Sometimes we become so complacent in our everyday established routines we don’t even realize we are in a bubble of stasis until we are forced to come out of the “box”. The “box” is what I call the comfort and stability of what we strive for in her life but unbeknownst to us at times it can become constraining instead of stabilizing. Why is it important to sometimes break out of our box?
It struck me how easy it was for people of all ages to become complacent and have the walls we build around us confine us versus support us. One mild Friday evening this summer I took my 12 year old son to a new area of the city that had gentrified with affordable new niche restaurants, shops and alot of character. He had never been in that part of the city and I thought we’d wander around, look at some new sites and grab a bite in an authentic one-of –a- kind restaurant with succulent tastes from another part of the world. As the evening progressed my usually easy going son become sullen and agitated which is unlike him. When I asked him what was on his mind, he replied he wasn’t comfortable going to a new restaurant and why can’t we just go to the usual, well-frequented, easy, big box cookie-cutter places where a burger is a burger and you don’t have to think about what you get. He exclaimed as his eyes rolled back in his head for dramatic effect, “I like what I like and why do we need to try something new?” His response surprised me for someone so young. Sure he likes those places and being only 12, he has many more years to continue to experience new things …how can he know what he likes (or dislikes) until he actually tries something new?
Afterwards, upon reflection, I realized his reaction was quite typical of all of us when we are uncomfortable with a situation…most of us tend to want to go back to the familiar to find comfort and stability. My son’s desire and need to find comfort in what he knows can happen to us at any age and in fact as we get older we run the risk of getting comfortable in our “box” and let the walls become thick, tall and more permanent to hold us in place unless we make a conscious decision to push back our boundaries.
So why push those walls back? The following are 5 reasons to try new things and push back your boundaries:
1. The ease of finding comfort in everyday routine can outweigh the desire to find new experiences that can open up new worlds and opportunities to explore. And, are we so afraid of a negative outcome that we hold ourselves back from trying something new? Sometimes the answer is yes and recognizing this is the first step in challenging ourselves to take a step forward. Those new opportunities could lead to a whole new and untapped understanding in ourselves that we may never have even imagined if we stayed inside our box and comfort zone.
2. To experience new adventures and opportunities opens our life to a new set of experiences that can be incorporated into our repertoire of skills. These new skills can add to our personality and even marketability. It enables us to find pieces of our personal jigsaw puzzle that forms who we are.
3. The people you meet in a new situation could very well be game changers in the course of your life. The network you create and foster can help you immeasurably in life at times of personal of professional need. The more you put yourself “out there” and expand your boundaries, the larger your network to draw upon. Who knows how one chance encounter could change the course of your life?
4. If you struggle to you push yourself to try a new experience and challenge your comfort zone, the next time you find yourself thrust in an uncomfortable situation I guarantee that situation will be easier since you already have some experience to draw upon. Each experience creates the building blocks to support your new experiences.
5. Sure there could be risks in trying new things. Will we always like new the experiences we encounter? Realistically probably not and we sometimes come to the realization that the new “adventure” did not meet our hopeful expectations. Is this a reason to stop trying new things? No! Without trying it, and then realizing it really wasn’t for us, would you only then come the realization that you don’t like it. Sometimes it’s just as important to know what you don’t like as much as what you do like. This also shapes who we are and what we become. It can also guide us in new directions and paths.
As we encounter new experiences, the space around us becomes larger and this space allows us to move and stretch in new directions. Every time we grow the box grows too and the walls do not hold us in… they are just strong enough to support us as we grow.
So try something new, expand that box and feel free to share your experience!