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If in doubt, do a dance

Over on my instagram last year, I shared a video that was sent to my husband 3 years ago at the very start of lockdown. It is a video of his grandparents out in the South of Italy dancing around their sitting room - it is hard to watch it without smiling. Check out the whole video over on my instagram page.


The thing that is notable in this video is the timing. This was just a couple of weeks after Italy went into lockdown. The first country in the world to enact a full lockdown. You may remember the videos and stories coming out of Italy at the start of the pandemic. They were really scary. I remember them particularly well as we were getting updates from my husband's family who were horrified at the way we were carrying on business as usual in England. I remember the genuine fear that I felt about what was to come.


So this video came just weeks after the lockdown which marked a moment in their more than 80 years of life that was different to anything they had ever experienced before. It was a scary and uncertain time. You might think that it would have sent them into a state of fear. And I am sure they did feel fear at times. But this video shows us that they also found time to look for joy. To feel love. To choose to be positive.


So what is it about Nonno and Nonna that set them up to cope with these changes? It's hard to pin down to just one thing. Perhaps it's the fact that their 80 years plus of experience has shown them that life is full of ups and downs but that ultimately things tend to work out. Perhaps it's that they've dealt with plenty of hardship in their lives and they trust in their ability to cope. Perhaps they simply make a choice each day to find the best in the day ahead.


There's no doubt that they were also supported by the fact that even in their 80s they were quite comfortable with stepping out of their comfort zones. In fact, in their late 70s they bought a large plot of land and started growing enough fruit and vegetables to feed the entire family (and most of the street!). Nonno would be scaling the trees to throw down figs and peaches for Nonna to collect in her apron. They were digging and weeding and planting and watering by hand. It was hard, physical work that most twenty something year olds would struggle with. And they only started in their 70s.


They were willing to try new things, to take risks, to take on challenges, to make a choice to do hard things. And the amazing thing about making these choices is that by exposing ourselves to new things, we train our brain to be more flexible. Quicker to adapt. We teach our subconscious to trust that we are capable. That we can do hard things. And then, when hard things happen, our brain knows that we can cope. It trusts in us and our ability to adapt and change. It already has the neural pathways in place to allow us take things in our stride.


Choosing to get out of your comfort zone means that when you're forced out of it (because at some point we will all be forced out of it) you'll be in the best position to adapt and thrive. So whenever you can, get out of your comfort zone. Start the business. Learn the instrument. Sign up for the marathon. Visit places you've never been before. Cook new foods. Learn to dance. Climb a tree. Jump in a lake. Whatever it is you've been putting off doing because it feels too scary. Give it ago. Even if it doesn't work out the way you were expecting, know that you are training your brain to cope with whatever the world throws at you. That is success in itself.


And if all else fails, and things are feeling tough. Put on some music and have a little dance. Only good things can come from choosing to dance.





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