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Moving out of your comfort zone

I have my 9 year old God-daughter to stay recently and we decided it might be nice if I gave her a tennis lesson. I am not a tennis coach but I play to a reasonable standard and have taught quite a few family members over the years.

Her first comment to me was that she couldn’t play tennis!

I asked her if she’d been born able to walk and whether she’d learnt to do that and could now walk. (Obviously she can). Personally, I really hate it when children (or adults for that matter declare they can’t do something – which in 9 times out of 10 they have hardly tried!

You may know that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become good at anything – so my reckoning is that unless you’ve tried to do something for at least 10,000 hours then you can’t say you can’t do it. You just haven’t tried for long enough. This is a well proven fact by solid scientific research by the way.

Once I’d told her something along these lines, we began the lesson.  Now she did not like the way you have to hold the racket. It felt uncomfortable the way I wanted her to hold it – and she much preferred a completely different (and wrong) grip and position. Well, that’s all very well and I offered her the option to carry on the wrong way (which would work for a short while) but I told her it would severely limit her ability to play tennis, let alone get any good. Reluctantly she used my new grip and position but with a few moans along the way (but it was surprising how quickly she got used to the new grip!).

As I started to teach her the forehand swing, and her position, and how to move her feet, again she wanted to do it her way and was quite reluctant to learn. But I am a strict teacher (I’m sure you know that) so we persevered, and I wouldn’t let her anywhere near a ball until her technique was more or less as I wanted it.

Well, as I began to feed her balls, she hit a large percentage of them – and even had some good shots. Moreover, I could tell she was really enjoying it – particularly when she did a good shot!!!

The next day I was praying with my husband and reflecting that we are a bit like a child learning to play tennis.  I’ll speak for myself here but maybe you are the same. I think I know best – I think I already know how to do life – and really don’t need (or want) God’s interference telling me how to do it a different way – and teaching me a different way which surely moves me out of my comfort zone. Yet if I don’t listen to Him, and learn from the Master, then my life (game) will surely be impaired – just like my god daughter’s tennis would have been if I let her do it ‘her’ way.

It also strikes me that this is the same principle in dating. You see I’ve been running friends1st for 23 years now and in that time I’ve given 1000s of people advice about what works and what doesn’t. A lot of people are like my goddaughter was at the beginning of the tennis lesson. They think they know best – and they prefer their way! Well that’s all fine and it’s a free world obviously – but chances are pretty high, doing it their ‘inexperienced way’ just isn’t going to be as effective as learning some useful and proven techniques and skills to do it the best way.

But none of us like moving out of our comfort zones – I get that. But there’s no progress without doing just that.  Sadly we can’t remember how uncomfortable it felt falling down constantly when we were learning to walk – but fall down we did – and that was because we were learning something new and getting out of our comfort zone!

So, if you haven’t been successful in finding your soul mate yet – or if you’re just starting out, my advice is to gain some skills – learn from the people who have more experience than you; move out of your comfort zone and know that by doing all that you are much much more likely to be successful. 

And by the way…. I really don’t think finding your soul mate will take you 10,000 hours. But you could always start counting!!!