If you examine the differences between very successful people and mediocre people, you will notice many things. The successful people seem to have more of a sense of purpose in their work, even if they don’t work more hours. There is a higher level of efficiency and skill in their work as well. Many are very philosophical or even spiritual in how they view the world and their career. I was just reading a quote by Steve Jobs about how your heart and intuition know what you truly want. People high on the totem pole really like thinking about things, and understanding how the world works. People up top also like challenging themselves, and that is what this blog is about.
I grew up with many academic types. They always enjoyed challenging themselves, reading, and getting their children to have a well rounded education with academics, sports, music, and other extra-curricular activities. This is all fine and dandy, but there is something missing… Comfort level. To be successful, you need intelligence, drive, organizational skills, people skills, number skills, and more. But, the inability to challenge your comfort level can be a stifling block to any of us, and to all of us.
I know so many people who are set in their ways. They don’t want to budge an inch, or grow in certain ways. They like to challenge themselves, but the challenges are all very similar each time. The intellectual likes to challenge themselves intellectually — every day a difference intellectual exercise. The athlete likes to try to run faster or further every day. But, what these people don’t understand is that they are already very good at what they value — and that is probably NOT where their attention needs to be. You need to pay attention to what you are NOT good at, and nobody likes to pay attention to that.
I love to do things I am horrible at. The reason is that I see the importance, and I also have no attachment to how well I do those things. When I screw up, I laugh and think its funny, while others might lose face and feel bad. Sure I try to master my inabilities, but the result is not what I am after. I am after expanding my mind. When I try new things and pay attention to new things, my mind expands and I learn to think in new and better ways. The more I think about problems, my mind comes up with more and more interesting and sophisticated ways of approaching those problems — generally business problems. By asking the questions, and thinking from a broader point of view, I learn and develop.
But, what about doing things we are not comfortable with. Some people would rather die than do something they are not comfortable with. Others will remain mediocre their entire lives, never expanding themselves, simply because they don’t feel comfortable with the new tasks, or new ways of doing existing tasks that they need to do to succeed.
As a business owner, you need to do new things all the time as we live in a changing world. You need to hire new people, and perhaps hire new types of people. Knowing what to do can be daunting, but critical and necessary. What if you never tried new things in business because you were not sure? There is a learning curve in everything. If you find it fun to try new things, and try to master them, you will find a new happiness in life. It is the attachment to succeeding in everything you do that cripples you, and your attachment to keeping things the same forever that limits you. Don’t limit yourself.
My suggestion is to make a list of things that you are not comfortable with at all. They could be business related or personal. If you are South Indian, the list will be very very long — perhaps you don’t have enough paper for the entire unabridged list. Force yourself to do something you are not comfortable with every day or every week. Also, try doing some new things as well that you are neither comfortable or uncomfortable with. By doing this, when your business requires you to think outside the box or change gears, you will be ready. Comfort level might be the one thing that blocks you from success, so unlock the blockages that start in your mind, and challenge your comfort level. Remember — it is all in how you think!
Some people think outside the box
My comment is to think against the box and break the box