She was a failure. Her marriage ended in divorce. She lost her job. She was a single mother living on unemployment benefits. But, as she told the Harvard graduating class in 2008, there are fringe benefits that come with failure.
She stepped outside the comfort zone expected by society and decided to follow her dream, writing a book in a coffee shop with her baby at her side. With the story of the half-wizard Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling went from failure to great success as a writer.
We all will fail. It’s guaranteed unless we do nothing, attempt nothing — and that is a failure in itself. So graduates of the Class of 2020, do not be afraid of failure. Step outside your comfort zone and follow your dreams.
Others may have expectations for you: Your teachers. Your classmates. Your parents. But follow your dreams even if it means stepping outside the comfort zone established by others, by society.
A comfort zone is the environment in which we feel most comfortable. It is a type of mental conditioning that causes a person to create and operate within mental boundaries. These boundaries create a sense of security.
People hate to step outside their comfort zone because they worry how this may be viewed by others, they are afraid of failure, they are not comfortable with taking risks, and they fear the unknown. This makes it extremely difficult to step outside the boundaries of where we feel safe.
But step outside — you have to if you want to ever reach maximum achievement.
To always remain within your comfort zone means that you cannot grow intellectually or emotionally. You cannot follow your dreams if you do not learn to step outside that zone, whether of your making or that of society. Learn to think for yourself, to think “outside the box.”
Author Mark Twain is attributed as saying it much more eloquently than me: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones that you did do. So throw off the tow line. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.”
Graduates, you have wonderful lives ahead of you. Step outside the comfort zone and live up to the greatness that lies within you.
Congratulations on achieving one milestone along life’s journey. Best wishes and good fortune on your journey ahead. Live up to your expectations.
Step outside the comfort zone and follow your dream.