Our comfort zones can be the greatest enemy to our potential.
How many times have you caught yourself making excuses for not trying new things? You rationalize that you don’t have enough time to read a best-selling book that will save you time (and money) in the long run. “But Paul,” you say, “I just don’t have any time – I’m just too busy.” (Generally, you’ll say this to me right after you’ve told me about how awesome the parties were last weekend.)The other day, I was listening to a friend complain (for the hundredth time) about his crappy job. He said he’s constantly stressed out and feels that he isn’t getting paid what he deserves. So I asked if he’d considered finding a new job. His response? “I haven’t updated my resume since I started here. Besides, by the time I get home from work, I’m too exhausted to think about
Talk about fear of change! All I’m hearing coming out of his mouth are excuses. This guy is so afraid of the unknown that he would rather be miserable every day in a situation that is familiar to him than risk making a change that could possibly lead to career nirvana.
The worst part is that he’s not alone. I bet we all know at least 10 people that are wasting their lives away because they’re too afraid to go after opportunities that could bring them true happiness.
I know what you’re thinking: “Paul, what if I try my hardest and still fail miserably?”
You keep trying, that’s what happens. You go at it from a different angle. You get yourself a goal buddy.
It’s much easier to hold onto what we have now than to risk losing it all by venturing into the unknown. But if you’re clutching your security blanket with one hand, you won’t be able to grasp your full potential.
Here’s what you can do now: Identify one aspect of your life that’s making you unhappy. What are your excuses (ahem, reasons) for staying in that situation? Start looking at these as barriers. Your job is to learn the difference between an artificial barrier and a real one. Here’s an example:
- Artificial Barrier: “I need money to fund my next project. I can’t do anything without money.” (Laugh at yourself for actually letting this hold you back.)
- Real Barrier: “My family is important to me, they’ll never understand that I need to work on my new idea for an extra hour every day.”
If you’ve got a real barrier in your way, start brainstorming ways to overcome it. In the example above, I’d sit down with my family and have a talk. If they know what you’re going to be working on, I doubt they’ll have any trouble giving you an extra hour every day. (Better yet, they may offer to help.)