Drawing from experience

Raise your non-dominant hand if you enjoy being uncomfortable. I’ll wait. No one?

I’m with you. My left hand is firmly planted in the down position. I think most of us are creatures of habit—even though we keep hearing how important it is to get out of our comfort zone and even though we witness personal growth when we do so.

I’ve been testing this out recently in small doses by doing continuous line drawings using my non-dominant hand and a permanent marker, and not eliminating “mistakes.”

Initially, I feel awkward holding the marker in my other hand. I fear the hot mess that is about to happen and question why I’m doing this—until I relax into the experience and trust that I will work things out.

I end up with wonky, imperfect drawings that are surprisingly more interesting than the ones created with my “right” hand.

This issue of the magazine includes stories that encourage us to open ourselves to uncomfortable challenges.

In the cover story about Wheaton’s new Fab Academy course, students share how they were challenged by digital fabrication projects each week. In our feature profiles, writer Michael Easter ’09 tells us about his new book The Comfort Crisis, which extols the benefits of pushing personal limits, and Alexis Nieves ’14, a U.S. diplomat in Spain, shares the advice he gave students about adversity when he paid a virtual visit to a Wheaton class in March.

As we return to the parts of life we had to rearrange during the pandemic, many of us likely will be uncomfortable. Getting reacquainted with routines that now seem unfamiliar is not easy.

But here we are.

I hope you find inspiration in these stories to encourage you to intentionally try at least one uncomfortable thing this fall. And, yes, trading in yoga pants for real work pants counts.

Be well.