The Benefits of Going Outside Your Media Comfort Zone

Many will proclaim, “I will never watch a cartoon!” or “I will never listen to jazz!” But by limiting themselves, they only narrow their perspectives and miss out on many great stories. It’s easy to stick to genres we are familiar with, but there’s a lot to be gained from taking a chance and stepping out of our comfort zone. 

1. Some stories don’t adapt well.

If you want to wait until the movie comes out instead of reading a book, you might miss out on a lot. Even well-liked movies like the Harry Potter series still had to cut out many great portions from the books. Books are able to spend more time in the world and reveal small details and plot threads that add richness and depth to the story. The movies, while still well-structured and cinematized, can feel rushed by comparison.

2. Artists can do amazing things with different forms.

Watchmen won an award for best novel despite being a graphic novel, thanks to Alan Moore’s masterful use of the comic book format. The layout of each page is simplistic and mostly stays the same so that when the pattern breaks, your eye is immediately drawn to it. 

The use of colors has the same effect, drawing attention to important details and eliciting strong emotional reactions. Many consider comic books to be a lesser form of literature, but stories like this show that there is plenty of creativity to be found in them. By going outside of your comfort zone, you can discover a new favorite song or story.

3. Challenging yourself can boost brainpower.

It’s important to keep your brain sharp in order to keep it healthy. Seeing things from a new perspective is a great way to challenge yourself and build new connections in your brain. It could be seen as an adventure. Even if you don’t discover that you like what you saw, heard, or read, you can still learn something valuable. 

4. It can increase your empathy.

If your friend wants you to check out their favorite book, show, or song, and you give it a fair shot. They’ll really appreciate that you took the time to try to understand something that has a lot of meaning for them.

This can strengthen your relationship and make them more willing to try something you like. Even if you don’t end up seeing eye to eye, it’s still a good way to strengthen your connections.

5. It can broaden your perspective 

As an example, you avoid romance novels because you’re frustrated by the forced romantic subplots in other genres, but reading a good romance shows you that fictional romance has a lot of potential for interesting plots. Or maybe watching a show with a disabled protagonist can give insight into the lives of disabled people.  

You miss out on a lot by only sticking to what you like. Art is one of the greatest methods of communication and expression, so having a broad understanding of it can have a multitudes of benefits.

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