DO SOMETHING NEW
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | March 2013
We must fight stagnation by reaching beyond comfort zone and doing something challenging.
A challenge free life creates emptiness and flabby muscles. We discover richness reaching beyond comfort and into the dark unknowns. The mirage of safety lulls us into stagnation, running from challenges we fear to tackle. Newness invites the possibility of failure, demanding focus and additional resources, a little more than we comfortably can give. When we venture beyond the ease of security, we have no guarantee of success; we must development new skills, while facing unpredictable challenges, and stare down personal shortcomings.
Many frantically avoid failure by dodging opportunities that require expansion. Their life of limitations avoids anxiety, creating stagnation and decay. Initially avoidance provides security; but the security is a mirage. Missed experiences accumulate, narrowing skills, and expanding vulnerabilities. Exposure from brave ventures—whether we failed or succeeded—builds life skills. Failing to develop job skills limits income, failing to develop social skills limits relationships, and failing to understand emotions leads to misdirected reactions. The skills from expanded expertise become resources to succeed. True security is competence in our strength, creativity, and courage—not from avoiding failure. Sometimes skills surmount a challenge; other times skills aide in recovery after failure.
We will occasionally fail when reaching beyond comfortable patterns. Failure is difficult. It hurts; but failure is part of learning. Pain from past failures resurface, sparking new fears, reminding that we may fail again. We must struggle through the inevitable learning-curve to gain new proficiencies—new expanded comfort zones. We may embark on a new professional skill through study, but secondary characteristics of determination, humility, creativity, and courage also develop with our efforts, even if we fail at the original goal, the secondary characteristics still benefit.
Exchanging relief in the present for long-term growth is simple; but by allowing failure, without viewing it as a catastrophe, we discover challenges exhilarating, demanding full attention. We find security not in predictable success but in our capacity to conquer. Our lives flourish when we engage in tasks and hobbies that challenge skills and intellect without overwhelming. Easy tasks quickly bore while overly complex tasks frustrate.
Feel the exhilaration of new challenges by engaging in activities at the edge of your abilities. The thrill of growth, the sense of meaning, and lifelong growing will follow. Do something new, I double dog dare you!