This I Believe

Audrey - Cheboygan, Michigan
Entered on October 24, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Breaking Through Your Own Boundaries

If there’s one major life lesson that I’ve learned, it’s this: in order to make changes in your life, you need to take risks. Without taking chances, nobody would ever see results, and nobody would ever do anything to change the world. Therefore, if you want to make changes in your life, you have to leave your comfort zone.

My first major experience with this concept was during the summer preceding my freshman year of High School. At this point, I was about to begin something that I knew would drastically change my life: marching band. I was very reluctant to join, even though I knew I had no choice. After all, who looks good wearing the ugly orange and black uniforms, complete with a big, unsightly feather? I also felt like I didn’t fit in at school at this time, and thought being known as a “band geek” would only make it worse. During band camp, I walked out onto the field with a strong feeling that I didn’t belong. As I watched all the upperclassmen flawlessly march into formation, I couldn’t help but wonder what I was doing there. Then I was introduced to my senior buddy, who taught me all the basics and introduced me to her friends. After this point, I began to feel better about the whole experience. Later on, I grew to love band. Not only did I make several lasting friendships with other band members, but I actually grew to enjoy marching. It turned out that all my worrying was over nothing, and all I needed to do to discover that was leave my comfort zone.

A couple of years later, band offered me another life-changing opportunity: a trip to Europe. Obviously I jumped at the chance; after all, this was a once-in-a-lifetime oppurtunity. So, over the months foregoing the trip, I was overcome with excitement. However, I was also deathly afraid: not because of the trip itself, but because the plane would be would be flying over the ocean (I had a couple near-drowning incidents during my childhood, so drowning is now one of my worst fears). I knew that this was a very silly thing to be worried about, but the fear consumed me: what if the pilot lost control and we spiraled downward into the ocean? This kept worrying me up until the moment of takeoff. As I apprehensively sat in my seat, shaking, my thoughts slowly traveled elsewhere. I began talking to other passengers, watching movies, and listening to music. Eventually, I forgot that the plane was even over the water. The trip turned out to be one of the greatest experiences of my life. I’m so glad that I didn’t let my irrational fear keep me from that adventure.

So, my friends, take this as an example: leave your comfort zone, and great things may happen.