Here’s the thing. Trying new things can be very daunting. The unfamiliar makes us nervous. Leaving our comfort zones puts us in a vulnerable position and leaves the little voice in our heads screaming questions and statements at us. “Should I do this??? Can I Do this?? Do I Look Stupid... I look stupid, I should just stop.”
Way too often we let the fear stop us. But when we push ourselves out of our comfort zone, it is really good for us. Trying things gives us the chance to learn and grow. We can learn new things about ourselves, and about the world around us.
You must let go of the fear and just do it. Often, you will feel like people are staring, or judging you. Here’s the thing: They are thinking the same thing that you are about them. Most of the time, they are mulling the same fears over in their own heads, and when you look up, furtively from your plans, and happen to make eye contact, they are thinking the same “oh crap, see someone is looking at me…” that you were.
Let’s try something here: I want you all to try to pull all of your face towards your nose and make the most obnoxious noise possible.
Did you do it? Why not? What were you afraid of? Why?????
Now, having a fear of risk is healthy. Fear is something that has developed in us by thousands of years of evolution. Survival of the most fit was a genuine thing. If your ancestors were idiots, and ended up dying, then you wouldn’t have been here, right? But odds are, they did take a few risks. They successfully hunted beasts for their meat, and fed their families, they tried the colorful berries on the trees and found that they were tasty, they trekked thousands of miles from the places they were born and made an amazing home in a new place. There are hundreds of ways that risks were taken, things were tried, and there were some incredible results to be had… IN FACT, you are one of them! Your parents took incredible risks, as you all will someday, by falling in love, and being vulnerable to heartache, and deciding to raise you, which is being vulnerable to another kind of heartache, and now, they are taking another calculated risk by sending you to camp, with a bunch of crazy strangers, again, but they did so, because they know that you coming back to camp, is one of the ways for you to learn and grow into a pretty cool person.
When you are about to jump out of your comfort zone, and take a risk, make sure that you don’t fear it too much. There is a reward for taking that risk and trying something new. It can be a rush!
Science is on my side with this too! It’s been proven that people who engage in a wide variety of experiences, who always try everything, have more positive emotions and they can minimize their negative ones better than the people who have fewer experiences. There are other benefits to our health too by trying everything.
Aristotle realized that there is a difference between the pleasures of the moment, called Hedonia, and the satisfaction that comes from constantly developing and living one’s life to the fullest, or eudaimonia. Scientists have finally begun to study Eudaimonia. Research is suggesting that the greater sense of purpose and personal growth that comes from eudaimonia correlates to lower cortisol levels, better immune function and more efficient sleep…
Now, you don’t have to skydive, or bungee jump to have a new experience, (But if that floats your boat, go for it!), it could be as simple as floating in a boat! Anything that is a new experience counts. More of an indoor person? Grab a buddy and go sit outside. Sit and listen to the sounds of nature, the wind in the trees, the buzz of the insects, the songs that the birds sing. More of an introvert? Well force yourself to talk to a new person and find out something about them. It’s all about smashing comfort zones to the ground. Anything that feels foreign to you at first, could be the thing that makes you feel like you are flying!
So now, I’ve convinced you that trying everything sounds like a great thing, right? But how? Taking a big risk sounds, kinda risky! Well, start small. Take something that makes you happy now but change it up. Putting a new spin on something is another way to try something new, but in a way less intimidating form. Switching things up can keep you inspired and motivated. Let’s be honest, doing the same thing every day can be quite dull and monotonous.
A good example of this is exercise. I jog. Not well, but I do. I did a whole couch to 5K program on my treadmill. I was asked by a friend to join him on a jog when he hurt his knee, and he wanted a slower pace than his normal jogging buddy would usually use. I was TERRIFIED! People would stare at me; they would think that I was a joke. But here’s the thing. I wasn’t stared at, in fact, people were really awesome. The other joggers on the trail smiled and nodded at me and I got some “Great form”’s, but for the most part, I was ignored. I was just another person on the trail. Everyone was too busy in their own heads to pay me any mind. And that is why you should say FORGET FEARS and just TRY EVERYTHING!
When you look at all the things that you are too scared to do or say or be in this world, it can be really overwhelming. I can understand and relate. It has taken me almost 40 years to be comfortable with who I am, what I say and what I can do. I fight anxiety every single day. I fight poor self-esteem every single day. It has taken me a very long time to learn that I have permission to try something new. “Because here’s the thing, if I try it, and I have success, then HURRAY! I have success! But if I try, and I fail, then guess what, I deserve patience and understanding and I deserve to know that mistakes can be made without making me a broken person.”* I repeat: making mistakes does not mean you are broken. (* Borrowed from Georgia Hardstark’s Chapter in SSDGM: The Book)
When you have made a mistake, or something just doesn’t work out, or you learn that you don’t like something, then you have learned and grown. You are maybe a better person for the experience, and you can make even better choices moving forward. Maybe you just need more practice at what you tried. If that’s the case, Try again. If you had even a little bit of fun, then do it again.
The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to trying something new. If you want to make a small step or a big leap out of that comfort zone, your soul will be boosted. You deserve to experience all of the highest highs that this world can offer you. Sometimes, life will lead you to a low as well, and those do indeed suck, but the highs are so worth it! The experiences are worth it. The love, and the fun, and the joy that can be had by sticking your neck out, and trying something, trying everything, that, my friends, that is life.
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