Blog of Knowledge

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Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone… Isle of Arran Style!

By Ross Bain

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What do you get when you take two motivational speakers, two dedicated teachers, 19 bright and inspirational second years and drop them off on the Isle of Arran? No, it’s not the latest reality TV show on Channel 5; it’s the Tree of Knowledge Arran residential! Four days filled to the brim with awesome outdoor activities, challenging teamwork tasks and, not to forget, inspirational workshops on all things positive psychology and mindset. Bag packed? Check. Breakfast devoured? Check. Fired up? Most definitely checked. To… Arran!

If you’ve never been to Arran the first thing you need to do is open a separate browser on whatever you’re reading this on, book your ferry ticket and accommodation, then come back and finish reading this. Arran is stunning! It was my first time visiting and I was blown away by its beauty. Sweeping hills, planes of forest that seemed to go on for miles and crystal clear water. But it is remote. Trying to find mobile reception was like trying to find a needle in a haystack, there was none. Don’t worry the kids did have Wi-Fi at certain times of the day (we’re not monsters). But having a lack of mobile reception and restriction on Wi-Fi helped everyone disconnect from our lives back home and become fully engaged in the activities that were waiting for us to sink our teeth right into. Speaking of activities…

During the four days, the second years were pushed to their limits as well as to make sure they had as much fun as humanly possible. Come rain or shine (there was mostly rain) we took part in abseiling, canoeing, gorge walking and raft building. These activities forced us to get outside and embrace the elements but also to welcome, with open arms, aside to ourselves we don’t usually get to on a day to day basis.

One particular activity that pushed the second years to their limits the most was the dreaded rope ladder DUN DUN DUUUUUUN! The rope ladder had different colours associated with different heights: red at the top and white at the bottom. The kids had to climb the ladder to their desired colour. Before they went up I got each person to tell me what colour they were going for. There was a range of heights from near the bottom all the way to the top. Everyone went above and beyond what they thought was possible, either accomplishing their set out targets or surpassing them. Awesome!

Our signature Tree of Knowledge workshops were sprinkled between the outdoor activities. Workshops about controlling our emotional intelligence, running your own business and the vital transferable skills needed for life, and the right type of mindset needed for, not just a good life, but a brilliant life.

Unfortunately, the trip had to be cut short due to storm Callum (the least threatening storm name ever). But cramming all of these amazing and inspirational activities and workshops into four days was amazing if you ask me, and you could see the impact!

The four days were all about getting the second years to get out of their comfort zone and into their stretch zone, as we like to call it. We all have a comfort zone, a zone where we feel comfortable, duh! In this zone we could be on our phone; watching TV; chilling in our bedroom; anything really that makes us feel relaxed, happy… all that good stuff.

But if we’re in our comfort zones for too long we end up feeling like we’re driving a Ferrari in first gear; bored and going unbearably slow. Doing things out with our comfort zone and moving into our stretch zone keeps life exciting and makes sure that we’re constantly progressing and improving ourselves.

When we’re in high school we tend to stick to our groups and what we know best. We would sit with the same people every day, go to the same classroom and sit in the same seat and have the same lunch EVERY DAY. And this was the same for these second years. On the first day, they all turned up with their group of friends, with their very own comfort zone.

During the four days, we helped get the second years out of their comfort zones and into their stretch zones by getting them doing things they had never done before and thinking differently. You could see this by the end. People who were shy and kept to their self at the start had made friends by the end and were much more confident. Individuals who didn’t have that positive an outlook on high school finished the trip with a much brighter one.

Moving out of your comfort zone and into your stretch zone can seem scary. The one thing I’ve learned from this experience though, is that living in first gear, just driving by slowly, is a thousand times scarier. So put that Ferrari up a gear and get moving.

Related Content: 

World Values Day 2018 by Speaker and Director Alice Beveridge

Our First Ever Primary Residential 

Going the Extra Mile by Speaker Ross Bain