Moving out of your comfort zone

Snail climbing up the stem of a plant

What’s that?” asked the little child pointing to a huge shell on the ground.

“It’s a shell with a snail inside it.” I explained. We both looked at it awhile, and slowly I saw the snail’s head coming out and two beady eyes looking at us. Then the snail slowly started its journey across my garden.

“But if it’s not careful, a bird can grab it by the head!” shouted the child fearfully, looking at the sparrows and crows around.

“Yes!” I said, “But if it’s going to be scared of those birds it may never know what’s happening outside, may never find food to eat, and may ultimately die of fear inside its own shell.”

“Looks like it’s taken care of itself quite well!” said the child to me, “Seeing that it’s grown quite big.”

“It’s used to taking risks,” I chuckled, “which has helped it grow.”

We looked at the snail as it slowly glided across the ground. I looked up and saw birds, quite a few of them watching it with interest, and yet the snail, knowing it was being watched, did not stop. Its journey across was to get something more to eat, I guessed, and it seemed used to little dangers, and had also learned how to counter those risks, as I saw a crow, flying dangerously close and in a moment, the head had disappeared inside its shell.

The little child next to me squealed, “The snail has learnt to take care of itself!”

“Yes.” I said thoughtfully, “After having taken a few risks, it’s taught itself to survive.”

I continued looking at the snail slowly going across, and realized how close it was to how I looked at life.

How easy it was to stay sheltered and closeted inside one’s comfort zone throughout one’s life, and never grow.

I watched the little child take a few steps across to where he had seen a rose. I was about to shout for him to be careful of the thorns, when I saw him touching the flower without letting the thorns hurt him. In his little life, he had taken a risk and learnt to handle a problem.

We have to get out of our protective shells more and more, I realized, if we want to grow, and as we do so, learning from each encounter, we grow a bit more and learn to handle lurking dangers and predators.

“It waved to me!” shouted the little child, who was near the snail.

“Yes!” I said, “It saw a kindred spirit, one who was willing to take risks!”

“And it waved at you!” cried the child.

“Maybe complementing me on allowing you to take small risks and grow!” I said, as we both laughed at the waving snail, and did we see the rose sile, too?

Robert Clements
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Robert Clements

Robert Clements is a journalist and newspaper columnist. With an estimated 6 million readership, Bob’s Banter is published in over 30 newspapers and magazines in nearly every state in India, as well as in the top newspapers of Bangladesh, Dubai and Pakistan and is also translated into Hindi. He blogs at and can be reached at