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the curse of familiarity


As we age we often become stuck in old routines and habits.

In many ways, our growth stagnates. We begin to stick with what is familiar – whatever is in our “comfort zone” – and often we become stubborn, resistant, and even afraid to expose ourselves to new things.

In short, we become complacent toward the status quo. We continue to go through life in the same way, with the same job, the same relationships, the same interests, and the same hobbies.

Familiarity becomes more important than exploring new or better aspects of life. And often we find ourselves fighting harder to keep things the same rather than to grow and expand.

I call this “the curse of familiarity.” And it’s something I believe we all struggle with.

Our brains are biased toward that which is familiar and safe, but at the same time new experiences are what help our brains stay active, learn new things, and adapt better to our environment.

I encourage everyone to expose themselves to new things every now and then. Even if you just start small by:

  • Listen to a different type of music.
  • Watch a different type of movie or TV show.
  • Start a new hobby. If you’ve never played a musical instrument before, try it. If you’ve never painted before, try it.
  • Go to a place you’ve never been before. Maybe check out a new restaurant, or bar, or museum. If you have the money, travel to a different country.
  • Try hanging out with a new crowd of people every now and then. You’d be surprised how many new things you will learn if you expand your social circle.
  • Take a course in something you know nothing about.
  • Use the random article function on Wikipedia. Who knows the types of things you will come across.
  • Try a new type of food or cuisine than what you are used.

I challenge you to try just one of these before next week. It’ll be a good small step in breaking the curse of familiarity and exposing yourself to new things.

When we consciously seek new experiences, we build character and expand ourselves as individuals. It’s a big part of what makes a balanced and well-rounded person.


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