The Uncomfortable Zone: The Way to Growth

Written by Ray Long

I recently finished nursing school for my associate’s degree.

You don’t understand how it feels to have this off my shoulder. After checking my final exam grade, I started relaxing a lot. I went back to the gym to work out. I bought some new video games to play. I went on vacation to a video game convention that I go every year.

When I came back home, I continued on with my relaxation. Then the one-week course of intense studying for my proctoring nursing license exam came up. I was back to waking up early in the morning and leaving late afternoon. The week ended just as it started. I realize I needed to study for nursing license exam and I needed to continue volunteering for a potential job position.

The dwelling thought of having to come back to studying filled me with dread. But I knew I needed to do this. I sometimes think to myself that I was the least smart in my class.

It feels like I ran a marathon and the last mile, I’m struggling to prevent my legs from collapsing. All I needed to do was to stretch my hand past the finish line.

And I did. I made it.

However I can’t relax.

I’m back in school to continue my studies for a bachelors in nursing. I’m taking one class online so I could dedicate time for my license exam. When the class started, I realize this was no joke. I need to do this.

I can’t stay comfortable. In order to make sure I progress, I need to put myself out there.

Not play it safe and just get by.

When I mean being uncomfortable, it doesn’t mean trying to skirt around land mines. It should be a task that is possible and not impossible. It’ll help me at the end, whether I gain or lose.

I practiced martial arts for many years. This relates so much to being put in the uncomfortable zone. This could be learning new complicated moves, sparring against an opponent or just downright pain from my tired body. I had a partner holding pads for me and he was slowly motivating me even though I was fatigued after the first 10 minutes (I mean I did gain some weight during school). As long as I kept breathing and performing the moves, I was progressing, not a lot, but slowly.

Moving into the uncomfortable zone also applies to life too.
We do it on a daily basis to an extent. In high school, I was an awkward introvert who avoided talking. One day, when talking out loud to answer my teacher’s question, I could hear my heart pounding in my ears. In class it looked like I’m sitting calmly on my chair but inside was like going to war and the aftermath of it was calming myself down. In uncomfortable situations, I learn to interact with my peers, especially with my friends. Today I make casual jokes as an icebreaker when meeting someone new and I include everyone into the conversation.

The field of nursing is going to be tough especially when I start working as a new nurse. If I ever do something wrong, I will get yelled at. It will be harsh but I must learn the lesson. Lives are in my hands. There’s much knowledge to be learned. Many patients with conditions I will not be unfamiliar with.

But like a video game, in order to level up, I got to fight the harder enemies to gain the experience points.

One can’t be too comfortable in their position in life or else they’ll never grow or will stagnate. Honestly to me, this feels like what it means to become an adult. I used to live on my own and it was great. A lot of responsibilities that I took on in order to make sure I was being responsible for my well being. Now it feels like that all over again, instead times it a couple more. I’m not getting any younger.

This fine line of growing shouldn’t only apply to my career, my martial arts or school. I also apply it in to my own personal life.

I look down the path and see the dwelling mysterious and hold myself together. I feel sad, excited, and anxious.

It’s like a story of a little child who is scared because they don’t know what they will face. They walk down the mysterious path and the reader wants to know what happens next, but unfortunately that is the end of the story.

The reader closes the book, silently encouraging the child to keep walking.