Boundaries are social constructs. They are invisible constructions of our minds and of society that make us feel uncomfortable or scared to step outside the norm. It’s healthy and normal to break these boundaries, and without this, the world wouldn’t be the same as it is today. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and even Lady Gaga wouldn’t have been so successful if they hadn’t shocked people by making decisions untainted by others.
More often than not, stepping out of our comfort zone is a fantastic thing to do, and it might lead you to a success you otherwise wouldn’t have even dreamed of.
I gained the opportunity for an internship in Hong Kong last year – I had never lived there and it was a wildly different culture from what I’m used to, so I was nervous to break out of my then-familiar university life in Melbourne to make the independent venture into Hong Kong for six weeks. Even though I do have a lot of experience with travel and living in different countries (I grew up in an expatriate family), I tend to like to be in control, and leave little room for error in most things I do. I plan and overthink, so I was hesitant about stepping into the largely unknown. I took the opportunity, even though I knew I had little to no support system there and very little knowledge about what I was doing and where I was going.
My major obstacle during my six-week stay in the centre of Hong Kong was being surrounded by absurd numbers of people, but still feeling lonely. After the first week or so, I started to feel homesick when I returned to my apartment from work. I’ve never really experienced homesickness before, or if I have, it was a long time ago – travelling and being away from my friends, family, and usual surroundings are things that feel natural to me, and I love a sense of adventure. So this kind of loneliness was something that I had to deal with and overcome so that I could continue functioning normally every day. It felt like a marathon – an emotional marathon where, yes, I was learning every day and loved what I was doing, but where my strengths and weaknesses were tested and stretched.
It turned out to be the best experience of my life – I learned an immeasurable amount about Hong Kong, its culture, my field of work, and, perhaps most importantly, about myself. It increased my confidence so much that I knew whatever life threw at me next, I could handle it because I had this amazing experience under my belt.
So I advise you to take that opportunity that you may be hesitant in taking. Apply for that job, talk to the stranger next to you, walk a different way to work. Often it’s the little things you do, the chances you take, that can change your views and your life into something more beneficial and enjoyable. The fear of failure is minute compared to the feeling of pride and success after you have stepped outside your comfort zone and realised your potential.
Image Attribution – Pixabay: Unsplash