It Gets Easier

When you were single, life was busy. Then you got married, had a baby, and looked back and wondered what you did with all of your time when you were single.

When you were a new manager, every hour you learned something new. Yes, people really do that. No, people won’t ever do that. A year later, you’re in the groove and wonder what all the fuss was about.

What’s the secret? Strength is built through the power of exposure. Your comfort zone can be stretched.

Jia Jiang, in a TED talk watched over 1 million times, shows us the power of exposure. He set up an experiment where he was deliberately rejected for 100 days.

And what did he learn? It gets easier.

Whether you want a daily workout habit, a graduate degree, or to learn to better deal with criticism, it begins with exposure and difficulty. Anything you want that’s worthwhile…a new skill, a habit, a quality…whatever it is, becomes easier with exposure.

A personal example? As a perfectionist in some ways, I’m averse to taking criticism well. (That really means it hurts, I find self-esteem in perfection, and I take it deeply personally.) I’ve known for years that I must seek exposure to criticism to become better at learning from it. So now, instead of avoiding feedback, I seek it out. Instead of blurting out defensive responses and rationalizations, I listen. Over time, I’ve found criticism much easier to handle. This also means I’ve learned to be better at confrontation, negotiation, and difficult conversations. It’s not easy, but it gets easier.

What can you make easier through deliberate exposure?

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