Get Outside the Comfort Zone

We all have a tendency to get stuck in a rut – to look at the same news sources, read the same writers, look at charts the same way, analyze information from the same biased perspective. It is what it is, it’s human nature. However, if we are aware of this natural tendency we can take thoughtful and concerted action to combat it.

When I began pondering this topic last week I kept drawing an analogy to people’s gym habits. If you go to the same gym long enough you will notice three main types of people:

#1. Those who really don’t want to be there but go because they know that they should because it’s good for them – you can quickly deduce that they don’t want to be there by their body language, the low intensity of their workouts, and their generally poor form and “going through the motions” attitude.

#2. Those who enjoy working out as part of a regular daily routine: Their workouts are also routine and they rarely change anything – their results are routine as their body becomes accustomed to the workouts and they rarely shock it with anything new i.e. very little progress, they are satisfied with the status quo or at least aren’t motivated enough to move out of their comfort zone.

#3. Those who are constantly looking to improve and aren’t afraid to try something different even if it means moving outside their comfort zone: These people are highly motivated, they love the process of training and improving – their results speak for themselves.

People in their work environments & daily lives aren’t much different from the 3 types described above. Clearly there will be some days when we can’t always be person #3, however, we should strive to always avoid being #1. Here are some important points which have helped me to achieve success and which I believe will keep you closer to being person #3 rather than person #1:

  • Enjoy the process regardless of what you are doing
  • Don’t be routine – occasionally get outside your comfort zone, attack things from different angles, and embrace new ideas
  • Don’t say “I could do it if I really put my mind to it”….actually put your mind to it and do it!!
  • Think! – I used to study chess with a Russian Grandmaster who spoke broken English. He would often say “You must think!” At first this might seem a bit silly considering that one is always thinking in chess, but he meant to think deeply, to outthink ones opponent, and to think in new ways in order to come up with new ideas.
  • Unplug everything and read for at least two hours per week – In our plugged in world it has become increasingly difficult to leave the matrix for any period of time. However, I believe it is so important to get some time alone with your thoughts and to read (yes, on paper) even if for just two hours each week – this also helps to achieve the fourth bullet
  • Stay hungry, never get comfortable – Steve Jobs said “stay hungry, stay foolish” Arnold Schwarzenegger said “Always stay hungry” – these two quotes have more in common than one might realize at first blush. The point is to not allow oneself to become too comfortable in anything because comfort ultimately has a tendency to lead to complacency. 

The information in this blog post represents my own opinions and does not contain a recommendation for any particular security or investment. I or my affiliates may hold positions or other interests in securities mentioned in the Blog, please see my Disclaimer page for my full disclaimer.

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