5 Ways to Handle the Dilemma of ”Trying new things” vs. ”Just be yourself”

Steve Jobs once said, ”Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life”. That was powerful and then made you start thinking ”Right on, I will do only what I want to do because that is me and my path.”

You are doing just good while your friends are telling you ”That’s right, just be yourself” or ”Do not do it if it is not ’you’” or ”Yes, let’s stop trying to be people we are not”. But then one day some (other) friends or it could be your boss say ”Common, get out of your comfort zone” or ”Let’s be open-minded and try doing some new stuff you old!” If it is an obvious choice that this new stuff is the greatest good for us, it might not be so confusing. However, sometimes this trying new thing can be complicated unless you are a super smart and strategic person who knows what to do and how to make the best decision all the time. In that case, this might not be a question. But for the rest of us, people under the normal curve, isn’t there a small noise telling that ‘I don’t want to try that because it’s not me’? But then you might question yourself next who is ‘me’anyway? Is this ’me’ thing holding you back? Yes, I think it is a kind of dilemma we should sit down and set some guidelines for our life. To be able to navigate life more peacefully, I concluded 5 ways to handle when this dilemma comes up.

1. Let’s do it if this new thing could improve your quality of life. There are a lot of good things we do not want to try. We have our reasons to back them up, it’s too scary, I’m not good at this, I’m not born to be this and the classic…I don’t have time. I know how that feels because I have said all these in my head a thousand times. However, when looking back, if this new thing could lift your life in the long term well it is worth the effort and time sacrifice. For example, learning how to drive. I know so many people who can afford a car but do not want to drive. Even after they have taken classes, still never drive, and all of them have good reasons. If you live in a place that public transportation is reliable and available all the time, that is brilliant. Driving might not significantly elevate your life up, pass it…no concern. However, if you live with your old parents who depend on you and where public transportation or taxi is not a number one choice when urgency comes up, isn’t it worth spending time and practice this new skill? Another example is setting up a small business….but I’m not an entrepreneur and my family never was, I’m not good at business stuff….but you need side income for raising your family. In this situation, I think it’s about time to try.

2. Let’s do it if It is an open door to explore your passion. First of all, let’s talk about passion. Ten years ago I thought I don’t know what my passion is, I think many young adults might have that moment. But now that I grow a little bit older, I start to learn that it is just the thing that usually in front of you when you have free time. I love to read and write and I decided this is it. And then I have a dream to write a book…wow this is amazing, right? A chance to be a book writer. I learn from other successes about their journey to become a writer and while it is still amazing there is a lot of this path that I don’t like such as start having a blog, being a public person, promoting, and selling the book. The thing is should we then ignore the dream because to go there you will have to go through what you are ’not comfortable’. In my case, I figure that I wouldn’t reach any dream or anywhere at all. Every career consists of things you love and value and other tasks you would like to just get done. So if this new thing that you have never ever consider doing in your life but is probably moving you a bit closer to your dream, why not just put yourself out there a little and see if it actually hurts. Well if it hurts, you always have a choice to quit so why not try.

3. Let’s do it if it will improve the relationship. Are you in any relationship? I think you know what I’m talking about. When you live your life with someone, this includes parents, friends, partners, etc. you know you cannot just be 100% you. I truly believe a peaceful relationship is all about compromising. Let’s imagine marrying a person who promises you that he/she will never change after marriage. Sound like a romantic speech from a Hollywood movie but listen to this again ”I’m not gonna change”, seriously? Good luck with that. I was that person who thought that I would never change after I got married. Fortunately, I learn that to not change my behavior or attitude and just be myself in a relationship, doesn’t bring me or anyone any happiness in the end. You thought you would be happy because you do only what you ‘like’ but it’s not like that. If someone you love is not happy, how could you? So next time your loved ones ask you to try this new activity or change your way because it would make them happy, let’s just try saying ’Yes’ for the sake of working relationship.

4. Let’s do it for your brain anyway. Yes, a routine is good. I’m the biggest fan of routine. And Isn’t having a great morning routine is the best productivity hack discovering lately? But wait, breaking out of routine sometimes is good too especially for our loving brain. Of course, you heard that trying new things like going to work using a new route is one way to sharpen up your mind. If you are stuck in a logical world of numbers and calculation and planning, how about trying art sometimes. I mean just do not stick there and limit your interest. Your brain needs some brush up from time to time. We need them to be in good shape as long as we still live so once in a while, give them thanks by giving them something new.

5. Let’s do it to prove your assumption. Is this familiar “I’m not gonna do that, it’s totally not my thing”. I once changed it to “this is not my thing but I’m gonna try it once so I can affirmatively say next time that I did it and nope still not my thing”. Going down this road, you might find out oops you were wrong. It might turn out not as bad as you thought. So many times I found myself enjoy something I gave it a try which is great because I just discovered my new hobby or interest. On the other hand, you might be ‘see I knew it, hate this’ which is great too because 1. You get this ‘I am right’ again 2. You know yourself better which part of it that you don’t like the most and which part that actually okay. So it is a win-win to just try it once.

Steve Jobs, while he was a truest to himself person, explored a lot of things and not limiting himself when it came to his imagination and new creation. We can learn this part from him too.

While being ourselves is important, let’s balance it with some courage to explore the world out there. Learning is after all a lifelong journey.

Have a wonderful day!