to join trade organizations, buy books and advertise on university’s with posters.All of those steps combined will cost at least more then $100.

Of course money should not be holding your back when you want to realize your big goals and dreams but it is something you have to take in consideration. After all you don’t want to have to cancel a project because you cant finance it any more. No matter how opportunistic or unreasonable people want you to be to achieve high goals, you have to feel comfortable about your budget. If you spend more then you actualy can effort then you are busy with a bad challenge which can get you in trouble. If you have to choose between getting dinner on the table this week or by paying $100 for joining a trade organization, then of course you choose the food.

Don’t get me wrong, if the money is not a problem then Ferris his expert building plan is a great challenge.  Achieving a big challenge is good to become more confident in life but don’t just blindly follow people’s ideas. It is good to feel a bit uncomfortable and to challenge yourself on certain times but don’t get in trouble because of being to pumped up about something. Life offers great opportunities but if you want a achieve them then you need to use your mind and often work hard and disciplined. Keep those facts in mind when you start with a project or set a goal.

You dont feel comfortable enough for this challenge but still want to become an expert? Dont worry and keep working on your expertise level. Keep gathering credibility indicators. Do courses get diploma’s. Make sure your subject of choice is something you really like and also that you enjoy your learning experience. If you would like to have a Ph. D. in Economics but your find it terrible to be at school for 4 years then try a different approach. For example by regularly following  short economic courses to build up your knowledge about the subject. Always keep learning.  Not only to be an expert for others but also for your personal growth.

Do you feel comfortable enough to do this challenge and have the budget to actually do it?  Then I challenge you to try the expert builder approach and write about your experiences on my website. I am especially interested in people that actually manage to do it in 4 weeks.