When was the last time that you took a chance on anything? I’m not talking about buying a lottery ticket. What I’m referring to is taking a chance to explore new opportunities, and to step out of the familiar space that you’ve carved out for yourself in life. This is never an easy task — what is familiar to us is easy and takes hardly any effort. What is familiar is also mostly effortless, like blinking your eyes or breathing.
I’m not making a case against the familiar. There is a sacredness in tradition, and daily routines are the engines that turn our lives with efficiency. What I’m focusing on here is the devotion to a routine that hinders your personal growth and development.
The best way that I can illustrate this is to tell you about a person that was my boss very early on in my career. This person, I’ll call her boss A for this post, had a morning routine that I always found very interesting. She never wavered from it, which surprised me and fascinated me at the same time, because I enjoy trying new things.
Every morning, instead of emailing one another, she and I would have a brief meeting to recap the week and discuss projects and deadlines that I was working on. This meeting always took place in her office, and would commence around 9:30 AM. As I sat down in the chair in front of her desk and began to talk about matters at hand, boss A would nod, take small sips of coffee, and butter both sides of her bagel with a plastic knife. Her coffee and her bagel were always the same: 2 sugars, one creamer, and a plain bagel. They were purchased from the street vendor outside our building that set up his cart there every morning. I regularly visited the same street vendor – his coffee was good, and there was nowhere else in the city to get breakfast for under $2.00 (keep in mind this was the 1990’s).
I often wondered if boss A wavered from her morning breakfast routine, and eventually I worked up the courage to ask her. Her reply was: “No, this has been my breakfast during the week for as long as I can remember.” All these years later, I can still see boss A chatting away while taking her coffee sips and carefully buttering both sides of her plain bagel. Sometimes when I feel that I am getting too entrenched into a routine, I think about her easy, and consistently boring approach to breakfast. Then, I’m inspired to try something new and different.
What I know for sure is that there is pure magic in taking a chance. When you step away from your comfort zone, you will find this magic, and it will enrich your life in countless ways. So, the next time an opportunity comes your way, embrace it. Whether it takes the form of exploring a new career that you’re passionate about, meeting new people, or simply choosing the cinnamon raisin bagel instead the plain one. You’ll be glad you did!