Resilience and Evolution

We have all heard the expression “Growth begins outside of your comfort zone.”

Let’s examine what that means.

You have already adapted to the situations, thoughts, experiences and information that you are comfortable with.

In the same way that you might take a shower that is initially too hot, but after a few minutes it’s comfortable, so too is all of life.

Like you’ve adapted to the heat of the shower and have grown comfortable, so too have you adapted to whatever lies in your “Comfort Zone.”

Therefore you have to experience something that is beyond your comfort zone for more adaptation to occur.

Let’s consider exercise. You face a level of effort that you’re unaccustomed to. The volume and/or intensity that you’ve endured caused the body to break down from the exertion. In the recovery period your body restructures itself to be better adapted to the stress that you’ve encountered.

When the intensity is insufficient to push your edge, breakdown does not occur, no adaptation or growth occurs.

When the intensity or frequency is too great the body cannot recover adequately for the program to be effective.

When we encounter information that “triggers us” it simply means that this information is beyond the range that we’re comfortable encountering. It doesn’t mean that the information is incorrect, that it should be avoided, that it isn’t meant for us because it “doesn’t resonate.” It simply means that the information varies significantly from the mental framework that we’ve already accepted and adapted to.

The data does not fit into our frame. Therefore we become aware of the fact that our blueprint for how the world is or should be does not encompass that possibility at this time.

Adaptation does not occur within the range of things we’re comfortable with, for we’ve already grown accustomed to them. It can only occur when we go beyond the range that we’re currently prepared for.

Let’s talk about resilience.

Scott Sonnon has trained elite police and special ops teams around the world.

It’s fairly well known that only 3% of people are immediately tough enough to endure special forces training. What Mr. Sonnon found was that the other 97% of trainees could eventually be trained to be able to endure that training as well. This would have to be done through targeted resilience training.

Let’s say that 20 pushups is the maximum a person can do in a row. That is their current threshold for toughness.

By going to that point, and recovering fully, then repeating the system begins to get used to that volume. As that happens the duration that is required to recover shortens, thus making the person more resilient.

Once the window of recovery shortens enough, the person’s maximum output actually increases. They have become tougher.

To sum up: facing our edge, our discomfort, recovering, and returning to that edge eventually makes us more resilient, which will in turn make us tougher overall.

This stress/recovery process is the key to our evolution.

When growth is the outcome you’re after, you must have consistent exposure to what you want to adapt to. This is how your evolution works.

If you want to be more disciplined, you have to consistently do things that you don’t want to do which are uncomfortable.

If you want to become wiser you have to experience challenges to your current perception on your path so that your vision can broaden to encompass greater possibilities.

If you want to be more present, you have to log the time making the effort to be more present until it’s your natural way of being.

When it becomes natural, that is what you’ve adapted to. Seek the edge to deepen your cultivation.

Evolution is about becoming shaped by what you’re exposed to. Just as a map of Olympic athletes’ figures across sports will show a tremendous variety of frames depending what type of stimuli they’re encountering on a regular basis. They’re all “in shape” but that shape has many forms.

If you want to be more peaceful you have to both increase the depth of your peace, and the range of scenarios that you are at peace in. This means broadening your definition of peace to include things that you currently find uncomfortable and turbulent.

We adapt by being uncomfortable, recovery allowing us to adapt to face that discomfort. This is a simplification of how our evolution works.

The areas that you are consistently uncomfortable in will be the areas where you grow the most. For you will have something to adapt to.

To become a stronger, more complete person you have to experience a more complete set of experiences. This will shape you, fortify you, and accelerate your evolution.

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