My primary car these days is a Tesla Model S sedan. I am sometimes asked how I like it, and my response now is that I will always own one. I have come to love the car for many of the reasons that made me hesitant to get it in the first place. I can distinctly remember telling my best friend, who owns one, that I would never buy an electric car. But this is not an article about the many features that make the Model S a dream car to own. It is about how pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone often leaves you in a better position than you were before.
Most of us naturally tend to stay in our comfort zone because it provides a sense of security and familiarity. The truth, however, is that doing so often prohibits progress and personal growth. You may have the illusion of satisfaction, but the reality is that you may never know what you could have experienced or achieved without doing new things and taking risks that normally accompany growth.
Do Something New
How do you develop the habit of forcing yourself to grow? By doing something new, even if it is slightly challenging, and makes you feel uncomfortable. I was going home the other day when I decided to take a new route without the aid of my GPS. It was a little intimidating, but I discovered a quaint new nearby neighborhood and another convenient thing. A store that I periodically visit has a much closer branch to me than where I usually shop. Sure, a minor thing in the scheme of life, but a pleasant little surprise for me.
It doesn’t always work out that way, and sometimes you fail. I may have gotten temporarily lost by taking that new unknown direction. And quite frankly, I probably wouldn’t have taken the risk of a new route if I had been in a hurry and needed to be on time. But it worked out, and I am better off for it.
You must develop a propensity for taking calculated risks. Often it leads to a better result even if the journey proves to be a challenging ride. My decision to go to Orangeburg High School (OHS) fits that bill. Being one of the first African American students to help integrate an all-white school in the deep south involved significant risks and took me well outside of my comfort zone. Yet, it allowed me to develop strategies to exist and navigate a hostile environment. It also enabled me to observe the changes in human conduct as both attitudes and behavior began to change among my fellow white students. Finally, going to OHS exposed me to the US Air Force Academy and provided me with a life-changing opportunity that I may otherwise never have had.
I am about to take off on a new journey. I’ve decided to learn a new language. It will take time and effort, and I’ve read that it is more difficult to do this later in life. But I do not doubt that it will reshape my current comfort zone and provide expected and unanticipated rewards.
A Quote To Consider!
“All growth starts at the end of your comfort zone.”
- Tony Robbins