It’s not a comfortable thing for most people, to break new ground. That is why we call it ‘getting out of your comfort zone’. Unless your comfort zone happens to be exploration, the task of challenging social norms and expectations is difficult to achieve.
Why do we talk about comfort zones? Well, we are organic beings, and organic beings function (via evolution) on the basis of preserving some kind of semblance of repeated order. Predictability is the basis for much cultural and social development, and biologically, too, a system can only develop if similar things happen under similar circumstances. So, in your social sphere and in your bodily sphere, you thrive on repeated actions, and become nervous when unusual things happen.
WHY BREAK NEW GROUND
However, there is a place for breaking new ground. Even in the most predictable of herds, there are one or two members who have an increased tendency to explore, or to differ from their peers. Like the crust on a loaf, these people benefit the loaf, but if the whole loaf was that way, it would not really be viable. In plain English, we need pioneers, though we need not all be pioneers.
Major advantages of ground-breakers, through history, have been:
a greater capacity to come up with inventions, such as ways to improve our bodily health, and ways to make living more efficient
a richness of perception in terms of works of art, whether they be working with sight, sound, words, or all three
To break new ground, there are a few characteristics that help:
A firm belief or hope in a new way of doing things
An ability to perform research, and turn it into working models
An ability to work in different media, and to communicate to peers and others
An independent streak, and a freedom from current social norms
Reflect on whether you would like to be a ground breaker, and if so, in what area of your life.
Is there something you feel should exist in the world, but doesn’t yet – an invention or a work of art? What do you want to create that doesn’t exist yet?
Where is my motivation, my hope, my belief?
What are my unique technical abilities, and how can I maximise them?
What media am I happiest working in, and where is my expert network?
Am I prepared to challenge the status quo?
Equally, if none of this appeals to you, then relax and wait. Everyone doesn’t have to be a pioneer.
It can be uncomfortable to break new ground in your life. This is because we are built to preserve the status quo, and not to break it.
However, were it not for pioneers, new inventions, and new art, would not happen. We need people with the motivation to challenge norms, to research diligently and passionately, to communicate what they have found, and not to be afraid of standing out from the herd.
If you have always wanted to contribute something new, what is stopping you? One day, if you want to, I hope you bring something new to yourself and those around you, something that enriches life.