Over time, everyone develops new knowledge and new achievements through experiences; whether they are accomplishments that are easy to achieve, or not. We all have our preferences, whether that’s a higher confidence in public speaking versus conversation, applying for a job opportunity out of state versus staying close to home, and every other decision we make. It is natural for us to take the path of least resistance, a primitive instinct of feeling comfortable as good, and uncomfortable as bad.
It may feel like there are no negative consequences for avoiding the uncomfortable, but the harsh truth is the realization of what could have been. What if I chose to put my foot in the door and network, instead of avoiding meeting new connections? What if I chose to take that new job, instead of staying where I am? What if I had taken the time to thoroughly review my resume, instead of submitting one that doesn’t properly showcase my qualifications?
Of course, these all sound like negative outcomes that result from remaining with the comfortable options; and in many situations, remaining comfortable is more reasonable. But in the cases where they aren’t, we may lose an opportunity of unfathomable success, because of the need to avoid the only constant in life: change. When experiencing those moments where we take a chance and we falter, they should be treated as opportunities for growth, not self-belittlement.
One of the best examples I have involving stepping out of my comfort zone, is my introduction to the life of student government. In my first week at college, I was entering SUNY Polytechnic Institute, as a young man with very little development in public speaking or professionalism. I was presented with the opportunity to run as a Freshman Senator, in which to be accepted, I had to obtain 50 signatures from students and be voted in by the public. Instead of cowering at the thought of asking strangers to vote for me, or the fear of losing, I took on the challenge.
Fortunately, I was accepted into the role as a student leader through this accomplishment. Without taking that leap out of my comfort zone, I would not be in the position I’m in today, as an intern at Indium Corporation. The alternative of refraining from that discomfort would have resulted in missing incredible opportunities, and tremendous personal growth. In the situation where I would not have been elected, that taking on that discomfort resulted in failure; it’s then that I would have accepted defeat, and continue trying new experiences until I found one that did lead to success.
Do not get caught up on the what-ifs, but, remember to grow yourself, and grow your possibilities; grow your comfort zone. Make the things once uncomfortable to you, simple and easy to do, and never be afraid to try something new.