Feel the fear and do it anyway is a commonly used phrase when trying to persuade someone to try something new. It may seem like a cliché but taking risks can actually bring great rewards.
A friend of mine has recently returned from volunteering in Asia. Someone who is normally afraid of spiders at home chose to live and work in the middle of the jungle. She slept in a hammock, had to regularly check her sleeping bag for scorpions and lived side-by-side with a whole host of dangerous insects and animals with only 12 other people around her. The task was not only physical but mentally very challenging as well.
I’m pleased to report that she survived, and not only that, she loved it! She wasn’t the only one taking on the new challenge, people from several countries and all walks of life chose to volunteer and work together as part of a team. They went into the unknown, becoming friends with people they would never normally meet back home and putting their all into whatever work was presented to them. The results, my friend says, were remarkable and the experience will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Of course it wasn’t easy to begin with -- we all have pre-determined ideas about people from different cultures, backgrounds and of different ages. But, by opening their minds to these preconceptions and challenging their fears, they found that their peers surprised them and that they themselves were capable of almost anything.
Now I’m not suggesting that everyone needs to trek off to the jungle to challenge themselves but when you take risks and work outside your comfort zone, the possibilities are endless. There are so many options open to you. If you think outside the box and try something new who knows what could happen. So next time the opportunity presents itself, why not volunteer to be part of a project that’s outside of your comfort zone or work with people you wouldn’t normally work with, more than that be open to new perspectives and approaches.
As with all risks mistakes may be made but as every mistake is a learning experience anyway the end result can surely only be positive.