July 27, 2019
One of the great temptations in life that you will ever have is to succumb to your comfort zone.
There is a legitimate reason to have a comfort zone. This is where your salaried work is familiar to you. Your daily schedule is familiar. There is an element of rote performance about what you do. Over time, this will enable you to become proficient at whatever it is that you do. It will not allow you to gain mastery, but you will become proficient. It will put you in a position of being somewhat more immune to getting fired. If a robot eliminates your profession, then you better have a fallback position. But most people will see this coming and will have time to adjust.
To use a Pareto distribution, 80% of your life should be in your comfort zone. This includes your relationships with family and friends.
You had better identify about 20% of your day which is outside your comfort zone. It is this area that will enable you to advance your career, or find and develop a calling, and thereby leave a legacy.
Very few people are systematic about this 20% of their lives. They do not have a plan. They do not stick to a plan if they have one. They do not constantly seek to improve their output. This is where they get trapped. They become dependent upon a salary. They lose confidence in their ability to keep moving up in their career. Even if they are top-flight performers, they become vulnerable to any kind of setback that would disable them in the performance of their routine duties. Every professional who has something comparable to guaranteed income because of his performance had better give careful consideration to events that could compromise his ability to perform.
I think the best way to start is with a time-management system. Block out your day, including family time and commute time. Figure out how much time you have left over, assuming you go to sleep rapidly and need only eight hours of sleep a night. It is probably not healthy to cut back on your sleep time. Anyway, that is what we are being told today.
In my view, commute time is a great killer. If TV is not the killer, then commute time is. You have to convert this time into education. If you drive you can listen to audio books or a podcast. I take the train, so I am able to read during my commute. I have a lot of commuting in my job, but fortunately, I don’t have to drive.
The 20% of your time that is not being devoted to escaping your comfort zone is likely to be wasted. You have to be systematic in the use of this time to advance your career or else advance your calling. This time will tick away if you are not systematic in putting it to productive use.
UP OR OUT
At some point, you are going to have to get out of your comfort zone to launch the next phase of your career. If you want to move up, you have to become proficient at whatever it is that you want to be promoted into. You are going to have to do a good job in your regular job, but you are going to have to become familiar with what it takes to be a success in the next move up.
If you want to move out rather than up, you’re going to have to get online with a blog or a podcast. That will take you out of your comfort zone.
To move out of your comfort zone, you are probably going to have to learn new software. You had better start learning it. You do not have to master a piece of software. However, you should master about 5% of it.
When you’re trying to move up or get another job, there is some piece of software that you had better become at least proficient with, and preferably you should become an expert.
If you have to give up television, then give it up. Television is a time waster for most Americans. You have to give up Facebook. That would not be easy for most people. They stay in contact with their friends.
Jordan Peterson gives similar advice young men who are drifting along in life. It is good information, but it doesn’t do anybody any good who does not act on the advice.
If stay in your comfort zone, you’re going to be in discomfort when an accident or life disrupting event comes like an accident or retirement. It’s going to come.