The Discomfort of Success

Rich Habits

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We all have a comfort zone. A comfort zone represents the things we do every day that do not cause stress.

When you stay within your comfort zone, that means you are engaging in activities that you are comfortable doing. And because you are comfortable doing them, you do not feel any stress.

When you do things outside your comfort zone, things that are new and different, like learning a new skill, those new activities create short-term stress, every time you engage in them. Your brain is taxed and pushed to work harder whenever you engage in anything new. This taxing of the brain creates stress and that stress continues until you become better at the new thing you are doing. Once you get good at that new thing, the stress subsides.

The benefit of practicing something new, is that you gain new knowledge or learn a new skill. The cost of this personal growth is the short-term stress you must endure, while learning something new.

The irony about the comfort zone is that if you don’t engage in new things, because you don’t want to feel short-term stress, your comfort zone will never expand. In an effort to avoid this short-term stress, most people stay within their comfort zone and simply refuse to engage in anything new.

The key to expanding your comfort zone is to make a habit of getting comfortable being uncomfortable, or getting accustomed to dealing with short-term stress. This happens to be one of the common denominators of many of the self-made millionaires in my Rich Habits Study – they have conditioned themselves to endure short-term stress.

Now, these self-made millionaires are not masochists, with some fetish to inflict pain on themselves. Rather, they are obsessed with pursuing certain dreams and goals and the pursuit of those dreams and goals forces them to learn new things.

As a consequence of pursuing dreams and goals, self-made millionaires are in constant growth mode. And, according to my research on self-made millionaires, growth is a prerequisite for success.

In order to realize success, you must become a different person. You must grow into the person you need to be before success will visit you.

If you don’t push yourself, if you don’t step outside your comfort zone and learn new things, your comfort zone will never expand and you will not grow as an individual. And if you do not grow, success is impossible.

Tom Corley is an accountant, financial planner and author of “Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life”, Effort-Less Wealth, Change Your Habits Change Your Life, Rich Habits Poor Habits and “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.”