Is Your Comfort Zone Holding You Back?
Author: Logan White
Upon being VERY honest with yourself, do you find yourself taking “easy roads” just because it’s what you’re comfortable with? We’re talking about things that go a little bit deeper than your go-to lunch spot. Think about choices you make that truly affect you or your family’s life such as staying at a job that makes you unhappy or has no future, keeping old friends around who are negative dead weight or maybe even turning on the tube instead of including kids in some of the chores around the house.
After chatting with a young lady who went outside her comfort zone on the trip of a lifetime, here’s some insight from our very own SML intern, Logan White, who is deep in the trenches of undergrad right now. (Talk about an uncertain and uncomfortable time in life!) See how stepping even slightly outside of what you’re comfortable with can reignite your youthful passion and zest for life and bring in new, fun memories!
As human beings, we are creatures of habit. We all tend to find ease in living our lives with consistency. Whether it be in your role as a parent or as an employee, everyone occasionally finds themselves working in a routine. This routine eventually becomes what we are comfortable with.
When it is suggested that we do something outside of this routine, we are immediately concerned with the unknown. Although this fear is nothing short of common, it demonstrates a human flaw- a fear of discomfort.
If you think back on your life, you might find that several of your most enjoyable memories might have come about when you did something outside of your comfort zone. The greatest thing about comfort zones is that each time we step outside of them, they follow us. With every new experience we try, we expand the limits we place on ourselves.
Throughout history, those who stepped outside of their comfort zone and tried something new were the ones who made the biggest impact on our world. From famous musicians such as the Beatles to inventors like Thomas Edison, stepping outside of one’s comfort zone has the ability to change the lives of others in addition to your own. It isn’t necessary to be in the world’s spotlight to go outside of your comfort zone, a prime example of this is current University of Florida student Jackie Cicalese.
Photo courtesy of Jackie Cicalese
Cicalese is a sophomore materials engineering student at UF who has always had a heart for adventure. Although she has always enjoyed going outside of her comfort zone, she exceeded her own expectations for seeking discomfort when she spent six weeks in the Dominican Republic through the university’s study abroad program.
For most, experiencing a new country and its culture would be intimidating; however, for Cicalese, these fears served as motivations to go abroad. Cicalese’s only concern when it came to going abroad was her knowledge, or lack thereof, of Spanish. Cicalese feared, “I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to communicate effectively with others because of the language barrier.” Regardless of this concern, Cicalese powered through her fear and ended up having an unforgettable experience abroad!
According to Cicalese, the greatest takeaway from the entire experience was, “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.” From jumping off waterfalls to following strangers that later turned into friends into the woods in search of a river, Cicalese was continually willing to step outside of her comfort zone allowing her to truly benefit from the experience.
Image from Jackie Cicalese
For those hoping to go out of their comfort zone, Cicalese recommends being open-minded. “Don’t worry so much about the fear associated with an experience but rather how the experience is making you a more well-rounded individual. Open-mindedness and a smile can prepare you for any adventure,” Cicalese suggests.
Expanding your comfort zone doesn’t mean that you must travel the world for the sake of new experiences, it simply means that you should put yourself out there into the world. For parents, seeking discomfort could be as simple as creating a new bedtime story that has yet to be written, letting your kids pick out their outfit for the day (even if it looks insane), or simply making the time to allow yourself to go to a fitness class you’ve never been to before.
Although each step you take outside of your comfort zone may seem small, they often say a journey begins with just one step. So, take that first step today!
About the Author
Logan White is a current second-year Public Relations major at the University of Florida. As an SML intern, Logan hopes to assist SML in achieving its goal of making a positive difference on the lives of others through promoting a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle. Outside of the office, Logan enjoys spending her time outdoors, particularly in a hammock, in addition to going on adventures with friends.