Put yourself out there
Alysa Guffey | Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Everyone is always trying to give you advice — I know — but hear me out on this one. As a self-proclaimed introvert, I know how scary the advice “put yourself out there” can sound. However, at the end of the day, you get out of life what you put in, so let’s unpack.
First, what does “putting yourself out there” mean? The phrase gets thrown around often, typically in the context of dating and relationships, but it can be applied to every other corner of life. Essentially, putting yourself out there means stepping outside of your comfort zone — from relationships to careers to friendships to that side hobby you’ve always wanted to try. The act of stepping outside your comfort zone leads to an increased vulnerability of yourself to the world and that can quite frankly be scary.
A former coach of mine told me that I should do one thing that scared me every day. That was a terrifying thought. Why would I want to do that? Initially, I was skeptical of this advice, if you cannot already tell, but when I started thinking about incorporating it into my everyday life, I realized how many things scared me when I thought about doing them. Most of them were little things — talking to someone new or telling someone a personal detail about myself. I realized I did not like how many things scared me and started pushing myself to commit to doing things I would have not previously thought about doing. One of these being auditioning for a one-act play my senior year — which I and every member of my family were in shock that I did.
One of the best leaps I took was walking into the basement of South Dining Hall last year as a first-year to go to my first Observer news meeting. I had no idea what to expect or what was going on for that matter, but a year later, my college experience has been extraordinarily better because of the step I decided to take. (If you are scared to come join The Observer, don’t be. It’s a great place.) I can’t imagine not making that decision and I had nothing to lose, so why did I have a small ounce of fear before?
This is what always seems to trip me up — why we tend to shy away from going after things that we know could be amazing. From reflecting on reasons I did so earlier in my life, I have come to the conclusion that as humans, we settle. We settle in our own little bubble, where we know how things work and more importantly, we know who we are and how we should act. Think about it: Do you really like that show on Netflix enough to rewatch it four times or is it just a comfortable feeling to watch your all-time favorite television? And when we settle into comfort, we become content with the fear that pops into our heads when we think about reaching outside our bubble. The possibility of regret comes along with that fear. When you think you might regret doing something, imagine how you would feel if you regret not doing it. The thought of putting yourself out there doesn’t have to be coupled with the possibility of failure or bad luck. Even if it does end in failure, it can strengthen your confidence in the future because you know you have been there before and had the courage to go after what you wanted.
With that, I leave you with a quote from Pope Benedict XVI: “The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.” Go for greatness and put yourself out there — your future self will thank you.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.