Questions / Stories

Motivation vs. Leaving the Comfort Zone

WeightsComfortzoneI go to the gym. I go every day that I plan to go and I workout hard. I think of myself as motivated. But yesterday, while on a machine that simulates running, I was suddenly working out much harder, going faster, hands off the arm supports, looking smart! What was happening?

I noticed two things. One, the guy on the machine next to me is a guy that I notice because he does a hard work out, not fast but tough exercises and it shows. He does this quietly and with a smile and isn’t one of those guys lifting his shirt to the mirror to see his six-pack. I would say that I admire him, though we have never met. And two, one of the plethora of personal trainers is there and she might see me. She isn’t one who has helped me lifting weights or told me, ‘You are strong” like others have. She mentioned, about day two of my joining the gym (about 10 weeks ago), ‘If you need any help, let me know’ and she also noticed that I wasn’t kikiat, the Thai word for lazy. Cross culturally, she meant that I was motivated and something about my character that I still can’t quite determine. And, she smiles at me.

Anyway, I went way beyond my comfort zone—I was feeling winded at 25 minutes, and started to get a side stitch at 38 minutes, but I worked through both of those things to rack up my longest and highest calorie expending run to date. And yet, the guy next to me left at around 20 minutes and I don’t think the personal trainer ever saw me.

When I am working on a training course, I find that many of the teachers are motivated, they are doing what they do well, but are also inside their comfort zone. Trying something new, be it differentiated materials, not relying of power point, eliciting answers, trying group work, is still anathema. At the same time, others are all out of their comfort zone, trying new things, pushing themselves. What is that difference, what is happening for them?

Are they being pulled along by another teacher they admire? Are they feeling the support of a trainer that is not being hands on but has expressed availability, giving them the room to decide for themselves? Or are they just risk takers? What do you think pushes/pulls learners/teachers out of their comfort zone?

The post was written by Tana.

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