Friday, October 24, 2008

New Experiences: Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

I’ve written before about having an open mind (and recommended the book MINDSET by Carol Dweck). As it’s such an important topic, I wanted to revisit it again.

Most of us probably have a standard response to things we don’t want to do – NO (if we can get away without doing those things). Yet if you’re in high school, college or your first job – you might want to consider saying yes to things you don’t want to do because of what you may learn or who you may get to meet.

A long time ago my husband and I were asked to take with us to Israel two very bulky sweaters Israelis visiting the U.S. hadn’t been able to take back with them. At the time my inclination was to say no, but I was prevailed upon to say yes as we were taking half-empty suitcases so we could bring gifts home.

The irony is that neither my husband nor I had relatives or friends in Israel at that time. We delivered the sweaters to the head of Israel radio and his wife, and suddenly we had the opportunity to meet real Israelis! A totally unexpected outcome of taking two bulky sweaters in our suitcases.

If a teacher, mentor or boss asks you to help out with a project that at first sounds boring, do not automatically say no. First, get more information about the project. Second, take a few minutes to think about how you might learn something new or meet some interesting people if you do this project. And then, with an open mind, if at all possible say yes.

Being open to new experiences is a wonderful character trait that can lead you to all kinds of interesting things. Of course, we’re talking about LEGAL projects. While you might learn from an illegal activity, this is not something you want to say yes to.

Use good judgment about saying yes to new things – and do say yes when it is appropriate to do so.

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