Get Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

Martin Olsen on

A lot of us wake up in the morning and get ready for work or school. We usually run through a list of good habits without thinking much about them, such as flossing, making our usual breakfast or (optimally) getting our dose of daily exercise. We head to work or school where we tend to sit/study in the same location, chat with the same co-workers or friends, and get into a comfortable daily routine. We tend to end the day in the usual way, and go to bed at the usual time in order to get the optimal hours of sleep.

That kind of routine isn’t bad, and I’ll admit to liking routines to a great degree.

So why would anyone want to experiment with going outside of their comfort zone?

My answer: because it helps you appreciate life more. And, it’s a bit of a thrill!

I’ll start with my most drastic example of this: when I was sent to Japan in high school for four months, my 17-year old mind was completely blown. I had to wear a school uniform, I struggled to communicate, and I absolutely had no idea what I was eating. On top of it, I had to bike up and down mountains on a daily basis in my school uniform, which is something I had never experienced in my flat state of Michigan.

However, by being catapulted outside of my comfort zone, I was able to see that there are other ways to do things. Other kinds of food. Other means of transportation. Other ways to communicate. Other ways to teach and learn in school. Even other examples of nature (like bamboo, or the kinmokusei tree that has a sweet scent in the fall). 

I started to appreciate diversity in regards to race, religion, language and culture. The blinders I had on my eyes opened up just a little bit more, and it made me hungry to learn more about the other 193 countries in the world. Actually, I learned to appreciate my own Polish heritage even more, and it prompted me to semi-formally study the Polish language.

If I hadn’t gone to Japan when I was 17, there might have been other opportunities that would have eventually led me to Japan. But there might not have. I might have stayed in my hometown, gone to a local school and got a local job. This scenario isn’t bad, of course! I just feel that I am happier knowing there was more to my bubble than I had understood. There literally is a world of opportunities out there.

Of course, we don’t have to travel or live in another country to get out of our comfort zone. We can also do little things differently, such as: 

  • take a different route to work to see another neighborhood or drive past a park you never knew existed
  • try a new kind of food
  • attend an event where you don’t know anyone 
  • sign up for Toastmasters
  • shop at a different store
  • listen to a different kind of music  (I now really like country music, even though before I thought it was funny-sounding.)
  • read an article from a news source you never visit
  • play devil’s advocate regarding a topic that you couldn’t possibly see the other way (High school debate definitely helped me in this regard. There are two sides to every story, and each side can be right.)

The amazing thing about the world today is that you can explore different cultures just by visiting a restaurant that serves that food, befriending someone from a different country, or seeing videos about it on the internet.

Today, I’m not necessarily traveling to other places nor going crazy at night clubs. But I did try a different flavor of ramen the other day, which was exciting in itself 🙂 

So what are you going to do to get out of your comfort zone? Is it going to be as wild as applying to go to Japan, or as simple as meeting a new person? Let me know; I love getting your feedback! Find me on any of my social media or drop a comment below.

Martin Olsen on

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