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On Comfort Zones

Comfort zone:
noun
1. a situation where one feels safe or at ease
Everyone has that comfort zone somewhere. It’s just that tried and tested thing that is guaranteed to put your nervousness to rest, because, hey, you got this. No matter what happens or what you go through, there’s that one thing that you know you’re good at. Nothing can ever take that away from you.
Personally, I don’t like comfort zones.
While they might seem comforting to some, the only thing I can see them as is stifling. There are so many things to do in this world, the list goes on and on and on. By establishing yourself as superior in just one, or a few, of those millions of things, you’re actually just limiting yourself.
You might be terrified of heights, but unless you gather the courage to climb to the top of a mountain, you’ll never know first-hand how clean and crisp the mountain air feels as it rushes in and out of your lungs. Unless you jump into an ocean, the only exotic fish you will ever see will be in pictures or captivity. Maybe I’m the only one who NEEDS to know everything there is to know, but it’s not a bad need to have.
For instance, you could be a natural at pottery, but because you’ve never even tried it, you wouldn’t ever know. Ever. This might sound like something someone with a mild case of OCD might say, but isn’t it scary to not know these things?
And this is so much more than pottery. You could spend your entire school life studying for engineering, never having considered anything else. What if you were to try out something in a business field and discover that you love it, but ten years later, when you’re only qualified to be an engineer? Of course, it’s never too late to have a realization, but sometimes it can be hard to act upon it.
When people ask me why I bother reading Harvard Review when there’s a biology test in a few days, I find it difficult to make them understand. Yes, I love biology, and yes, it’s my comfort zone. But that should not mean that it’s all I ever do! Having a comfort zone and knowing that it’s always going to be there isn’t a bad thing at all. After all, the rule of thumb in this world is to always do what you enjoy, what you’ve been consistently good at, and only then will you truly succeed. Many people live perfectly wonderful lives within the safety net that they’ve only strengthened for as long as they can remember. But nets break, and no matter how tightly woven yours is, if you’ve only got one, you run the risk of it falling out from under your feet. You don’t need to do things only so that they help secure your future, but at the same time, you’re the one who has to live that future. Do you really want to place all your bets on that one net? If you’re completely sure, then by all means, go ahead.
But if the slightest of doubt creeps into your mind, if the ‘maybe there are other interesting things out there’ has occurred to you, then you need to act on it. Even if it doesn’t give you a shiny new utopian life, at least you’ll know. At least you won’t think, fifty years from now, that maybe, just maybe, you could’ve had it better.
Back to myself, anyone who knows me will tell you that my dancing skills are non-existent. With great embarrassment, I myself have admitted that when I dance, it’s akin to a giraffe on steroids. And I’m not kidding. However, that doesn’t mean I’m averse to being, well, a dancing giraffe, when I’m alone, or with people I’ve known for ages. It’s just a well-kept secret.
Having said this, I naturally cursed myself when my hand moved of its own accord when volunteers for a dance in a school play were asked for. Sceptical as I was about the sudden bout of confidence, I didn’t object to my name being added to the list. It was only when we were asked to try out a few moves in front of everyone that it sunk in, and I panicked internally. I vowed to somehow come up with a reasonable excuse to get out of this, but something (I still can’t put a finger on it) made me hesitate, and I went with the flow, let my name be where it was.
I don’t know what I’m going to do when it comes to actually performing. But I need to find out, whether the outcome is good or bad. After all, I cannot possibly tell my grandchildren that I was part of the background, when I had the chance to have been so much more now, can I?
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2 thoughts on “On Comfort Zones”

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