The problem with comfortable
Do you ever feel like you’ve been going along on auto pilot for a while? Like you’re passing through life rather than living it? That starts to happen when we do the same thing day after day. We fall into patterns, get comfortable and without noticing, our life becomes more routine than anything else.
Years when you learned something new every day
When you were young learning was thrust upon you every day. As you worked towards your career goals you kept pushing into uncharted territories. And then you reached some of your goals and learning new things became less of a priority. Constant striving is exhausting. Everyone needs a break. The problem is when a break turns into a longer break. After an extended period of learning nothing new, the thought of doing it seems tiring. Then it seems daunting and then before you realize what’s happened, learning a new thing starts to feel impossible.
Exercise your learning muscle
When you’re in the learning groove, you’re used to the challenges. The stimulation, the triumph, the frustrations, the excitement of new information and ways of doing things are part of your everyday life. Even during the frustrating parts, learning new things is exhilarating.
Learning new things makes us feel like more than we are. Because we are actually adding to what we are. But when we haven’t done it for a while we forget how great and alive it makes us feel. And when we haven’t done it long enough we become too intimidated to even try. That’s why it’s so important to keep trying new things, to keep learning, no matter how daunted we may feel. “As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”
Why you will never achieve your dreams and aspirations
You’re going along your life thinking about all the reasons you can never achieve your dreams and aspirations. Some of those reason have to do with the past. Things we tried without success. People we wish we’d spoken to, others we wish we had steered clear of. Co-workers who got the promotion we were after, chances not taken.
Some of those reasons have everything to do with the future. I am not qualified for that position, I will never get it and even if I do it will immediately become obvious that I’m not up to the task. I will fail anyway, so why should I try? What if I actually hate this thing I always say I want to try? Better not to disappoint myself by trying.
You can achieve your dreams and aspirations
The fact is, aside from what it can offer as a learning experience, the past does not have any bearing on what you can do. The future on the other hand, is a complete unknown. That’s the great thing about it. What you do today totally impacts your future.
You don’t need a crystal ball to see the future
So many people wish they had a crystal ball to see what the future holds. What they don’t realize is they do have a crystal ball and they’ve had it all along. Same way Dorothy was wearing the shoes that would take her home the whole time she was stuck in Oz. All Dorothy had to do was click her heels three times and wish herself back home. It’s not quite that easy for the rest of us, but we do have the ability to take what we’ve got and work with it to create the future we are after. Every one of us has what we need to succeed inside us. It’s up to us to focus it and prime it and channel it.
You always hear people say, “Don’t be afraid.” Everyone thinks it’s so important to be fearless. Fear gets a pretty bad rap, but the thing is, fear is an important part of the human condition. Fear usually keeps us away from things that might hurt or harm us. Fear is just a reflex that’s trying to keep us safe. Staying safe is good, that kind of fear is good. Then there’s the fear that overcomes you or controls you. That kind of fear – not so good. This quote from Eleanor Roosevelt doesn’t say that you can’t be afraid. Rather it says you have to conquer your fears, everyday.
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt may be one of the most famous First Ladies. She was the longest serving First Lady and was responsible for shaping the role. Her husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States. Eleanor Roosevelt was the first First Lady to hold press conferences or write a syndicated newspaper column.
Something That Scares You
Could you imagine being the First Lady and writing a newspaper column that you knew would be critiqued? Or having to speak on the president’s behalf to reporters and journalists? There’s no doubt that Mrs. Roosevelt was afraid of taking on such a role. But she knew she had to so she overcame her fears.
Fear can keep us safe, but sometimes being safe isn’t what we need. Sometimes we need to take risks. Our risky actions may not work out how we hope, but if they do, they will propel us to new heights. Fear can keep us in our comfort zones, if we let it, but it’s outside of our comfort zones that great things can happen. Being afraid is okay, as long as we don’t let it control us.
Changes to the world, big and small
You see it all the time in movies. The main character believes they are destined for great things. They are positive that there is more to their life than just going to school or getting through the day to day of their job. Sitting in the audience, we know this too. Our hero will invariably end up saving the world.
This kind of story is popular and enduring because is resonates so deeply with the way most of us feel. We too have something unique to contribute to society at large. Although most of us won’t save the world, each of us has the opportunity to do things to change one small part. To redefine our surroundings. To make the experience of life a little better for ourselves and/or others. Inspirational writer and motivational speaker Alan Cohen tells you, if you sense there is more out there, you are right. There is.
Varying degrees of more out there
Depending on your circumstances more out there may be as big as reaching for the top job in the company or as modest as department leader. How much more is not relevant. What is relevant is deciding to pay attention to the inner voice encouraging you on and then striving for it – whatever that is.
Remember who is writing your story
As the main character of your life story, you have to remember, you are both the protagonist and the writer. Having a feeling you could do/be more or hearing a voice inside your head telling you as much will do nothing to move you forward without follow through. This story of yours isn’t going to write itself. So pick up your pen and strive for it!
Many of us wish we were better. Better at our jobs, or better with certain skills. The surprising thing is, most of the time, we actually are better then we think we are. How often have you thought “I can’t do this” before you’ve even tried. How often have you seen a job ad and said “I’m not qualified” and didn’t even bother to applying? How often in your work day have you thought “This will be good enough” so that you could go home? Negativity keeps you from reaching your potential.
Zig Ziglar was a salesman. He worked at a number of different companies as a sales person and eventually became Vice-President at the Automotive Performance company. Throughout his career he wrote numerous books about sales and selling and worked as a motivational speaker. Even after an injury reduced his short-term memory, Zig Ziglar continued to speak publicly and write books until his passing in 2012.
His books include “See You at the Top”, Zig Ziglar’s Secrets to Closing the Sale”, “Over the Top”, and “Success for Dummies”. With a following of millions, he was quoted often. Forbes put together a list of some of his best quotes.
Thinking positively is the first step in unlocking your potential. You are stronger and smarter than you give yourself credit for. Keeping a positive attitude is essential to believing you can do the job ahead of you. If you have a negative attitude you’re unlikely to push yourself harder and further to see where your limit is. Don’t let negativity bring you down. Be positive and use the abilities you have to their fullest potential.
Safety is the killer of exploration
We all like being safe. We all enjoy being comfortable. However safety and comfort aren’t always good things. If you’re currently in a job you don’t mind, even if you don’t like it all that much, you can still take comfort in being safely employed. That comfort and safety might just be keeping you from exploring other opportunities.
If you work and live in a city you know well, your knowledge about that city might hold you back from exploring a new one and checking out other options because your lack of knowledge about the new city scares you.
The shallow end vs. the deep
The shallow end of the pool is a safe place to play and splash around. There’s no worry about keeping your head above water because it is always just above water. The ocean though, is a vast and unexplored wonder full of obstacles and unexplored territory. It can be a little daunting to swim out from the safety of the shallow water into the unknown abyss of the ocean. However, as this quote from Christopher Reeve says, if you want to grow, it’s a choice you’ll have to make sooner or later.
Find yourself by losing yourself
For all of the unknowns in the ocean, one thing is certain: the best way to find yourself and find your own way is to explore. The shallow end is safe because it doesn’t challenge you and it doesn’t offer much opportunity. The possibility of failure is much higher out in the ocean, but so is the chance for great success. The shallow end of the pool is filled with what ifs, while the ocean holds the answers.
Safety and comfort can keep us stagnant, happy in our current role or position when there are greater possibilities out there. So make the choice to leave the shallow end of the pool and swim to the deeper waters out in the ocean.
The sum of many small things coming together to create something great
Some of the greatest things done in the world are often seen as the actions of one person who seized an opportunity. When the news of a great deed spreads, there is usually one person who is the face of it. This can make the rest of us feel like we’re inadequate. It leaves us thinking we could never be like that. Like a person who could accomplish such great things. However, this quote from Vincent Van Gogh shows us that great things are rarely the action of one person, but rather the sum of many small things coming together, creating something great.
Collaboration leads to success
Our society usually celebrates the outcome more than the planning. We tend to ignore all the work and time that was put into a project by many to achieve that outcome. However almost all great things are the product of many people, working together to create something. If you want to set out and do something great, you have to start by realizing you can’t do it alone.
Another great quote on this subject comes from Margaret Mead, she says “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
When you’re sitting behind your desk thinking that there’s no way someone like you could change the world, think about these two quotes. People like you are usually the ones that do change the world; but rarely on their own. Focus on doing the small things as best you can. Work with others who are doing the same. Bring those things together and before you know it, you may have the makings of something great on your hands.