Go from Good to Great
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
I recently came across this quote and I think it’s so profound! According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, a comfort zone is a situation in which you feel comfortable. A place where your ability and determination are not being tested. It is a self-imposed boundary a person refuses to push past to get better. A look at value-adding individuals around us easily reveals that to become one requires breaking out of our comfort zone.
The Founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors – Elon Musk is an amazing example of what can be accomplished if we consistently live outside our comfort zone. Born in Pretoria, South Africa, young Musk was a smart kid who was an inquisitive and voracious reader. He once said that he read up every book he could access and started reading the encyclopaedia when there was nothing else to read. There was a time he was so lost in his daydreams about inventions that his parents and doctors ordered a test to check his hearing. At age 10, Musk developed an interest in computers. He taught himself how to program, and when he was 12, sold his first software: a game he created called Blastar. At age 17, Elon left all that he was familiar with and moved to Canada to attend Queen’s University. The move allowed him to avoid mandatory service in the South African army.
Later in 1992, he left Canada to study business and physics at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated with an Undergraduate Degree in Economics and stayed for a second Bachelor’s Degree in Physics. Musk didn’t stop there, he headed to Stanford University in California to pursue a PhD in Energy Physics. However, he dropped out of Stanford after just two days and launched his first company, Zip2 Corporation in 1995.
In 1999, a division of Compaq Computer Corporation bought Zip2 for $307 million in cash and $34 million in stock options. Musk could have bought an island, retired and lived a good life with all the money he just made. But no, he along with his brother founded a new company the same year – X.com. It was an online financial services/payments company which became PayPal the following year through an acquisition. In October 2002, Musk earned his first billion when PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion in stock. Again, he could have stopped here to enjoy his wealth but not Elon Musk.
Few months after, Musk founded his third company, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) with the intention of building spacecraft for commercial space travel. It later became the first private spaceflight company that puts satellites into orbit and delivers cargo to the International Space Station (ISS).
Elon showed no sign of stopping, In 2003, he founded yet another company, Tesla Motors to produce affordable, mass-market electric cars as well as battery products and solar roofs. Today, Elon Musk is worth 36.1 billion USD according to Forbes and still working to revolutionize transportation both on Earth and in Space. He refuses to recognise or stay in a comfort zone.
Actually, our comfort zone keeps us from growth and progress, it conditions us to settle for average and robs us of the best we can attain in life. Today, I would like to help you to push past those boundaries and here are 3 quick action steps that will be very helpful:
- Shake Up Your Life a Bit
You are probably too comfortable where you are. You should ask yourself; “What “good” do I need to give up now to get better?” Yes, if you’re too content with “what is good” you will not push forward towards greatness. Like Elon Musk, you probably need to take a flight away from your familiar territory and launch to the unknown space. When you do this, you’ll discover the beautiful possibilities you could be missing out on because you remain in your comfort zone. To help you, make a list of areas of your life where you are doing well, but have not recently experienced any growth. It may be time to stretch yourself in these areas.
- Face the Fear
Someone said F.E.A.R. is an acronym which means False Evidence Appearing Real. Your fear of the unknown, of failure or shame, usually cages you in your comfort zone and inhibits your progress in life. If you’re finding it difficult to move past your area of comfort, ask yourself what it is you’re most uncomfortable with. Most times, you’ll find out those fears are simply illusions and you’re just anxious about the uncertainties. The thing is, you won’t find out if you don’t face them.
- Equip Yourself
You see, the reason you’re in that place in your life is because of the information you have been exposed to. Information is power. The more you know about the realities and possibilities beyond your space, the more you are willing to venture out and try new things. More than that, acquiring new knowledge and skills enables you to break out from the limitations of your comfort zone. Therefore, read books, research or sign up to attend a training to explore new opportunities beyond your environment. These are the ways you train your mind to break out of your comfort zone.
What opportunities are on the other side of your comfort zone? Make up your mind to seize them. Like an author, Hlovate said, “You’ll never reach perfection because there’s always room for improvement. I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and move from “good and nice” to “great and exceptional!”
Remember, You Have Only One Life to Live, MAKE IT COUNT!