Do things outside your comfort zone, but only if they benefit you

By Rory Dulock | Staff Writer

It is safe to say that I am one of those people who is not afraid to try new things. I love any opportunity that will allow me to expand my knowledge or gain experience by trying something new.

I could go through a whole list of things that I have done that I originally thought would be uncomfortable for me to do. For instance, I went rock climbing several years ago even though I was horrified by heights (I’m still sort of scared), and it ended up benefiting me by helping me no longer be uncomfortable to climb.

I would encourage anyone to do things that may make them a little uncomfortable because it will help them gain new experiences. However, with that being said, it is also important to do things that will actually benefit you and to know where to draw the line.

As mentioned previously, my rock climbing experience was an example of a time when I did something that made me uncomfortable. While I know it is a simple example and may seem a little silly, it truly was a pivotal moment for me as I realized the importance of doing things that made me uncomfortable. Over the past several years, I have been doing things that make me uncomfortable, and I have no regrets because I know they are benefiting me.

Doing things that make you uncomfortable also allows you to gain new experiences that you would never previously think of doing. For instance, I have never been fond of large animals, mostly because I don’t trust them to not use their size against me. But my friend really wanted me to go horseback riding with her, and after a lot of convincing, she actually got me up on a horse. Although I am from Texas, riding that horse was the most uncomfortable thing I had done in a while. But I’m glad I got to experience it because, looking back, I enjoyed riding alongside my friend, and I can’t be embarrassed about never having ridden a horse before despite being from Texas.

However, while I am all for expanding your horizons, it is also important to do things that will actually benefit you and to know where to draw the line. Personal growth can be beneficial for a person, until it isn’t. Everyone has a line they cannot cross, and it is important for them to know where that line is.

While my friend ended up being an important factor in me expanding my comfort zone, for others, that could lean more toward toxic peer pressure. Obviously, when a person thinks of peer pressure, their immediate thoughts tend to be negative — and for good reason. Having a group of people force or pressure you to do something you don’t want to do doesn’t benefit you. It’s like the common phrase, “don’t jump off of a cliff just because everyone else does” (yes, I know, I brought up heights again). Instead, listen to the people who are supportive and understanding of what your personal boundaries are, because they are the ones who will help you do reasonable things outside your comfort zone.

If there’s one thing you need to take away from this article, it’s this: Don’t be afraid to do things outside your comfort zone, but make sure those things will benefit you.