We all have things in life we want to do, see, and accomplish. However, there are always blockades that seem to stand in our way. Sometimes, these barriers are real, and other times, we create them in our own minds – excuses. I have a friend, Kevin, who’s name has been changed for this story, that is always talking about doing something. Lately, he’s been saying how much he wants needs to travel more. Now, that’s admirable. It’s something that I believe the majority of people would like to do. The problem lies in the fact that he talks about it, but never makes an effort to move forward with his plan and actually take the steps it takes to fulfill his goal to travel more.
Being stuck in this stagnant state does not have to do with a lack of knowledge about how to go about booking a flight or creating an itinerary. No, it is all about him creating excuses as to why he cannot go.
Not enough vacation time at work.
It costs too much.
I can’t find anyone to go with me.
I just have a lot of stuff I need to get done.
These are all great excuses that we have all heard before. Excuses are easily created barriers that we put up. They stop us from fulfilling our desires, whatever they may be.
What this mountain of excuses is masking is Kevin’s true fear, one he will not admit: the fear of the unknown. Ever since I’ve known him, he has never willingly stepped out of his comfort zone. Never done something without someone else attempting it first. Never really experienced anything outside of his norm that he has lived every day of his life.
Before people come after me with pitchforks and torches, if that’s the life Kevin wants, I am 100% okay with it, as long as one is not ignorant and intolerant of others as a result of never stepping our of their comfort zone. However, I do not truly believe that it is because he is always saying he wants to travel and live in other places and, in general, just do things. We’ve all made excuses about why we cannot do something and stepping outside of your comfort zone can, indeed, be scary. There’s no denying any of that. The problem with not being a Kevin lies within the fact that in order to grow as individuals, do the things we want, and succeed we need to stop with the excuses and get over our fears of stepping outside of our comfort zone.
As someone who tends to be an introvert, especially in new situations, I completely understand the fear of being outside of my comfort zone. I get an uneasy, uncomfortable feeling of the unknown and immediately jump to the worst case scenario, no matter how unlikely that may be. I’ve experienced this when going to study abroad, traveling, going away to college, and starting new jobs. However, it has been something that even if I initially feel uneasy has ultimately made me into a better person in the long run. I would have never gotten that chance to impact so many people’s lives in Jamaica, taken classes in other disciplines than mine, experienced how much Morocco impacted me, meet so many interesting people, and never would have contemplated teaching and living abroad.
Once you are outside of your comfort zone, you learn, adapt, and thrive. I believe that everyone who has been pushed out of their comfort zone has learned from the experience. I’d also like to think that many others agree with me. Being in a new, unknown situation allows us to learn about things from a different perspective. Maybe it’s seeing how people from another country live and go about their lives, or maybe it’s how a new group of people hangout together. We, then, adapt our tendencies and change the way we do things because we learn that maybe our way wasn’t the best, most interesting, or most fun way. Lastly, we thrive. We succeed outside of our comfort zone and make it our own by incorporating our own ideas and the ideas we’ve learned from others in it. This extends our comfort zone to a more encompassing and treating reaching area that scratches more surfaces of our world. It enriches us and the world around us.
You can continue to put up barriers and use excuses as to why you cannot do something because it is scary, or you can stop, take a breath, and go for it. Go explore the world. Go start a business. Go join that club. Go take that class. Go do what you’ve been wanting to do, and don’t stop yourself from doing it because it is outside of your comfort zone. Your comfort zone will expand, as will your wealth of knowledge and experiences. So, don’t be a Kevin and be too afraid to step outside the small bubble that is your life. There is too much out there just waiting for us to grasp a hold of. Push yourself to simply go out there and experience it!