Stepping Outside of Your Comfort Zone

“Step out of your comfort zone!”. You’ve probably heard this from your high school teachers before entering college, or you might have seen it while scrolling through a PowerPoint slide of the Career Preparation class in your freshman year. Even on Instagram or an advertisement, the this phrase is everywhere, and it can irritate young folks because…we get the point. 

Trust me, I feel the same. But there are reasons why successful individuals talk a lot about it as a crucial step to improve one’s life and career. For myself, I’ve been lucky enough to receive this advice by many wise people whom I encounter through books and in real life, from professors to successful entrepreneurs, from singer-songwriters to data analysts, and alumni that graduated just a few years earlier than us. And here are a few reasons for why stepping out of our comfort zone can benefit you. 

“Do You Know What YoDon’t Know?” 

Most of the time, we don’t. For example, I might know that I will probably struggle in doing Calculus problems if I never take that class, or I don’t think that I am a good public-speaker so I find every reason to avoid opportunities to do so. But I also don’t know if there is a possibility that I might actually be good at it. This is called a “fixed mindset”, which is the mindset of thinking that we’re good where we are and there’s no need to go further, and as a result, we prevent ourselves from learning new things and discovering our weaknesses. In other words, if we think that we already know what we know, we do not know what else we’re capable of. 

Moreover, even if we don’t excel or fall in love with what we just learn, it might just add to our experience and can possibly become a helpful skill for us in the future. Who knows if we are actually good at doing something unless we try breaking out of our own bubble and do it, right? 

You Cannot “Buy” Experience. You Can Only Earn It! 

If I were to have the experience that those successful people I mentioned above do, I would have less of a hard time figuring out how to make things work, but unfortunately, we can’t just become someone else. We have to go through a lot of challenges, even if they are unpleasant in order to surpass it, and that’s also the reason why a lot of us are scared of making changes or doing something for the first time. Fear of failure is of human nature. However, by failing, we learn how to improve our performance and become better the next time we encounter the challenge again. Every time you are afraid, remember that fear stands for two things: forget everything and run, or face everything and rise. Two decisions can bring two different results and the choice is at yours. 

Taking (Calculated) Risk IA Must! 

To be honest, life is never secure nor predictable. Along the way of achieving the goals you set for your personal and professional career, there will be so many challenges to be overcome. If you are struggling or risking at something, congratulations, you are stepping out of your comfort zone and getting closer to your goals. There’s no easy way to attain great things without going through the tests that life gives you. But the young generation has an advantage. We have youth, energy, excitement, and time to explore different opportunities. Moreover, we can bounce back faster after falling down than people who have more responsibilities and commitments like our parents. So when you’re young, take the risks of stepping our your comfort zone because you simply can! 

Here’s my favorite quote from Hellen Keller: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing”. So don’t be afraid to take on challenges in your life and career despite how odd or uncomfortable it makes you feel. In the end, as your comfort zone gets bigger, you become a braver, stronger and better version of yourself! 

Chau Pham 

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