EDITORIAL

Good things reside outside your comfort zone

Posted

We develop comfort zones to cope with an outside world we cannot control.

Life, at least on our plane of existence, is a series of random occurrences which occur outside of our choosing. This concept can be scary for most, so confining yourself to a regularized, consistent schedule of predictable behaviors, surroundings and outcomes is exactly what its name assumes: comfortable.

However, there’s something about stepping out of your comfort zone that usually tends to lead to good things.

Perhaps you take a vacation to somewhere distant, despite being someone who is most comfortable with not venturing past the corner store for your groceries, and that trip proceeds to change your life.

Maybe you say, “Why not?” and take a self-defense class, despite being scared of fights. It starts off difficult but you learn to love the release it provides. A couple months later you are able to fend off a would-be attacker due to your new training. Stepping out of your fear-based comfort zone actually saved you from the source of that fear.

Stepping out of your comfort zone can also greatly benefit others, and there’s no better example of that locally than the work done at Mentor RI.

Being a mentor, especially for volunteers who have never engaged in any activity like it before, is an incredibly scary proposition that goes against the very notion of a comfort zone.

You are expected to meet with a child, a total stranger with a long history completely unique to them that you aren’t privy to, and somehow not only make it so they don’t despise your presence, but also ideally make a positive influence in their life.

And yet, you know it is for a good cause, and so you go each week. And you keep going. Eventually you wonder how you ever waited so long to become involved in such a rewarding process. Breaking out of your comfort zone not only earned you a new friend, it showed you something about yourself that is humbling, amazing and elicits an internal pride that needn’t be shared with anybody; it’s a feeling just for you.

Eight individuals will be stepping way out of their comfort zones exactly one week from today at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet, all to benefit Mentor RI’s wonderful mission to help pair kids with much-needed, benevolent mentors to help give them a guiding presence in their lives.

The event has become a local sensation, and this 12th annual rendition is on target to be the biggest, most profitable event to date. There are 600 people estimated to be coming, and the goal is to breach $100,000, a significant portion of Mentor RI’s operating budget.

The dancing volunteers, and their training partners from The Dancing Feeling in Warwick, will all join together out on the floor for a celebration of breaking down the walls of their individual comfort zones. None of them expected 12 months ago that they would be doing so, and yet here they are, because they know that it’s for a deserving cause.

After all, while mentoring a single student once a week and performing a dance number for hundreds of people with cameras and eyes trained on you under bright lights may seem like a stark difference, in the end it’s all part of the same concept. And that concept resides squarely, outside the comfort zone.

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