Avoiding situations and tasks that frighten us is, in many ways, the most natural thing in the world. Evolutionarily speaking. It has also probably helped our species to survive! We see a bear and run from the bear. We see a lion and run from the lion. The problem comes when you apply this very same fight -or-flight reaction to situations that aren’t genuinely life-threatening -like taking on a new role at work, for example.
When we avoid these sorts of tasks , we get the temporary relief from anxiety and fear. ,but we also limit real opportunities that put us outside our comfort zones but could also be compelling and meaningful -such as developing new skills.
With that in mind, I’ve uncovered an array of impressive tactics we all use to avoid situations outside our comfort zones. As you go through them , think to yourself if any of these avoidance tactics applies to you.
All of us in one way or another construct our lives at home and at work to avoid things that cause discomfort . Warren Buffet once lamented that in college he limited himself by only singing up for classes where he wouldn’t have to put himself out on a limb and speak in public . And whenever he did have to speak in public especially in the early days, the results weren’t pretty:” I would throw up,’ Buffet remarked. ”In fact , I arranged my life so that I never had to get up in front anybody.’ The famous classical composer Frederic Chopin was so uncomfortable performing in public that he turned down countless opportunities , performing only forty or so times in public in his thirty-year career.
And of course, it’s not just speaking in public that people fear. Many people avoid casual get- together at work because of their fear of making unscripted small talks with colleagues. In a recent survey commissioned by Age UK as part of a campaign to combat loneliness in the United Kingdom, researchers found that 60 percent of British people preferred being by themselves instead of making small talk by the water cooler .
The study also provided some very interesting insight into the techniques people use to avoid human contact, including hiding behind computer screens , making fake phone calls, and feigning deafness.
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