It’s easy to get caught up and comfortable in our routines. Trying new things or breaking those routines can be scary. What if we don’t like the new thing we try? With if it hurts us? What if it causes problems for us down the road?
Some of those questions are valid. They are our instincts preventing us from doing things that will genuinely cause us harm.
For example, we shouldn’t try drugs because they’re new to us. We shouldn’t spend an afternoon running through traffic because we’ve never experienced it. Some anxiety over trying new things exists to keep us from doing things that might have disastrous results.
However, we shouldn’t be afraid to try new things and take reasonable amounts of risk. We shouldn’t feel extreme fear over trying a new restaurant or starting a new hobby. Below is a list of reasons why you shouldn’t be afraid to try new things.
1. You don’t want to live with regret.
What worries you more: the fear of trying something new or the fear that you’ll regret not trying it? People often talk about having FOMO (fear of missing out) over experiences their peers are having.
If you’re experiencing FOMO, it might be a sign that you should try something new.
When I was in fourth grade, I went to summer camp for the first time. Every year at summer camp, they had a day when you could go ziplining. The zipline was about forty feet up and ran across a long opening. Because you were in a safety harness the whole time, it was perfectly safe.
Every year I would think about how I wanted to try ziplining. After all, all of my friends had done it and loved it. And every year, I’d get afraid and duck out at the last minute. Nearly twenty years later, I still wonder what it would have felt like had I gone ahead and tried the zipline.
When we let fear of trying new things take control, we miss opportunities to experience things. While some opportunities will come around again, some experiences only come around once in a lifetime.
You don’t want to live with regret for not trying things when you had the chance.
“The one who falls and gets up is stronger than the one who never tried. Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying.”
– Roy T. Bennett
2. Trying new things will give you confidence.
You don’t have to be a daredevil to get confidence from trying new things. While trying something daring like ziplining, bungee jumping, or skydiving will certainly give you more confidence, you can also gain confidence by trying less daring new things.
When you try something new and enjoy it, you give yourself the confidence you need to try more new things.
Some new things will be a bust. You won’t like them or you’ll have a bad experience. Even with these things, you gain confidence knowing that you can go through awkward, difficult, or even painful things.
As you try new things, you give yourself confidence about your ability to move outside of your comfort zone.
“In fact, the confidence of the people is worth more than money.”
– Carter G. Woodson
3. You’ll have something to talk about.
Whether your experience is good or bad, trying new things will give you something interesting to talk about.
My grandparents had a farm when I was growing up. I’d often spend weekends and summers with them, so I got to experience all sorts of things I wouldn’t get to try living in the city.
One summer, after the baby goats were a few months old, my grandma had me help her tattoo the goats. To tattoo the goats, ink was placed on a clamp that was then placed around the goat’s ears. The clamp would leave an indentation and the ink would mark the goat, offering a method of identifying goats and their lineage.
I will never do that again if I can help it. My job was to hold the goats while my grandma squeezed the clamp around the baby goat’s ear. The baby goats screamed, bucked, and often sprayed blood from their ears.
When I told my dad about how horrifying it was, he laughed and said my grandma was terrible at it, and always managed to hit blood vessels (leading to the blood spraying).
I’d never do it again, but that experience has given me something interesting to talk about on more than one occasion. It’s a strange life experience and an easy answer to the question, “What’s one thing you’ll never do again?”
Whether the new thing you try is great or terrible, it will give you something to talk about for years to come. If others have a similar experience, it can be something fun to bond over. For others, your story will make you seem more interesting and engaging.
“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.”
– Auguste Rodin
4. Even trying unrelated things can help you land a job.
Having life experience makes you a marketable employee. When you try new things, you give yourself experiences that you can use to gain future success.
My experience helping my grandma with the goats won’t necessarily help me with my everyday work at a corporate job, but my experience can help me demonstrate to an employer that I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty if the job requires it.
In the same way, new experiences can help you land a job. When you’ve tried interesting things, you give interviewers more ways to relate to you. Even something as simple as trying different types of food can give you something casual to talk about in an interview. You may find that the interviewer has had similar experiences.
Shared experiences help bond people. If you regularly try new things, that tells employers that you’re adaptable. Adaptable people are a valuable asset to companies, especially companies interested in being innovative. Your new experience may be the thing that helps you land your dream job.
5. You might discover your new favorite thing.
When you try something new, you may discover your new favorite thing. This may be a favorite food, favorite hobby, or favorite vacation spot. By trying new things, you may discover something you love more than you thought possible.
Growing up, I never tried Indian food. There weren’t any Indian restaurants near me, and I doubt my parents would have tried it even if there were. When I went to college, I had an opportunity to try Indian food for the first time. When I first tasted tikka masala, I was blown away.
It’s hard to believe that my favorite food is something I hadn’t even tried until I was in my twenties! When you don’t try new things, you limit yourself to the things you’ve already experienced.
If you stretch yourself and try new things, you might discover a new favorite food or a new hobby. Until you try it, you’ll never know if your next favorite thing is still out there, waiting to be discovered.
“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.”
– Erol Ozan
6. You meet new people.
When you try new things, you have the opportunity to meet people you might not otherwise meet. If you’re wanting to learn a new skill, you might sign up for a class. To try a daring adventure, you may need to go with a group.
In her memoir Grand, Sara Schaefer writes about her experience white water rafting in the Grand Canyon with her sister. To celebrate a milestone birthday, Sara planned to go on a trip with each of her siblings.
She and her sister weren’t very adventurous, but they decided to try white water rafting down the Grand Canyon. This required long days in a raft, bathing in the river and camping over the course of several days.
Sara and her sister didn’t raft alone. In addition to their guide, they had about a dozen other people on their raft. Over the course of several days, the people on this raft had the opportunity to bond and build relationships. Sara and her sister met people they would not have otherwise met by participating in this great adventure.
Trying new things is a great way to meet new people, especially if you’re in a job where you don’t usually see that many people. If you’re working from home or work in a small office, trying new things can help you meet new friends. For those who are single, trying new things may provide an opportunity to meet a new significant other.
Trying new things offers a great alternative to bars or online dating if you’re trying to meet someone. Whether the new thing is something you love or something you hate, the shared experience can be a great opportunity to start a new friendship or relationship.
“Make your hi story more powerful than your history.”
– Robert J. Braathe
It may be scary to try new things. After all, trying new things always carries some amount of risk. However, you shouldn’t be afraid to try new things. There is so much more to be gained from trying new things than there is to be lost by being unsuccessful at them.
Our fear of change can sometimes give us signals about whether something is dangerous or not. Obviously, I am not advocating that you take unnecessary risks or try things that will be detrimental to your health. After you’ve weighed the pros and cons of trying a new thing, take the leap and do it.