Last year, my roommate bought a book that sat unread on our cluttered shelf. It’s one of those self-help books, “Do What Feels Good: Recipes, Remedies and Routines To Treat Your Body Right” by Hannah Bronfman, with a picture on the cover of a gorgeous woman with a wide, toothy smile. Do what feels good. Maybe I should read the book, but it seems to be a strange mantra to promote. I am all for self-care, but I’m sure the author had to do more than “what feels good” to become a successful blogger and entrepreneur. If I did what feels good, I would travel from my bathtub to my bed with Van Morrison playing on repeat and a fully stocked bookshelf. But I don’t want to do that, at least not all the time. I can’t say for sure, but I think there’s more to living than books and bathtubs. I want to grow and fully embrace life in this unfathomably large and complicated world. To do so, I have to resist the temptation of the sweet sounds of Van Morrison and make a conscious decision to do things that may not feel as good. Looking back at my relatively short life experience, it’s clear that the moments in which I grew the most didn’t always generate positive feelings. Some of them felt uncomfortable. Some of them were downright scary. Although uncomfortable, these moments are what make people interesting and lives exciting. Most importantly, embracing the unknown can unleash the potential for personal growth and help us to explore new opportunities. This summer has given me time to step outside my comfort zone. I hopped on a plane to take a summer job in Wyoming, where I didn’t know a single person. I currently live in an old manual transmission car with expired license plates, which I learned to drive four days ago. The most reliable Wi-Fi outside of business hours is in a laundromat with twitchy fluorescent lights. A lot of new things are happening in my life, and I am definitely not on an easy street. But who says an easy street is the best street? What I’ve noticed is that the further I go out of my comfort zone and roll with the punches, the more unexpected opportunities appear. The amount of help I have received in the last two weeks — the strangers who have hopped in my car and taught me how to drive, the supportive workplace I lucked into, the new friends — has directly increased with my willingness to put myself out there. Discomfort has its rewards. Despite how it might seem, I didn’t, and still don’t, always embrace the uncomfortable. As someone who generally dislikes change, I have to remind myself to embrace the new, and to acknowledge that all kinds of experiences, even the difficult ones, can do genuine good in my life. It’s a decision I make every day. Of course, it’s important to recognize the difference between being reckless and trying new things. I’m not telling you to abandon your morals or become a daredevil overnight. Don’t be stupid; be adventurous. Simply pursue the life you want, and do it fearlessly. Not everyone needs to move to Wyoming and live in a car to learn how to live outside their comfort zones. Still, we all probably have something that scares us, gives us a little bit of hesitation, or holds us back. Try doing those things and see what happens. Doing only what feels good may be pleasant, but it’s a known quantity. It won’t change your life. Doing what scares you means throwing yourself into the unknown. It might not change your life either, but it could. That’s the beauty of the unpredictable life beyond the comfort zone. Maddie Finn is a rising junior in the School of Foreign Service. Unsolicited Advice updates online every other week.

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