Actor (and Oxford College Fellow!) Benedict Cumberbatch sees each acting role as a step out of his comfort zone – “the further you get away from yourself, the more challenging is it. Not to be in your comfort zone is great fun”. In fact, for American author Neale Donald Walsch “life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. We often use the phrase when referring to how we may feel in unfamiliar situations that seem different and alien to what we are used to doing. But what does pushing out of our comfort zone look like and how can breaking through it help us grow?
Although being in our comfort zones is where we feel naturally confident – such as hanging out in our pyjamas at home – sticking to what’s comfortable doesn’t always give us the chance to develop important life skills and experiences.
Discovering new places
Exploring a new place such as Oxford is a fantastic way to get out of your comfort zone. Whether going to a café you haven’t been to or visiting a new museum, exploring an unfamiliar place is exciting and challenging. As well as developing your independence, it will give you the chance to develop cultural awareness (and some great historical facts to make your friends jealous!)
Meeting new people
Another great way to leave your comfort zone is by meeting new people who have different cultures, countries and life experiences to your own. By communication with people from different cultures, you gain valuable insights and even friends for life. This means if you’re choosing a summer school, you can’t go wrong with a global programme!
Expanding your mind
Finally, challenging and expanding our minds can really enhance our personal growth by challenging us to think outside the box. Psychologist Heidi Halvorson says that we can find opportunities to push our thinking further by developing a ‘get better’ mind set and focussing on our own development. By choosing to pursue something academic, you will be intellectually stretched in a way that will push you beyond your school curriculum.
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