The Value of trying New Things
If you have ever observed a baby growing up, you would have seen that every few minutes it tries something new. The same toy is used differently each time. It also uses its speech differently and tries making different sounds. This continuous experimentation leads to the development of essential skills. Sounds that it likes, it chooses to repeat, others are never heard again. Of course, as we grow older and more boring, we learn the proper use of the toys and the sounds that we are capable of making and all this experimentation seems to stop. We get into a comfort zone where everything is familiar, tried and tested and the risk of failing is limited.
However, this is the worst place to be in. Limiting risk is almost always equivalent to limiting fun. This is mainly because the tried and tested activities have a certain number of different outcomes and all of them have happened enough for us to know what to expect. If every movie were full of clichés and tried and tested storylines, wouldn’t they lose their charm?
But when new films bring new ideas, new technologies and new stories, they tend to excite and gain the approval of viewers. Why? Because suspense and discovery is exciting to people. This is the same reason people watch sports, because every storyline is different and no one knows what is going to happen next.
So why, when it comes to other things, do some people tend to shy away from new things? For example, some people refuse to try new types of food because they are scared or unsure about how it is going to taste. This baffles me. How can something like food be scary? I agree that when I ate a fried scorpion in China, it was a little weird at first, but trying food at a restaurant that uses no such “exotic” ingredients should hardly incite fear.
This fear is basically the fear of the unknown and the fear of failure. The argument they would make is that there is no need to experiment and have something go wrong when there are other alternatives you can spend your money on that are tried and tested. But I disagree. This is why –
01) There are an infinite number of things to do in the world and excel in. Finding one that you are capable of becoming the best at has a low probability unless you keep trying new things and increasing that probability.
02) There will never be invention or discovery unless you do new things. Advancement in the world all depends on trying new things. Constantly trying new things and learning from the results is called research.
03) Staying within your comfort zone at all times makes you so comfortable that when faced with a situation where the unknown is your only choice, it will be exponentially more difficult to deal with. Be comfortable with uncomfortable situations.
04) Trying new things gets rid of prejudices and narrow-mindedness. It also helps to understand the people around you. Everyone forms an opinion of everyone and everything that is associated with a new idea or thing even before knowing exactly what it is. These opinions make us choose whether to associate ourselves with the idea or the people representing it. Negativity can develop towards people as a result of these opinions. And sometimes, when one tries it out, these opinions can change and even if they don’t, one will understand why people do what they do. A more complete understanding of the world is possible by trying new things.
Sudeep was born and raised in India, has a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois, and currently works at Yaskawa America as a Product Engineering Co-op.