“There are always a million reasons not to do something.” While Jan Levinson was typically portrayed as the villain on the television show The Office, these words have left a deeper impact on me than any others said on the show. Throughout out my life my “comfort zone” has actually felt much more like a prison. It was less of a place I wanted to remain and more of a place I felt incapable of escaping. Every time an opportunity would present itself, I would come up with those million reasons not to take it and mostly for fear of failure I would concede immediately.
My entire life has been framed by regrets, whether it has come down to looking back on ropes courses I didn’t complete, mountains I didn’t climb, or bikes I didn’t ride. I was never courageous or adventurous. I used to pride myself on the injuries I never had and the sour memories I never made by putting myself out there, but there came a time when I realized this wasn’t necessarily a good thing. Sure I was safe, but I was in no way free. This summer especially, I have put more and more emphasis on changing this about myself. I actively pushed myself to do more and more things that I wouldn’t typically do and it has paid off immensely in beautiful photographs, but more importantly, irreplaceable memories that I’ll keep forever.
I wanted to write an article about comfort zones dole out a bunch of advice and give you X amount of steps on how to do it. But I simply cannot. You can look through every “how-to” on the subject, but at the end of the day, trying to assign any uniform to it is a blatant waste of time. We’re all different. Every single person you see will experience the world radically differently, and those different experiences will shape how they approach certain situations and what degree of caution they exercise along the way. But here is one thing I can say for sure: patience is a virtue. Breaking from habits and impulses that have been ingrained in us since we were small is by no means a cakewalk. Escaping the dreaded comfort zone is far from a simple task to accomplish and expecting to wake up one morning and conquer all your fears is hardly realistic. Come on to every situation you are faced with critically. Become conscious of the million reasons you come up with not to do it and question if your fears are rational and consider what positive memories can come out of it. It's a long and seemingly endless process but one that is necessary to grow and experience the world for all it has to offer. While I can't speak as someone who has completely broken free, I can tell you from this far in, it has been more than worth it.