In Praise of Discomfort; Setting Goals and Striving

· Blog

Earlier this year, we caught up for a social with the charming Andy Ellwood, Director of Business Development for Gowalla, a location-based social media group. For more info about Andy, click here. In these three clips, Andy talks about being comfortable, and how it is the antithesis of excellence. Generally, when we talk about being comfortable, it is meant as a good thing. After all, a good deal of the 20th Century’s best inventions have been aimed at achieving just that. However, if you’ve ever tried getting out of a warm bed at 6am, you’ll know how hard it is to change once you are comfortable, even if that change is necessary or for the best. Striving for your goals requires discomfort. It means that you have to view where you want to be, where you are now, and realistically assess the distance between the two. Andy relates how many of his business peers would start their careers expecting their goals to be handed to them, like a ‘participation prize’ in a children’s running race. Those who didn’t strive, who turned up and took the comfortable route, did not succeed. Once we are comfortable, there is no motivation for anything to change. We become stagnant. It is not even that we are no longer striving for our goals, but we aren’t setting any goals at all. And without goals, nothing will be achieved. For those who can put in the work, and do achieve their goals, there is then the option of resting on their laurels or raising the bar. In the final clip, Andy talks about all of his mentors and the leaders he has known, and suggests that the one common characteristic of all was that they never became comfortable. Every time they achieved their objectives, they immediately set about planning the next big thing, and so set about striving for that. Not everybody has the kind of drive and desire for excellence that is necessary to be perpetually striving. For some, comfort is the ultimate goal. But for others, like Andy Ellwood, the desire to be the best is the be all and end all, and if that means never being comfortable, that will be worth it in the end.

Written by robert · · Blog
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