Most of us are scared of diving into the unknown, of uncertainty, of unfamiliarity, of not knowing what's going to happen. We are scared that things could go wrong, that things will be uncomfortable, and that things might not go as expected.
But throwing yourself into the unknown can be very rewarding. It means that you fully surrender to all expectations that you and others have ever had of yourself. It means that you allow yourself to start anew and feel completely free. You might realize down the track that you are who you are and that you have to go back to the root of your soul, to your innate talents and passion without being held back by dogma, societal norms, your own fears, and external opinions.
Here are the reasons why throwing yourself into the unknown can be the best thing you can do to yourself.
1. You will discover who you truly are
I first went overseas on my own when I was 13. Even though it was on a school trip and even though I was not exactly traveling solo, in my mind, I felt like I was. I remember so vividly how I felt at the time. I really wished I could move there (Sydney) but because I was still underage, that was impossible. I felt so liberated and free to be away from home -- to have the complete freedom over my own actions, thoughts, and feelings. I realized that for a young person to complete grow into an adult who feels "whole" from within, one must have the freedom to experience, to explore, to grow, to dream, to try, and to be completely one's self.
You see? Discovering one's self is not such an easy thing to do especially if you're always surrounded by second and third opinions, shaped by your past, inflicted by your fears, and let the feelings of those you love overtake those of your own.
To completely discover who you are, you have to throw yourself into the unknown and get away from the same old environment that might be holding you back. Most of us fall short in this. We grow up doing things we believe are good or people around us think are good. When in fact, what we believe in is just someone's opinion, it's not ours.
This is why the Buddha had to escape from his royal family in order to find path to enlightenment. He did not know what's going to happen. All he knew was that there was a higher calling and it required him to get out of his comfort zone and explored.
But why does this matter to us normal beings? Why is it important for us to discover who we truly are and be our true selves? This comes down to the second point.
2. You will learn to make yourself feel "whole."
I believe that in order for one to truly feel happy and satisfied with him/herself from within, one must understand one's self. Understanding one's self is not just about knowing what you do or do not like on the surface level -- it's not just about what you like to eat, what you like to do, what you listen to, or what you like to watch. It's about who you truly are as a person at the core of your soul.
This is the highest form of human's need. To self-actualize is to become whole. To feel content is to feel happy from within. However, a lot of people never really take time to discover who they truly are. They go on the pre-conceived pattern of what everyone else in the society is doing. They jump from one phase of life to another without taking some time off to reflect. They never leave their comfort zone to discover their true self with complete freedom at hands.
Sometimes who you truly are evolves as you grow. You become more patient and calmer as you get older. You become wiser and deeper. You become more intuitive and in touch with yourself. But only when you know who you truly are and act accordingly, you will never experience a deeper joy. You will never feel "whole" and satisfied with yourself.
This is why a lot of people seek happiness from external sources -- outside validation, praises, and materials. They keep seeking and attaining fleeting happiness -- the kind of happiness that does not last.
It's never too late to discover who you truly are. Throw yourself into the unknown and you will be surprised what you discover about yourself.
3. You will always feel excited and anew.
As far as I can remember, I have been throwing myself into the unknown. It was quite scary at first but somehow it got easier and easier as I kept doing it. Every time I feel bored, stuck, or unmoving, I just throw myself into the unknown. When you learn to get used to being excited about not knowing what's going to happen, life seems exciting.
If you're still too scared to jump into the unknown, think about the last time you did something unexpectedly. What was the turnout? How did it make you feel? You felt scared in the beginning but were very glad that you had done it, weren't you? If you can't think of the last time you did something unexpectedly, then maybe you need to go on a random adventure. Go somewhere new. Try something different. Talk to new people. It can give you a total breath of fresh air!
4. You will have no fear.
Throwing yourself into the unknown is scary. You don't know what's going to happen. You have to put yourself out there into the world full of uncertainty. You have to get out of your comfort zone in order to break away from your fear. Over and over you will develop this mental strength where fear doesn't exist anymore because you have gotten used to fighting against your fear.
When I first moved to Australia eight years ago, I decided to become a club promoter so that I could meet new people because I didn't know anyone -- what a silly idea that was! It turned out that it was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. It took me out of my comfort zone. I had to contact different clubs, approached them, and proved to them why they should get this newcomer on board. I then found a way to market myself and the events that I became well-known in a matter of months. That proved to me that I could establish a new identity in a new city. It proved to me that I could achieve anything I set my mind too. All I need to do is to set a goal, think about how I can strategically achieve that goal, and just make it happen.
A few years after that I also decided to participate in L'Oreal Brandstorm, an international marketing competitions open to all business students. If you think about it, I'm not Australian, however, I wanted to compete against all the marketing students in Australia and wanted to win the national award. To be honest, I wasn't sure what's going to come out of it. I told myself I'd win but at the same time I also prepared myself for disappointment at the back of my mind. With such strong teammates, determination, and heart work, we won the national final and I was flown to Paris as an Australian representative!
Don't fear! Believe in yourself and you can achieve anything. Start from small achievements and then slowly move to something bigger and bigger.
5. You will be more intuitive.
Learning to throw yourself into the unknown is all about the intuition. You make decisions based on your feelings and you let your heart lead your life. In the beginning, if you grew up letting your brain lead your life, you might not feel comfortable at first. It may feel foreign to you to use your intuition rather than your brain. But after going through a few disappointments in life, you will find that using your intuition to guide you is the best way to be. You will feel liberated and happier from the inside. Because no matter what decision you end up making, the ones your heart wanted that you didn't end up following are the ones that you will regret the most in life.
6. You will feel a complete sense of freedom.
One thing that comes with following your intuition is feeling free. We are all caged in the set of beliefs we set for ourselves, in our own attitudes, and in our perspective of the world. When we learn to let go of how things should be, when we stop trying to be politically correct, when we stop trying to be right, when we just let things be, we will experience a complete sense of freedom and joy. It's actually very liberating!
You are a victim of the rules you live by.
It takes a lot of work in terms of personal development until you can be at a point where you can experience a peace of mind because your mind is not confined by things that make you think and worry too much. When you learn to understand and accept things as they are, instead of trying to make things "right" because "right" is very subjective, you will feel free because nothing is holding you back mentally and emotionally.
Acceptance is the key to be. To be truly free.
7. You will achieve great things.
Most of us think of failing when we think of throwing ourselves into the unknown -- quitting our job, moving somewhere new, and starting anew. However, life has a way of leading you to where you're supposed to go when you listen to it. One event always leads to another. Although some may seem like a disappointment and sadness at the time, time will prove to you that whatever happened was meant to happen. Time will give you the reason as to why things changed. In order to be able to achieve the most out of life, you need to get into the flow of life. And you can only achieve that when you throw yourself into the unknown and surrender your life's rules to your heart and soul.
If you look at the world's greatest leaders, they have always followed their passion and use their innate talents to become successful. Listen to your heart and follow that. It may take a few years to figure it out. It may take a decade to get to where you want to go as the straight way through might be too risky. However, you just have to start now. Don't feel scared or feel that you're inadequate. You can achieve what you believe you can. Most important of all, you need to have faith in yourself.
Mo is the founder of The Happiness Planner, a planner designed to help you welcome more happiness, positivity, and joy into your life by applying the practices of positive thinking, mindfulness, gratitude, and self-development.
With The Happiness Planner as your sidekick, you can use it as a daily reminder to always put yourself into a positive frame of mind, to be mindful, and to always set exciting goals for the better you.