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Escaping the Comfort Zone

Young Professionals Connection Comfort Zone

Science: systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation. (Dictionary.com)

In keeping with last night’s Zoo Brew event in Greater Des Moines (DSM) at the Blank Park Zoo, I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of science — more specifically: the process of understanding the world around us and how it pertains to our demographic. 

Without a doubt, we were brought up as children with an innate need to explore, discover and question everything that is around us. Yet, as we grow older, it seems that the “unknown” gets scarier and scarier to us. So much so, that instead of opening ourselves up to learning about it, we shut the opportunity down and resort to our comfort zones and what we have always known. At some point, that need to explore, discover and question becomes juvenile and childish as we put more mature issues at the top of our priorities and manage through our day-to-day responsibilities with checklists, schedules and enumerated goals. The question poses itself then: If we consistently resort back to what we’ve always known … how do we ever move forward and evolve?

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

Last night’s event pushed me out of my comfort zone as I was offered the opportunity to learn about, touch and observe one of the Aldabra Tortoises from northern Madagascar. Barnaby — at full extension — would probably sit about shoulder height on me and weighs nearly 500 lbs. He’s 80 years old and full of strength and wisdom. When I first realized that we were going past the fence and into their territory, the thought of a 500 lbs. tortoise smothering and attacking me was very much at the forefront of my mind.  I had two thoughts running through my head at that time:

  1. “What are you doing??  Get out of there!!”
  2. "Oh it’s fine, there are five other people with you … what are the chances that YOU’LL be the first one eaten???”

So at the risk of being the first of five people to be eaten by Barnaby, I entered with (a lot of) caution. My nerves were quickly put to rest as I listened to the fascinating facts and incredible knowledge from our hosts about these amazing creatures. At one point, it dawned on me that Barnaby could actually UNDERSTAND commands and prompts that they were using! At the end of the night, I learned not only how beautiful and intelligent these creatures were, but I also learned to love them as a fellow creature that I share this good Earth with. The point is this: If I didn’t take that risk, stepped out of my comfort zone and trusted those around me, I would never have had the opportunity to learn about and appreciate the Aldabra Tortoises like I do today.

Reaching Our Full Potential

Similarly, we can relate that back to our daily lives. If we don’t take risks, brave unknown territories and strive to learn about new and exciting things, we will never have the opportunity to appreciate each other to our full potentials. It is only by opening ourselves up to the knowledge gained through observation and experimentation of the unknown that we can fully learn to understand and appreciate the world we all call home.  


Thang Chau
YPC Social Chair

Young Professionals Connection (YPC)

The Young Professionals Connection (YPC) promotes an environment that attracts and retains young professionals in Greater Des Moines (DSM). YPC connects young professionals to each other and to the community through social, civic, charitable and professional development endeavors. YPC members have unique opportunities to grow personally and professionally and forge lasting relationships. They engage, connect and form a foundation for their future in DSM. YPC is an initiative of the Greater Des Moines Partnership.