Doing things that don’t come naturally, or that we don’t think we can do very well, is always going to be a bit scary, but it’s the only way of broadening our horizons and developing new talents.
The other day I played some tunes at a local jam night, and didn’t feel like it went very well. My ‘comfort-zone’ musically these days is playing at acoustic nights, on my own, after lots of practice. After the jam night, I thought I might stick to that, and not perform in the more difficult (to me) scenario anymore.
But then I remembered that playing at acoustic nights used to be out of my comfort zone as well. It was only by doing it, over and over – and messing it up a few times too – that I got better at it.
We can cling to our comfort zones because they’re safe. We know them, we understand them; they’re not going to hurt us too much and they’re not going to bring us any unexpected traumas.
It could be anything: staying single to avoid getting hurt, or staying in a relationship we don’t really want through fear of being lonely; living in our home town, rather than taking a job somewhere else; going on a beach holiday, instead of the snow-boarding we’d really like to do but are afraid might break our bones. Or even small things, like staying in with a DVD and a take-out instead of going out and meeting people.
The safe option might not bring unexpected trauma, but it won’t bring unexpected joy either. We won’t learn anything new; we won’t discover new things – both beautiful and difficult – that we hadn’t experienced before. We won’t be really living.
So, what scares you? What do you wish you could do, but don’t think you can? Go and try it. Even if you fail, so what? Try it again. The only people who might make fun of you are those too scared to try it themselves…