By Esha Aggarwal
Esha Aggarwal was a 2022 Summer Intern at Novelly. Esha is an upcoming senior at Lake Park High School, and wants to pursue a degree in business administration, as well as media, culture, and communications. Over the course of her high school career, she has been the Vice President for her DECA chapter, Fundraiser Lead for the South Asian Student Alliance, and campaigned for various political positions under Youth and Government. She has a lot of experience in social outreach, and is passionate about bringing people together. Some of her other passions include writing, playing the piano, and watching The Office!
Popping The Comfort Bubble: Become Uncomfortable By Applying To Novelly’s SPEAK! Program and Rising Voices Collective
When I was younger, I hated speaking in front of adults or my peers. I had a fear of dogs and an unreasonable fear of heights. I enjoyed playing basketball, but I was too shy to ask the girls and boys on the court if I could shoot hoops with them. Sometimes I wonder…what if I did the rollercoaster, even whilst noting that I was about 100 meters above the ground? What if I communicated about the brilliant young ideas that were accumulating in my brain? What if I took a chance to get to know Sunny, the young Golden Retriever that strolled my neighborhood? What if tried out for the basketball team in Middle School? All these “what ifs” seem to fester into every one of my thought bubbles, and my eyes have now opened. I have made a very impactful realization, one that I now seek to implement everyday in my life. This “essential” realization is simple, yet underrated: popping the comfort bubble is crucial.
I came upon an article when I was researching benefits to being uncomfortable, and a few noted points stuck out to me. First, the article says, you get to grow and discover a sense of self, and become more brave. I noticed this when I tried out for the Chief Justice position in my high school’s Youth and Government chapter. At the time, it was my second year doing the program, and I didn't know much about what it entailed. But, after I gave my CJ speech in front of the entire “Central Illinois” YAG schools, I realized that I really enjoyed public speaking. Without allowing myself to be uncomfortable, I may never have encouraged myself to fight for the position, and I may never have discovered some of my underlying passions that were waiting to come out. With this greater self discovery, I have realized that I want to delve in the mass media and communications field, and my dream job is to one day become a political news anchor.
The second tip highlighted is that we become more productive. Unintentionally, we design different filters in our mind. For more work oriented, control freaks, and organized gurus like myself, a huge filter labeled “Finish This Before It Becomes Overwhelming To Think About” exists. But, regardless of your thinking pattern or personality type, everyone has a filter labeled “Eh, I can wait a little while longer.” The wrath of procrastination, thankfully, has a solution- allow yourself to feel uncomfortable. If you stress the importance of a deadline to yourself, you will find it becomes completed with more urgency. I learned this the hard way when I left my APUSH unit assignment until a couple days before submission, and soon understood more clearly that I had to, regardless of how tired or unwilling I felt, take notes everyday.
The third benefit listed is that feeling uncomfortable can prompt you to become more adaptable. One of the hardest experiences in my life was when my dad suffered from a heart attack when I was in fourth grade. It shook me, and I couldn’t help but feel scared every time I heard a thump in the basement, or the sounds of feet running up the stairs while I was taking a shower. I had a nagging thought in the back of my mind that he might fall again, and I won’t be able to do anything about it. After a few months of recovery, though, I realized that our family worked so strongly together, and we learned from our mistakes to become better, most notably, by implementing healthy eating habits. Instead of my gatorade, chips, and Indian pakoras dominating the household, we stopped buying processed drinks, and started using the air fryer more often. I became closer to my dad, too. Trying so hard to hold on to him and take care of him made me realize how significant of an impact he had in my life.
Now, I am happy to say that with my past “uncomfortable experiences” in life, I am able to have a greater sense of self, become more proactive, as well as more adaptable. I credit my ability to be best friends with a girl I decided to strike up a spontaneous conversation with during recess, having friendly interactions with my tennis coach’s dog, enduring the Six Flags Fright Fest, and getting top 32 in the state of Illinois for badminton to the fact that I put myself out there, and learned that I had it in me all along to reach for the stars.
The simple truth is that I just hadn’t popped my comfort bubble. Instead of digging ourselves up in a little sandbox, we should uncover ourselves to the world, and cherish the sunlight that we had been devoid of. After all, true growth is only apparent when we dare to be uncomfortable.