Written by: Sanjna Basa
“Try the grey stuff, it’s delicious!” But would you really try the grey stuff? Just by hearing “grey stuff”, most of us are put off and decide it sounds too repulsive to be relatively tasty. In real life, it’s not just the “grey stuff”, but also many foods and activities we tend to back away from because we have a fear of disliking it. However, it is extremely important to cross that fence separating us from our little bubble of comfort and step out into the world of the unknown in order to become culturally aware and increase your own confidence.
Overcoming fear is crucial when you want to try something new. Anything we think of doing that we’ve never done before comes with a risk or uncertainty, but this should not discourage you. Let go of your fear of being judged, or let go of any of your judgements. There is always a first time for everything and you will never know if you like it or not if you don’t try it.
Think about the last time you tried something and try to recall whether or not you liked it. Think about your past experiences and how you made them work. What or who supported your decisions? How did these decisions make an impact on you? Asking yourself these questions will help you move out of your comfort zone.
A huge part of gaining new experiences is to focus on the enjoyment and benefits of whatever you are doing. When people enjoy themselves doing something, the more likely they are to keep doing them over the long term. Trying new things also leads to increased confidence and self-esteem because it reduces loneliness and boredom, being a major driver in personal growth. Think of it this way: if you had not learned all of that information and social skills throughout your academic career, would you have really grown as a person?
If you’re trying to crack the boredom cage this summer, you can explore some of these opportunities:
- Learn a new hobby/skill: Maybe you can learn to cook an exciting meal or learn how to drive manual, which definitely insinuates some fear, but think of all the skills you’ll gain.
- Challenge yourself: You can learn a new language or take an academic or non-academic course you’ve always found interesting.
- Involve in the community: Make new friends in the community and engage yourself in the town’s activities or rotary. People often shy away from group activities out of social anxiety, but it is an excellent guide to coming out of your shell.
- Try new foods: This is a huge turn off to many people who like to comfort themselves in their favorite foods. However, trying new foods opens doors to so much cultural appreciation. We’re all connected by our need to survive by consumption, so wouldn’t it be appropriate to indulge ourselves in each others’ cultures?