By Nathan Hill | Posted: Monday August 6, 2018
“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” ― Seth Godin
I remember reading this quote on the walls of the scholarship room last year. Some of you may recognise it. I had no idea who Seth Godin was. It turns out he is a best-selling author, respected blogger and successful entrepreneur. But, these words caught my attention personally and have become extremely valuable.
For a long time, I have stayed stuck inside my comfort zone. I was always that shy, geeky, slightly awkward kid who for some reason wasn’t terrible at sports. And to be honest, I still am that kid. I would hardly ever do things that scared me, and if I did it would likely be a half-hearted effort. For example, whenever we did those group performances on stage at primary school, you know the ones, it would be my personal mission to get as far back out of sight as I could be. I wanted to be as inconspicuous as possible. I adopted the same sort of strategy when it came to other things such as Jump Jam and school speeches. However, eventually, I realised that whatever field I choose to go into, if I want to get to the top, I would have to be a good communicator and public speaker. I won’t be able to hide at the back.
Nowadays I have figured that the more I try things that I find uncomfortable, the more I challenge myself to take on all sorts of new opportunities that previously I wouldn’t have, that the more comfortable these things become. In doing so, I widen my comfort zone.
Not everyone is an extreme introvert. Regardless, everyone has a comfort zone. For some, this may be larger than others. There are definitely a few people I know who seem to be the man for every occasion. But we all have areas in our lives that we know we can improve, and deep down probably wish to do so. Perhaps you are reluctant to join that team, or cultural group, go to that tutorial, or you are just afraid of hard work.
You may be perfectly happy with residing safely inside the cosy walls of your comfort zone. And you may see no need to push out. If so, that’s completely fine, and it’s up to you. But for those of you who want to extend the boundaries of your comfort zone, to be the person you have the potential to become, I encourage you if you don’t already, to challenge yourself. Even if it’s just a little. You may surprise yourself.
Pushing the limits of your comfort zone is by no means easy. It takes a degree of courage and determination and you have to really want the rewards. I’ll admit that when those opportunities come up to do something that would be beneficial but uncomfortable, I still crawl back to the safety of my comfort zone the majority of the time. However, in these moments I know I have missed an opportunity to improve.
You can’t change who you are. I realise that I’m never going to be an extremely outgoing extrovert, I’m not sure I want to be. However, you can be the best you possible. And I believe you can’t be the best you possible without getting uncomfortable.
I’d like to finish with another quote, this time from Nelson Mandela.
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”