Why Your Comfort Zone Is Killing Your Experiences

Do you ever find that you walk past booths or say “no” to new things out of habit? I certainly have. Now that I’m more self aware in regards to this habit of mine, I started changing that. I changed my mentality from “why would I do that?” to “why not do that?” and it has reaped so many benefits for me and my career.

Going into university, it can be so easy to not join clubs, councils, or teams, or go to any events. However, being cooped up in the library or your dorm room doesn’t benefit you as much as going out would. I was always weary of trying new things. I mean, the comfort of familiarity is something I think we all can appreciate. When I started applying to jobs or positions at school that I normally wouldn’t, I saw things beginning to change.

I went to pick up some mail at the post office and just happened to ask them if they were hiring. There was no sign indicating they were recruiting more employees, but simply by having a conversation that went beyond the “hi, I’m here to pick up a parcel”, I found my new place of employment and absolutely love it there!

I took my headphones out on my walk to campus one day and was amazed by how many people suddenly found me approachable and would ask me for directions. Being able to give people an easier opportunity to ask for help when they need it, and actually be of service to them, felt incredible.

I started volunteering in more things on campus and met some amazing people. I volunteer for the safe walk program, dedicating my Friday evenings to walking around campus, patrolling for mischief or walking people to their destination if they feel uneasy. Notably, I used to be terrified of the dark and being taken, but being involved in a program that helps target that issue, I’m not as scared. I also volunteered for my school’s open house, and came to learn a lot about the school that I didn’t know, and got to help settle some of those nerves that incoming freshman can have.

If you’re like me, it’s easy not to jump at the chance to get involved in any councils. At first glance, it appears to be a boat-load of responsibility and time that, let’s be honest, not a lot of students have. I’m currently running to be my department’s student representative, and regardless of the outcome, I have learned a lot about myself. I had to prepare a speech and present it in front of strangers, and then be asked on-the-spot questions that I couldn’t prepare for. The whole process freaked me out at first, but I decided, even if I don’t get to be the representative, there are other positions within the council that would make it so I am at least more involved in my school.

I think that when you are in control of your experiences you have a way of changing how you look at things.

Volunteering for things I normally wouldn’t has lessened my fears, allowed me to meet great people, and enhanced my resume. When you start communicating with people more, the opportunities are endless. I was awarded a job just by talking to another employee and have helped people in need of directions all because I wasn’t so consumed in my own time and thoughts that I actually looked approachable. All too often, we get lost in our own lives that we forget to be there for others. It’s hard to ask for directions and admit you’re lost, and having people constantly appearing like they’re in a rush or that nothing is more important than whatever is going on in their phones makes asking for help that much more difficult.

Featured Image via mikutas.

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