The comfort zone is so warm and cozy (like the bed I am writing in right now!). It’s a place where we come to relax, it’s a place where we nuzzle up with all of the safest things in our lives and take a nice, non-nerve-inducing nap.
I spent a good majority of my life loving the comfort zone and staying within it. It wasn’t until I got into my first year in college that I decided I was going to start to do things I wouldn’t normally do. To be quite honest, I don’t even remembering consciously going “Okay! Now I am going to start to be brave!”, it was just kind of this organic transition from a life of being safe and sheltered, to a life of taking a some risks.
We spend so much of our life waiting around for “destiny” to take hold, and while I do believe that some people are truly destined to be specific things, I also think these people made a very significant personal contribution to this destiny that required a lot of blood, sweat, tears and bravery (okay hopefully not so much blood…) You can choose to do something amazing for yourself at any moment in your life and that is a really incredible feeling.
So coming from one innately shy person to another – let me just tell you there IS hope for you! You are not destined for a life within your safe shell, I can assure you! If you have been on the fence about doing something a little intimidating recently, here are 5 reasons why you should go for it.
1. Repetition equals normalcy
- Take a second to think of anything that you tried to do the first time, that you failed at. You know like, oh I don’t know, taking your first steps as a little infant human! I’m not sure that I know of anyone who just leapt up on their two baby feet and starting running marathons. It took practice, and it was probably pretty terrifying at first, but you eventually took your first step and now you’re probably the most masterful walker of all time! Doing something over and over again begins to minimize fear and create a sense of normalcy. The more you do it, the less scary it becomes!
2. Nothing ventured, nothing gained
- Although each and every thing I was nervous about in life always resulted in some minor indigestion (yay Tums!) and feeling of self doubt beforehand, the feeling I experienced after I accomplished that daunting task was so worth it. I specifically remember feeling this after finishing my first solo presentation in speech class my freshman year of college. I have vivid memories of that scene, because it was one of those life moments where I couldn’t run away from something that scared me. I HAD to get up there, and I was super awkward and terrified, but I found the strength within myself to just finish it. And now, nearly 9 years later (ew that sounds weird to say), I still remember that moment every time I stand in front of a group of people and speak today. I gained confidence, and most importantly I gained experience.
3. You have nothing to lose
- There are, of course, exceptions to this statement. Sometimes people risk their lives for their careers and passions, such as professional stunt people, race car drivers, professional athletes, the list goes on. So I do understand that in some cases, doing what you love can cause you to have one pretty large thing to lose: your life. But what I am talking about here is more so in the general sense. Everything you experience in life, is a lesson. It’s a lesson that makes you smarter, it’s a lesson that makes you more connected to your true, authentic self. When you have an embarrassing experience, it teaches you resilience. When you have a confidence boosting experience, it teaches you to appreciate your hard work. You are always learning, and where there is knowledge, there is everything to gain.
4. Calculated courage prepares you for the moments you can’t plan for
- Who doesn’t like to have a choices? Being able to have a say in what happens in your life is one of the greatest things and is a luxury that doesn’t frequently present itself. That’s why I think it is so important to jump on those opportunities where you can make a choice for yourself to do something out of the ordinary, because when the inevitable time comes when you do NOT have the choice, and life forces you in a certain direction, you will adapt more easily. Your chosen courage from the past will have prepared you, at least somewhat, for the unexpected courage you may be forced to have.
5. One moment of controlled bravery can lead to many more
- Similar to the first point, once you have tasted the sweet goodness of comfort zone escape, you will most definitely want more of it. Due to your increased level of confidence, finding more brave things to do won’t be that difficult. I included the word “controlled” in this point, because there are definitely smart ways to take risks and be brave. The more times you do things that you are afraid of, the more times you will experience the delightful aftermath of accomplishment. One moment of courage, will only leave you feeling like you can do even bigger and better things.