It’s Thursday morning. You’re alarm went off, you completed your morning routine without thought, and you started work. Whether taking the same route to work or having the same morning meeting, many of us get into habits.
Now, there is nothing wrong with stability, and studies have shown multiple benefits such as increased productivity, a boost in confidence and healthier sleep cycles. In addition, gym-goers often talk about routine, adding to accountability also. However, while there are undisputed positives of a pattern, it can be easy to get stuck in one.
Now think back to that same routine, when did you last break it, and when did you last discover something completely new? Now to those anti-routine adrenaline and experience junkies. I salute you, you have it covered, but for others, it may be hard to recall a time when you really broke the routine in the name of discovery.
A friend and I ask each other the question, what is one interesting thing you have done this week? And believe me, something it’s harder to answer than we would like to admit... Although it has highlighted the ability to cruise through life, with jobs, bills, family and other responsibilities, it’s very easy to do.
Jumping into the unknown and out of your comfort zone also have several benefits. Here are a few to think about that could potentially change your outlook;
This is a big one. If you have a job that requires you to be creative, a solid routine and no new influences can negatively affect your creativity. However, by trying something new, you can expand your creative ability. Research by Dr Robert Epstein has shown that creativity can be trained almost like a muscle, and factors that boost creativity include broadening your experience and knowledge.
By trying new things, our brain is forced to adapt to the situation, therefore, sparking creativity to react to the unique situation. Epstein also goes on to say that by broadening your knowledge, the brain is then able to make connections with the new information that it was unable to do before, resulting in new ways of thinking and new ideas.
Therefore that online baking course you have wanted to try may seem like it’s not worth it as it’s just for fun, but it could spark some ideas in other areas of your life as well. I can’t tell you how many courses I have sat waiting to be purchased in my browser tabs.
Overcome fear of the unknown
Many people don’t try new things due to the fear of not liking it, bad consequences, or lousy time investment. In short, the fear of the unknown.
While this can sometimes be a legitimate concern, often, we can over exaggerate things in our minds. However, if you look positively towards the rewards of trying new things, they can start to outweigh the drawbacks. For example, if you try new food and don’t like it, you have discovered a unique characteristic about yourself that was previously unknown. By trying new things eventually your sense of fear will take a back seat, and your sense of adventure will flourish. Not only that but you will learn a lot more about yourself. So, Gorilla Trapeze school, in Regents park... See you there?
Given the gift of time
I’m not sure about you, but I remember my school years taking forever. Each term felt like a year in itself, and with all the school drama at the end of every year, it felt like an accomplishment to have got through.
As an adult, I seem to blink and lose six months. As mentioned before, adult life can become routine, and therefore days turn into one. With a fixed routine, weeks can pass by without you even noticing, but it’s the unusual and new experiences that stay in our memories.
By discovering new experiences, restaurants or even people, you will remember the event in time more clearly than the weeks of the same thing. Bryan Hong, a graduate student at the Memory and Perception Lab, suggests that “Introducing new events into your routine where possible, whether it’s attempting a new recipe or taking a walk in a neighbourhood you’ve never been to before, can help improve our ability to situate ourselves in time.”
It makes perfect sense that the more you know and the better equipped you are in different situations, the more comfortable and confident you will feel.
Popping to Mexico? Wouldn’t it be a better trip if you could speak the language and find out the hidden hotspots or discover the local highlights? By taking the time to try and learn the language, you could open the door the further possibilities down the road.
By being open to discovering new things in your life, you are also forcing yourself into a lot of unknown situations, and there is no room for shyness there.
As we quickly adapt to our surroundings, the daunting feeling of meeting new people and finding ourselves in new situations will pass, and we will have the confidence that can benefit other areas of your life. Networking nerves no more!
Expand your social circle
And finally, all these new places, activities, and events have other people at them, so meeting new people and growing social circles will come naturally. For example, suppose you have always wanted to go to the theatre but don’t have any friends who share that interest by discovering the local theatre group, you will find people to share that particular interest. After all your friends can’t like everything, you like.
Discovery is about expanding your experiences and finding out about who you are and what you enjoy. While routine and stability are important, seeing the incredible benefits of being open to discovery is crucial. Let’s not blink and lose another six months. Instead, embrace discovery and allow your routine to adapt just a little bit. What will you try?