The Importance of Stretching Yourself
We’ve all heard it before – if you aren’t challenging yourself, you aren’t growing. It’s easy to hear advice like that and brush it off as unimportant, or just not true. But pushing yourself and breaking out of your comfort zone is incredibly beneficial. It’s important to take risks, even if it’s scary, to help us grow as people.
Everyone has their own comfort zone, whether it’s big or small, and what’s inside your comfort zone is different from everyone else’s – but what’s common to most people is the fear of leaving that comfort zone. We get set in a routine – work, school, family time, hobbies or extracurriculars – and become afraid to step outside it. And the longer we stay rooted in that routine, the more difficult it is to make a change or to take a risk. But risks, where appropriate, can be good for us and can help us grow.
Whether it’s taking a class outside your major, or taking on a project at work that you know will challenge you, it’s important to push yourself in both small ways and big ways. That class that’s outside your major? Maybe it’s really hard, but it could spark your interest in something new. That work project that you worked so hard on? Maybe you learned a new skill or improved in some area related to your job that you can use in the future.
The satisfaction that comes from making a change or taking a risk (however small) would be reason enough, but every time you try something new you also learn something about yourself and about how you handle challenges. Stepping outside your comfort zone and doing something you’ve never done before, even something you think you can’t do, is a great way to develop new skills and also grow in self-confidence.
New experiences and new challenges are important parts of life, as challenging and as scary as they may seem. Whether it’s meeting new people, travelling somewhere you’ve never been, or setting a challenging goal for yourself, it’s important to push yourself in order to continue learning and growing.