My main goal in life is to have the biggest comfort zone that I can possibly have. That doesn’t mean that I want to feel comfortable in every situation; there’s still a lot of stuff that I would want to feel uncomfortable with. In general, however, I want to consistently push myself to keep extending my boundaries, to continuously learn and to never stop growing.
To develop a bigger comfort zone is to learn. Discovering new places, meeting new people and trying new things. I don’t believe that just learning something new is enough to push your boundaries, rather I think that through learning you develop a new perspective; a new view on the world, on people and on yourself. In a way, you change your subjective reality. Something that previously made you worried, anxious, sad or angry is suddenly viewed from a different angle, changing the way you perceive it.
For me, travelling is a huge part of extending my comfort zone. I’ve learned so much about people, cultures, values, the world and myself by travelling to different places. For example, when I was travelling to Canada I was amazed by how nice and kind everyone was. A chat with a cashier totally made my day, just because we talked about some random stuff. As a Dutchie, I’d never experienced something like that before so consistently. In the Netherlands, chatting with the cashier will not only surprise the cashier, it will also annoy people waiting in line because everyone’s always in a rush (trust me, I tried to have chats with random people when I came back from Canada, but it’s just not part of the culture). I’m not saying either one of these situations is better than the other. I don’t want to judge these situations; I only want to observe and extract from it what aligns closest with my values and the person I want to be.
Travelling to India changed a lot of my feelings and thoughts on some big, deep subjects, like happiness. Seeing how people in the rural areas were incredibly proud of a new ‘house’ they had built was such a perspective-changer. Mainly because the ‘house’ that they showed us, was a little shack with some pots and pans. No running water, no toilet, no shower; not even a bed. The bed (or frame) was outside, in the sand. But still, these people were ever so proud of their houses.
It’s all about perspective.
You see, often times we don’t realise how stuck we are in our own way of thinking. And if you don’t do something new every now and then, even if it’s very small, you’ll forget why you think the way you think. In a way, you’re limited by your own thinking, even though you might not be aware of it. It’s all relative, and if you don’t put yourself out there, extend your comfort zone and push your boundaries, you’ll never fully realise what you have, what you don’t have and what you could do to change the way you feel, change the way you interact with others and change the person you are today to become a better person tomorrow.
I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be who I am today without the experiences I had while I travelled. Even now, having lived in the Czech Republic for only three months so far, has changed my view on a lot of things already. I hope that you also find, and will continue to find, whatever it is that helps you challenge your own boundaries and extend your comfort zone. Try to change your perspective, change your reality, by adding to it something that wasn’t there before and you will find that there is so much more to this life than you ever thought there was.