I like to think that your comfort zone is like a box. You’re shielded behind four walls and these walls protect you from the outside world. It’s an invisible barrier that makes you feel comfortable. Inside these walls, you reject yourself the chances to see what’s outside even when you are provided with the opportunity.
I had been in the walls. Because being inside keeps me from the damage of making a fool of myself, saves me from losing which hurts my pride and ego, it prevents me from venturing further into lessons and experiences in life.
Since Year 6, I’ve always lived behind the wall. I do what I know and can and avoid tasks that I knew would be risky, where success is not always guaranteed. I only do things that I know I’m good at because who likes the taste of failure? In other words, I’m ‘kiasu’.
But as my journey continued through my secondary life, I realised, it’s time for a change. I decided to break down those four walls.
WALL NUMBER ONE: YOU'RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH
I’ve always been the girl in a neat, tight ponytail and my friends would always remember the pink glasses I used to wear. One day, my mum came up to me and said, “Abigail, maybe it’s time you tried contact lenses,”.
I was like “NO, no way.” What stopped me? Maybe it’s because I think I would look different and people wouldn’t like it, maybe it was because it was something new and I felt afraid. But my mum was blessed with the skill of persuasion and I took off my glasses, and I’ve never felt more confident in my life.
I have to admit, I felt more pretty and I have to say feeling good about yourself is important for your confidence. I took a step out of my comfort zone to step further out of my comfort zone.
Wear clothes and try things that make you feel good about yourself, it can be your appearance, an ability, a skill, anything at all. Because when you feel good about yourself, you will automatically be more confident and that confidence is what you need to tell yourself you are good enough, That confidence is what you needed to take another small but life-changing step out of your comfort confinements.
WALL NUMBER TWO: I'LL DO IT NEXT TIME
I’m sure all of you have heard of the term ‘YOLO’ and yes, you only live once. You can live a sheltered life or you could get off your couch and do something productive. When an opportunity presents itself, and it’s something you’ve never tried, I don’t mean do drugs or something okay? I mean like going for student council, trying out for a sports team, taking part in a sports day event, going for MUN, it could be anything.
When the chance is provided and you are still indecisive whether or not to try, let me tell you from personal experience, take it.
Do it for the experience, do it for the lesson, do it for the CV, do it for anything because whatever you think you’re doing for, you’ll end up doing it for yourself.
I’ve also been in moments where I don’t know whether to say yes or no, my heart would beat so quickly, my breath so rapid and my palms so sweaty. One part of my mind is saying do it while the other says “You’ll just make a fool of yourself, besides, there is so much hard work to put into!”
When an opportunity presents itself, just ask yourself one question, “Can I try this again another time?” And when you realise, no, then take the chance, take the risk. And even if you can try it another time, it wouldn’t be the same because that exact moment and that exact you wouldn’t be the same. People change, and when you try it again next time, what you’ll learn from it would be different from what you would have before.
So take every opportunity like it is your only chance because it may be.
WALL NUMBER THREE: I'LL EMBARRASS MYSELF
Many times in the past, where I rejected trying something new, is because I was scared I would humiliate myself. Okay, being a typical teenage girl, we all have this person we fall head-over-heels for, A.K.A, a crush.
I was scared I would embarrass myself in front of him, make myself look stupid and he would forever think I’m this weird, awkward girl. But then I realise, it’s actually not that big of a deal as we think it is.
Even if you do shame yourself, all there is is a few minutes of flushed cheeks, maybe for you a lifetime memory but for other people, it would probably be just a laugh of a moment. You might cringe about it for nights and roll in bed, sleepless as flashbacks flood your mind but that person is probably sound asleep or thinking what’s for lunch.
We often care too much what others think and feel about us to forget what it feels like for ourselves. Other’s opinions influence us so much we forget what we ourselves want.
Don’t let people around you stop you from stepping out of your barriers and ego-protection, it’s hard because people nowadays are so opinionated and judgemental but it is in your own hands not to let it get to you.
And hey, embarrassing moments make great stories right?
WALL NUMBER FOUR: IT TAKES TOO MUCH EFFORT
Many times, I stop myself from trying something new because I knew there were many things to get done. I would have to commit to it and spend many hours in it as if homework and group projects weren’t enough, and besides, I need my rest hours to catch up with k-drama.
I won’t sugarcoat it, taking a step to try something new does take up a lot of time and you really have to commit to it but if you need motivation, think of the end result. If it’s a sport, imagine yourself with the gold medal around your neck, if it’s joining a production, think of the audience’s applause, if it’s a speech, think of the message you could convey and the audience’s cheers.
Don’t let laziness stop you from taking a step because so many things can be achieved, so much change can happen the moment you decide to get things done.
In conclusion, whatever destiny or fate you think you have is a mere deception because the choice is in your hands. Don't be afraid to walk, run, stumble, or fall because at the end, it’s always a promising experience. Get out there and show the world what you are capable of. Don’t hide behind the barriers- break them down and reach for the skies.