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In this article, you will learn about the Law of Familiarity.  Most people do not understand this law.  As a result, they strive for happiness by pursuing the wrong things.  This law also has the potential to ruin your life if you don’t understand it or treat it with respect.

When you truly understand the Law of Familiarity, you will understand where true happiness lies. You will live a more balanced life and experience more variety. You won’t take things for granted.

You have already experienced the Law of Familiarity without knowing it. As you read this article, you may well get an “a-ha” moment as you realize how this law has influenced your life.

Take the time now to get to grips with this law, so you can live a happy, fulfilling and meaningful life.

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What is the Law of Familiarity

When you experience anything for enough time, it becomes familiar. You take it for granted and you appreciate it less. This could be a person, place or thing. Here are some examples of the Law of Familiarity in action.

New Relationship

You’ve met someone new. This time it’s your soulmate. It’s so exciting!  Like a new adventure. There’s that spark, passion and all you see are their good points. You’re having a lot of fun, whilst learning and discovering more about this new special person in your life.

A few months or years go by and it seems like the spark has gone.  Life seems a little dull now.  You take this person for granted. You know them inside out, you know everything about them. You’ve run out of things to talk about.

Perhaps you ignore some of their good points and notice more of their bad points instead. That’s the Law of Familiarity in action. The more time you spend with that person, the more familiar they become and the more you take them for granted.

New Car

You decide to buy a brand new car. You do your research, choose the brand, model and color. You hunt for the best price. You buy it and experience the thrill of driving this new car home.

It’s got that lovely new car smell. It’s all shiny and new. Over the next few weeks, you take your new car along all your favorite roads. You really enjoy learning how all the new technology and functionality works. You’re driving along, and you’re thinking life is good! You wash it twice a week and keep it clean and tidy inside.

Six months later, you haven’t washed the car for weeks! There are cobwebs on the wing mirrors and lots of junk and clutter inside. Well, that’s the Law of Familiarity in action. You have this nice new car and then over time it becomes familiar and you take it for granted.

Holidays or Vacations

You plan your next holiday, deciding where to go and researching different destinations. You book your flights, accommodation and perhaps some tours.

Two weeks before you depart, you’re so excited about it. You’re imagining this wonderful holiday! You can’t wait to leave the office. You notice that the excitement leading up to your holiday is almost as intense as being on holiday!

You then arrive at your destination and are getting into the holiday spirit.  Over the first few days you try out many new and exciting activities and explore the surrounding area. Life is great, and you’re really enjoying being on holiday,

Then after a few days, time seems to go more quickly. You become familiar with your surroundings. It feels more like a normal experience. It’s still far better than being at work, but it’s becoming more normal. Perhaps you miss your friends or some of the creature comforts you have back at home. That’s the Law of Familiarity kicking in again.

It works the other way around too!

The Law of Familiarity applies when you lose something or someone too.  For example, the loss of a loved one. Initially, you naturally go through a grieving process where you really miss this person. However, over time it becomes a little easier until eventually, you gain a feeling of acceptance over the loss.

Another example is a chronic health condition. Perhaps one of those annoying conditions that is not life threatening. However, it’s something you now experience that wasn’t there in the past. It might take a while to get used to that health condition, but over time it will become more familiar to you and the new normal. 

So with the two examples above, the Law of Familiarity helps you gain acceptance for something that you can’t change. So when you’ve experienced sadness or loss, the Law of Familiarity helps you heal and recover.

The Biggest Problem with the Law of Familiarity

So the biggest problem with the Law of Familiarity. The one that can really ruin your life, is complacency. Here are some examples.

Career

You get a great new job. It’s a promotion and a significant step-up. The first few months are great. You’re really focussed, you work very hard and challenge the status quo. You come up with new ideas, change things for the better and get to know your colleagues really well.

Two years go by and your job has become very familiar. You’re more complacent. Perhaps you come in later or leave earlier. Maybe you take some of your colleagues for granted. You appreciate them less.

Meanwhile, one of your colleagues is champing at the bit for greater responsibility. He really wants a promotion and a new challenge. He believes he can do your job better than you! So who is more motivated? Is it you, or your colleague that wants your job? Of course, it’s your colleague! So you’ve really got to watch out for complacency in your career, especially in more senior roles.

Back in 2008, I was working in the IT department of a law firm in London. They made a few of my colleagues redundant as part of the economic downturn that was starting to bite. Some of these people had been with the firm for many years and had become very complacent in their roles. So it wasn’t a complete surprise to me when I found out that their roles had been affected.

So in your career, it’s important to challenge yourself, move things forward and evolve in your role.

Relationships

Another area where the law of familiarity and complacency could ruin your life is intimate relationships. Let’s say you’ve been with your partner now for a few months or years and you begin to take them for granted.

Other things in life have become more important, such as your career. You have stopped doing all those romantic things that you used to do in the early days, such as date nights, buying flowers or little treats for your partner.

Perhaps you’re spending less quality time with them. Meanwhile, your partner gets attention from someone else at work. You can see where this could lead to!

Law of Familiarity and Happiness

Any new person, place, thing or experience can bring us joy and happiness. My earlier examples of the new car, relationship or being on holiday show how this is the case.

The problem is that it doesn’t last. Why? because it eventually becomes familiar. So thinking your happiness can only come from something that you don’t have right now is a recipe for misery!

So why is that? Well, because you’re believing that your happiness is outside of your own control. Believing that your happiness depends on some future event, keeps you out of the present moment.

It can also be an excuse for not taking the steps to be happy right now. Let’s say you’re chasing a promotion at work. You believe that the only way to do this is to work long hours and be totally committed. However, while you’re doing this, you’re missing out on all the other activities that you could do in your spare time that make you happy. 

Or you’re studying hard to get a new qualification such as an MBA. You want to get this as quickly as possible because you believe it will really help advance your career.

Now it’s true that you might need that qualification to get ahead. But studying super hard could mean that you’re missing out on things that make you happy right now.

When I first moved to London in my early 20s, I was very lonely.  I hardly knew anyone.  I had one very good friend from university that had also moved to London.  However, we would rarely meet up because he was working in the evenings to make more money or he was studying. He was so focused on improving his future that he missed out on spending time with his friends right now.  Do this for long enough and your friends will drift away.

So the key here is balance. It’s good to work hard in the present, to make the future better.  However, don’t put your happiness on hold to do this.  Continue to spend some time with people and on activities that bring a smile to your face.

How to stop the Law of Familiarity from Ruining Your Life

So how do you stop the law of familiarity from ruining your life?

Gratitude

The first way is gratitude. Appreciate all the things that you currently take for granted. These could include your partner, family, career, health, your home or where you live. It could be being grateful for being alive.

Act as if it’s still new and exciting

The second one is to act as if it’s still new and exciting. This is great for relationships. Treat your partner like you did at the beginning of the relationship. Start doing those fun, romantic things that you used to do.

If you feel that your relationship has gone a little stale or turned sour, then here’s a great quote to help you get back on track. It is, “if you were to treat this person as if it was the beginning of the relationship, then there would be no end”.

Pay more attention to the important areas of your life

Also pay more attention to the most important areas of your life. These are typically your career, partner and health. Start being proactive and make positive changes in these areas of life. Remember that you rarely stay still in any area of life.  It’s either improving or declining. Getting better or getting worse. 

If you don’t pay attention to these important areas of life, you could lose them. You could lose your job or career, your partner or your health. Everything of value requires care and attention. Remember that.

Seek Variety

Another great way is to get uncomfortable and seek variety. The Law of Familiarity breeds comfort. Do something different with your partner. If you normally go out for dinner, go to the theater instead.

You could take on a new diet or exercise routine to improve your health. This will add variety to your life and this will make you happier. And you’ll get that feeling of aliveness back! When you take on a new challenge that takes you out of your comfort zone, you get that wonderful feeling of aliveness. It’s the complete opposite of the Law of Familiarity.

So now you know more about the Law of Familiarity and how to stop it from ruining your life. I encourage you now to check in on the main areas of your life. Make sure you’re grateful for those areas and are not taking them for granted. Pay attention and do something today to ensure that you are growing in each of the main areas of your life.

Add some new activities to spice up your life so you feel alive!  This will give you more happiness and joy too.

If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post. Also, feel free to share this article with other people or on social media.

Have you ever wondered what the most successful people do? The ones that are truly happy, fulfilled and prosperous? Well, I reveal this in my 10 Strategies for Your Success eBook. It’s a great read and as a treat for reading this article, it’s yours for free!

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Thank you for reading this article.  I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul

Stepping out of your comfort zone is wonderful for your confidence, self-esteem and creativity.  It also means that life is never boring and neither are you!

You’ll experience greater enjoyment as you try out new experiences.  You’ll stimulate your brain which is crucial to mental health.  It will provide you with the resilience to deal more easily when unexpected changes happen in your life.  Stepping out of your comfort zone helps you to improve yourself and become a happy, fun person that has lots of interesting things to talk about.

Here are my 13 easy, practical and effective ways to expand your comfort zone, so that you can reap the above rewards as well.

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1.  Go to another country

Travelling is one of the best ways to step out of your comfort zone.  You will experience new cultures, different customs, unique landscapes, flora and fauna and sometimes another language.  Working with different currencies is good for your brain too!

When I travelled to South East Asia for the first time back in 2000, I remember the discomfort of having the injections before I left, getting food poisoning on New Year’s Eve in Malaysia and bartering with taxi drivers that wouldn’t put on their metre.  However, I also remember the excitement of seeing a monkey for the first time, exploring amazing tropical rain forests and spending time on beautiful beaches with good friends.

2.  Unplug

Take a break from today’s interconnected world.  Leave your phone at home, turn off the TV, radio and internet.  This worked wonders for me when I was travelling in the Australia outback with my wife.  We had no connection to the outside world for 3 days! – That felt a little uncomfortable and I knew that if we got stuck, we would be reliant on people coming the other way to help.  I also remember how excited I was when I got my first “ping” as we reconnected with the internet on our approach to Alice Springs.

3.  Start a Conversation with someone new

This doesn’t have to be a complete stranger.  Strike up a conversation with someone new at work, the barista in your local coffee shop, a neighbour or someone in the queue.  See if you can maintain a conversation for 30 seconds or longer.  Another benefit of doing this, as that it gets you focussing on other people (rather than your own internal thoughts) and that is good for your mental health too.

4.  Give yourself a thrill

Do something that is a little scary or fearful.  You could step out of your comfort zone by trying scuba diving, skydiving or a roller coaster ride.  If that doesn’t float your boat (or is too scary), try giving a speech or taking a dance class.  I tried scuba diving a few years ago in the Maldives.  I was super scared to start with, but once I got underwater and started seeing the corals and tropical fish, that sense of fear started to ease.  Afterwards, it was lovely to have that sense of elation that comes from overcoming a fear.

5.  Eat something new

Try a new restaurant that serves food from an unusual country that you have never tasted before.  Examples are Lebanese, Pakistani or Korean food.   If you’ve never tried raw fish, go to a Japanese restaurant and give it a go.  I tried raw fish for the first time about 3 years ago and it tasted much better than I thought it would!  You could also try choosing different fruits or vegetables from the grocery store.

6.  Sit in a different place

Sit on the couch instead of your favourite chair.  Sit at a different seat on the dining table.  If you’re working at home, work in different places and notice how that feels.  One of my suggestions for overcoming procrastination involves working in different locations.

7.  Learn something new

Learning can be fun, but it can be unsettling as well, as we grapple with new ideas and concepts that require our complete attention and focus.  Think back to learning how to drive a car and remember how that felt.  Our brains are designed to learn and make new neural connections, so this is a great way to step out of your comfort zone.  Try learning to use a new computer software or how to build a website.  Other examples could be learning a musical instrument, learning to sail, taking part in a dance class or learning to cook a new recipe.  The list is endless.

8.  Apply for a job that is a significant step-up

If work is a little dull, predictable or boring, try applying for other jobs that are a significant step-up from what you are currently doing.  On two occasions, I have applied for jobs that had a salary that was 20% higher than what I was currently earning.  On both occasions, I got the job!  Once I was doing the job, I soon got used to the new skills and responsibilities and enjoyed the financial rewards that came with it!

9.  Start Slowly

If something seems daunting, just do the first step.  Then pause and see what that feels like.  In most cases, the discomfort will be lower than you expected and that sense of confidence will start to grow.  Then do the second step and keep going.  This can be a great one for gym routines.  If doing 50 push-ups seems like a nightmare, start with 5 and progress from there.

10.  Take a new route home from work.

Drive home via a different route.  Turn off your Sat Nav or Google Maps and trust your instincts and see where you end up.  Hopefully you’ll make it home for that different recipe that your partner has been experimenting with (because he or she has also been reading this blog post!)

11. Reconnect with someone you had lost touch with on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Social media has allowed me to reconnect with friends from School and University that I thought I would never see or speak to again.  I’m so grateful for that.  However, I always get that sense of discomfort when I first message them.  Questions go through my mind such as “Will they remember me?” or “will they still like me?”.  However, by doing this, I have since met with people that I hadn’t seen for over 10 years and that in itself is an amazing experience.

If you can’t find anyone that you have lost contact with, contact someone that you have not spoken to for at least 6 months and notice how that feels.

12.  Face your Fears

Pick the one thing that is really holding you back, think about all the benefits that doing this will bring and go ahead and do it!  This is one of the best ways to step out of your comfort zone.  Examples could include asking your boss for a raise, inviting someone out for a date, making your first sales call or talking to your partner about something about the relationship that has been bugging you for months or even years.

13.  Become comfortable with discomfort

Stepping out of your comfort zone will never feel completely comfortable (if it is, you will want to step out of your comfort zone more).  Become more accustomed to this discomfort, helps you step out of your comfort zone more often.  You realise that this feeling of discomfort is part of the process of achieving your goals and dreams.

Living consistently outside my comfort zone over the last 2 years has allowed me to record YouTube videos, create this blog and build an online business and brand.  It has also allowed me to challenge myself and grow as a person.

Stepping out of your comfort zone opens up many new possibilities.  I wonder how your life could change if your comfort zone were larger.  Apply some of all of the 13 steps above and notice how you can stretch your comfort zone a little more each day.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please leave a comment or question below.  I would love to hear what you think!   Please also click on the stars below to rate this post or share it with a friend or on social media.

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Thank you for reading this article.  Hope you are having a wonderful day!

Paul