Break out of the comfort zone

Published 1:47 pm Tuesday, August 17, 2010

By Erin Spivey

Editor’s Note: Erin Spivey wrote the following essay when she applied for one of two Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce scholarships. The wrong essay was provided to The Tidewater News and published in Wednesday’s issue. The following is Spivey’s essay.

It takes courage to compliment a stranger, and it takes courage to express your opinion in a room filled with unfamiliar people because too much power is given to the interpretations of others.

It happens everywhere — even in Franklin-Southampton.

People naturally fear the unknown and being unaccepted. This has trapped those of Franklin-Southampton in a box, a comfort zone.

In Australia, I learned that this box is built by FEAR, which is actually a False Expectation About Reality.

Some comfort zones may be what prevents people from volunteering in the community, simply helping their neighbor, voting, or even attempting to earn a new degree.

A stronger idea of breaking out of comfort zones could be presented at younger ages in school and promoted throughout education, especially via high school clubs.

For adults, encouragement and leading by example is key.

People who will truly be themselves and not fear others’ views can be a powerful tool in changing a community’s ideals. Sharing the idea of being bolder with people and not being afraid of self-expression can create more open-mindedness and build a more welcoming community.

Boldness has helped me grow as a person. So spreading courage to conquer fear can lead others to grow in the same way, drastically improving the community. We cannot let fear of the unknown and opinions of others stop our ability to express our faith, our ideas and ourselves.

And though everyone has this fear, it is partnered with the boldness to overcome it.

ERIN SPIVEY is one of two recipients of this year’s Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce scholarships. Recipients also must have a minimum 3.0 grade-point average, be involved with community service and leadership activities, and display academic achievement. The chamber can be reached at