Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

1. You can’t expect to achieve anything if you never take any risks.

A person’s comfort zone is a place of familiarity; it is a place with reduced stress, low anxiety and a moderate level of happiness. People often become too used to being in their comfort zone, not feeling the urge to break the steadiness in their lives. The avoidance of trying new foods, joining new sports or clubs, doing the same routine every day: these are all things that can hold a person back from growth and development within their own self. The comfort zone is a natural state for people to be in. However, it is important to occasionally break out of that easy and habitual state of being. Although extreme levels of stress are detrimental to one’s health, being under certain amounts of stress is necessary to push oneself to reach new heights and overcome challenges. These necessary levels of stress are referred to as “Optimal Anxiety.” It is the amount of pressure needed to improve but not too much to inhibit success.

  Stepping out of the comfort zone gets easier over time. This means that the more it is done, the easier stepping out of a comfort zone will be later on. The more often these limitations are pushed, the easier it will be to deal with unexpected changes. Basically, the more often a person does this in the present, the more likely it will lead to directly benefiting them in the future.

For people like English teacher Sarah Ogborn, who have continually traveled out of the country, the level of dependence and need for help from other people has decreased dramatically.

“My level of independence increased,” Ogborn said. “Overall it made me a better person and made me see the world as better, too.”

A person who continually pushes themselves to try and see new things will see a decrease in dependence on other people. Yet, why? The only steady and constant thing in a person’s life is themselves. That is the only person who is guaranteed to always be there, so why not make sure that self is ready and able to take on tasks without the need of someone else?

There is a big difference between controlled anxiety and the anxiety many people deal with every day. What may expand one person’s horizons could paralyze someone else’s. Optimal anxiety can bring out the best in someone, but too much of it has detrimental effects. Do not tip the scales- trying to do too much at once can cause long-lasting damage.

One of the most fulfilling ways to escape familiarity and routine is to travel. Travelling anywhere, from leaving the house to leaving the country, instigates permanent and life-changing insight and gratification. For most, the only way to get the full benefits and experiences that come with leaving the country is to actually leave the country. English teacher Katharine Giertych spent time studying abroad in Scotland.

“When I came home, I immeasurably wanted to go back,” Giertych said. “It’s one thing to read rather than see for yourself. Seeing and being a part of it is a different experience.”

One of the most overwhelming stress factors, seen most prominently in people who travel outside of their native country, is having a language barrier. Being in a new country that speaks a different language makes seemingly basic tasks much more difficult. Things like buying a train ticket, reading maps and road signs, or simply asking someone a question turn into an obstacle.

Leaving a home country instantly will take a person out of their comfort zone. For Social Studies and school field trip advisor Stephen Rose, this is not an unfamiliar concept. He has traveled to numerous countries throughout his lifetime, some of which with the students and staff of ACHS, and has been forced to achieve tasks he was unfamiliar with. In addition, he also learned how to do things differently that contrast his usual American culture.

“In Europe, for example, they air dry their laundry,” Rose said.

After seeing this first hand on his trip to Europe, he went home, bought a drying rack and has been saving money on his electric bill ever since. Travel can change someone’s views on what they thought about something in the past, as well as open their eyes to the present and the future. Every time Rose comes home from a trip, he feels as if he learned new things about the new places he visited.

“I gained a deeper appreciation for my country and where I’m from,” Rose said.

Being comfortable is not something to avoid. It is necessary to remain comfortable to be in a stress-free and anxiety-free state. This state of being allows the brain to rest, recharge and re-up in order to develop and function better in the future.

Being in a state of optimal anxiety will lead to increased performance and enhanced productivity. These terms are general, but there are actual direct and positive outcomes applicable in all people’s lives for all lifestyle types. More productivity is guaranteed to occur. Without a sense of unease that comes with having set expectations or deadlines to meet, it is common to see only the bare minimum amount of work done. No deadlines means no drive or attempt to go the extra mile. Stress to get things done by a certain time increases learning and ability to do tasks correctly.

Any unexpected change in the future will be easier to deal with. If this change turns into a problem it will be easier to solve it.

Because of the growing lack of effort, motivation and ambition so often occurring in the lives of people in this day and age, it is very necessary people to work hard to keep improving. It is never a good thing to cease progression; instead, constant improvement in all aspects of life should be done. Due to the growth in technology, making things easier and creating shortcuts for once time-consuming tasks, the motivation and work ethic of people around the world has drastically begun to decline.

A comfort zone is a good place to be but it is also a good place to leave. It will bring on stress but low levels of stress are beneficial to one’s health and overall well-being. Whether it be through trying new things, changing an everyday routine, traveling out of the country or any particular thing that takes a person out of their comfort zone, it is an experience every person should have.