Can you remember the time when you first did something really well? You have struggled, fought, bled (figuratively), and finally achieved that award, reward, certification, mastery, or skill you have worked so hard for. Suddenly, you find it easy to do it. A feeling you simply did not have before.
Perhaps, it was a job you sought after for some time, a lifestyle you longed for, being married, having children, living in luxury, or simply having the type of life you have dreamt of, earning the income you wanted, having the physical health you desired. You finally achieved it. Life seemed great. You are living in the groove.
Usually, one of two things may happen. The first is that you get comfortable. You get so comfortable with the state you are in. It feels really great so why rock the boat? You get comfortable with the amount of joy you receive, the amount of money earned, the level of contribution you give, and the rewards your efforts have brought. And because of that, you relax. You ‘enjoy’ the fruits of labour and why shouldn’t you? You have worked extremely hard, busted your ass, and fought fiercely for what you are enjoying now. You deserved it.
The problem with this is that you may have forgotten what you had to do to get there in the first place. You were pushing and grinding daily. The amount of effort and value you have invested has reflected in the value you received. When you stop putting in that amount of effort, over time the value will diminish. Let’s pretend you wanted to build your biceps. You went to the gym (or at home) and lifted weights. Over time, due to your persistence, your biceps grew until they are exactly how you wanted them. If you stopped lifting those weights as you have gotten what you want, what do you think will happen? Will those biceps stay as you have invested so much effort into building them? Surely they will not disappear, after all, you have invested so much into building them. It would be rude to leave! But we both know that unless you keep pumping those iron, they will begin to atrophy and disappear.
Let’s use relationships for the next example. Do you remember when you first started dating your partner? How exciting it was? How much effort was being put in before you met him or her? After some time, when you had gotten ‘comfortable’, do you (or they) still put in the same effort? Do you still feel the same?
What about your job (if you are employed)? When you first got the job, did you push as hard as you could to learn and excel? Were you humble and listen as well as you could to understand the job and culture and what was expected of you? After you got ‘comfortable’ (some take years, some take months!), was your cup still empty? Have you remained humble and grateful or did you feel more ‘entitled’ and not put in your 100% as it was now much easier to do your job?
Flipping it around, if you are in the position of hiring when you first hired, you probably invested a lot in choosing the right candidate, provided the right training, and making sure that the person you hired is made as at home as possible. After that person has been in your employment for some time, are you still as enthusiastic as before in him or her? Do you still pay as much attention to their growth and progress in your company? Or did you get too comfortable and took them for granted, feeling ‘entitled’ to their loyalty and hard work?
What about your customers? Can you remember how much money and energy was spent on marketing to attract your customer? When they first come in, did you woo and impress them allowing them to feel they have made the right choice? Did you give that ‘extra’ to make them feel welcome and amazing? Did you show your gratitude quite obviously and freely then? What about after they have been customers or clients for some time? Do you still show the same level of care? Or have you placed them in the ‘regulars’ category and allow them to become just another number (one of the most common reasons why people leave to do business with competitors)?
The second thing that may happen is that you do not stay ‘comfortable’. Once you recognize that you are in the groove and everything is appearing to be happening effortlessly, you get yourself ‘uncomfortable’. This does not mean you should not enjoy yourself and your fruits of labour, whether it is an amazing relationship, the body you have desired, the number of customers you have, the dream job you have received. You should as you deserve it. It is simply referring to raising your standards.
You know that being comfortable is the enemy of growth. You raise your standards, you up the ante and you challenge yourself to more. You realize that before long, the groove will deepen to become a rut. And over time, the rut will deepen to become a grave. You want to get out before that happens. You practice gratitude where you are extremely satisfied with what you have while pursuing more. You do not allow yourself to get comfortable. You understand it is not about not enjoying living in the now. Quite the opposite, you recognize that if you get too comfortable, you will literally only live in the ‘now’ as you know it. The ‘now’ does not change. Imagine if you could improve your ‘now’. You could expand and become more, even an incremental increase is an increase. Growth is simply a basic human need.
Also, you could bring so much more to your life and others around you. The level of contribution in various ways whether it is in a relationship, at work, in your hobbies, or from a wider perspective, to the world will increase as soon as you raise your standards and get out of your groove to do more. Contribution, together with growth, will bring fulfillment to your life.
So, do enjoy your comforts and at the same time, learn to recognize when you are being too comfortable, stay frosty and live the life you truly deserve, one filled with growth and contribution. Imagine what you can bring to the universe when you truly unleash your remarkable unique sovereign self? You are so much more than you think you are.
‘Comfort is the Enemy of Growth’