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  • Writer's pictureAndrew G. Cooper

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

I love trying new things, I really do, but sometimes it scares me. This summer, I jumped into two new writing projects. I'm primarily a playwright but I wrote prose fiction (a short story!) for the first time seriously since I was a teenager and I've recently started my first screenplay. I'm so comfortable with dramatic writing, like playwriting and audio plays, and this is so new. I'm very excited about both projects! But it's uncomfortable.

I think everyone should get out of their comfort zone more.

I know this isn't a radically new idea, there's a ton of writing about it, but in case you need it, here's your reminder that as artists and creatives we need to get out of our comfort zones. You can read about 5 Reasons You Need To Get Out of Your Comfort Zone or Six Reasons Why Your Comfort Zone is Holding Back Your Life (and likely hundreds of other articles!) to get the idea behind it. In the famous words of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory: just do it!

In my last big post, I talked about why I aim for 100 rejections in a year. Guess what? Getting rejected is uncomfortable! But it is worth it. Go after things you really want, even if they make you uncomfortable. Especially if they make you uncomfortable.

Here's a small example for performers. Auditions are hard. I think most of us can agree on that. I did a whole blog post about that (15 Things You Should Know When You're Auditioning). It can be uncomfortable. But you can reframe auditions to be a bit more comfortable. As I said in that post, "Remember that the people on the other side of the table want you to succeed." They're hoping beyond hope that you're going to walk into that room and blow them away. Auditions are your chance to perform a one-person show for a small audience! How many times in a week do you get to perform when you're not in a show?

I love the idea that when you're out of your comfort zone, that's where the magic happens. It's a zone of learning. It's where you can see others' perspectives and soar at new heights. Here's a simple thing for you:

Try and do something that scares you every week.

Honestly, it feels great afterwards. I've been trying to do this, especially on my birthday every year. When I was a kid, I loved swimming but I was quite scared of open, deep water. So last year for my birthday I went cliff jumping. This past summer, I went boating and tubing and when I fell off the tube - something that really scared me as a kid - I floated serenely in the water looking up at the great blue sky above me. It was nice to get out of my comfort zone and revisit something from my childhood in a new way.

One more big benefit is that getting out of your comfort zone helps you grow. Where does your artistic voice come from? From your experience. From your background. From who you are. If you're doing the same things all the time, you'll likely create the same art all the time. If you need new inspiration in your creativity, go out and try new things in your life. Go to the record store. Try a new restaurant. Do a different route on your run or walk home from work. Try and make a new friend. And then take that and experiment in your art. Try new things. And remember that it's okay to fail.

So, what are you going to do that makes you uncomfortable this week?


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