Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
May 2, 2010 1:12 PM

Getting Uncomfortable

Growing, changing and adapting to anything new is not easy. It's actually a very counter-human activity, which is why we need to push ourselves. Constantly.

It's easy to say, "this isn't for me," or "I simply can't change." It's a big mistake that most people make (and Marketers are just as guilty as the next person). Over the years I've heard people say things like, "I simply don't like to read business books," or "I could never switch over to a Mac because I am too used to working on a PC." Odds are you have been reading the wrong business books (or ones that didn't strike a chord with you), and just because you're used to a PC, it doesn't mean there wouldn't be significant benefits to your productivity to try something new/different. It reeks of ignorance more than anything else.

Self-imposed limitations are one of the main things that will either keep where you are or drag you down.

You'll never meet a successful person who constantly keeps things the way they or someone who doesn't push themselves to try something new and different. We all know that human beings don't like change. Nobody wakes up in the morning hoping that their coffee maker was moved or that their clothes are in a different closet in a different order, but there's a big difference between something being erratic in our lives versus constantly striving to try new and different things that will (probably) make you smarter, more informed and open.

"Getting uncomfortable" is a great personal goal to have.

I bought a MacBook Pro (and it just arrived). While I've used a Mac, I don't really know the Mac. I've been a PC user since the inception of the home computer. I know all of the tricks and tweaks needed to make it perform like a personal symphony orchestra. I have no issues with it. I've worked with every single version of the Windows operating system. In fact, I love it. So no, I'm not switching to a MacBook Pro... I am adding it into my arsenal. I want to get uncomfortable with having to learn something new. To re-think some of the tasks and actions that I can do so naturally, to feel and see what others do in the Mac/Apple cult and just be more well-rounded when it comes to computers and technology. And, between you and I, I'm scared. I don't even know what to do if the MacBook crashes or how to deal with it if I'm presenting and something goes awry, but I'm doing it anyway.

It's not just about the computer.

It's about personal development as well. Like most people my age-ish, I'm also interested in health and nutrition, so I'm eating differently. And, while I'm not getting into the Paleo Diet like my good friend, Julien Smith (co-author of Trust Agents with Chris Brogan and co-host of the Media Hacks Podcast), I am eating in a totally different way (the basic crux of it is that I am no longer eating until I am full, but rather eating until I am no longer hungry. At the same time, I'm just ignoring processed foods, sugars and fried stuff - as much as possible). The personal results have been staggering for me. On the reading front, I am also getting uncomfortable by reading fiction, articles from magazines I'd never normally be interested in, and I'm doing my best to consume books on a Digital Reader only and articles/blogs/online goodness via InstaPaper and on my iPhone. I'm also pushing in other areas of my professional and personal life.

It will make you creative.

New ways of doing things open up many creative doors. You see things differently. It adds a new perspective. It gets you uncomfortable. Then, once it becomes a part of your regular routine, you can bank it and find something else to do that will make you feel uncomfortable. It's a pretty simple and painless process that doesn't event take up that much more time in your day.

Why are most people so afraid to get a little uncomfortable?

If only brands and Marketers would do this more often...

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Mitch Joel

    well you said it best yourself. when we work alone we can change all we want. we get bored and adjust things on a whim. when we work in large teams, change becomes nearly impossible.

    this is why personally branded individuals will rule the future.

    Reply
  • Posted by Karen Runtz
    Mitch Joel

    "Getting uncomfortable" is exactly what I'm doing these days. In fact, I've made it the subhead of my blog--"learning and applying social media, out of my job and comfort zone." I never thought I'd be working my brain so hard at 60. Having taken an unplanned early retirement, I first thought about looking for short-term writing assignments--this was something I "could" do. But that didn't motivate me. Part of me didn't want to take up the "heavy lifting" but the other part started to get excited about the possibilities. I decided to forge ahead and apply as I learned, starting with a wordpress blog. I've recently launched my first facebook page for a local non-profit. In five days, I'll be presenting a social media strategy to a business with 25 offices in Canada. It feels strange but wonderful. I just wish the platforms wouldn't change something every day!

    Reply
  • Mitch I'm laughing right now because you totally re-created me.

    I took this rigorous leadership training course last year in Toronto, and since then I've developed this personal motto, 'get comfortable with being uncomfortable'.

    Last week I bought a MacBook for the first time and normally I'd ask my partners for assistance. I chose to do it all on my own. Since then I've had this renewed confidence in my self-sufficiency.

    And to top it all off, I was in the bathroom a few days ago thinking about all the uncomfortable things I'm taking on in my life and I thought, 'what a great blog this could be'. I chose to write about something else, but I'm happy you shared your experience. It shows we're all human.

    Reply
  • Posted by John McLachlan
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch, great post. I would add trying different types if food to the list of things to take us out of our comfort zone. My observation is that if you want to find out how open someone is to change and new ideas, go have a few meals with them.

    Regarding the operating system front, does thiis mean I have to start using a machine running Windows? :-)

    Reply
  • Posted by jodi
    jodi

    lol, I'm not about to get a Mac since I escaped from the cult of Apple, but uncomfortable is good. Can't grow if you remain static. :)

    Reply
  • This post got me thinking about the SAS (British Special ops) motto: "Who dares, wins". And in the current business climate, those words are more appropriate than ever.

    Uncomfortable is the new career strategy.

    Seriously, if you're doing what you were doing 5 years ago and the next gig you're looking at looks like the one you currently have, you're not growing. New experiences are new ways of testing your limits. Karen (above) is an excellent example of someone who pushes her limits.

    On a personal note, I've made the goal of never building a comfort zone in my professional life. It's paid dividends. It's not easy but then swords and axes aren't made in a sewing room.

    And as for Mac and Windows, may I just add that this post was written on a Mint-flavoured Linux laptop. :) Go on...give it a shot...

    Reply
  • Posted by Mars Dorian
    Mitch Joel

    Yeah, It's hard but soooo essential - challenging yourself each and every time.
    ANd it's the only option you got when you want to create something remarkable !!


    BTW, I can't wait to get my first Apple - I have to stick to PC for now ;(

    Reply
  • Posted by Srinivas Rao
    Mitch Joel

    In my experience and many conversations with other people in the area of personal development some of the greatest progress we make in our lives happens just outside of the edges of our comfort zone.

    Reply
  • Posted by Kneale Mann
    Mitch Joel

    I just returned from Sobcon in Chicago working with 150 smart people. I'm so glad they let me sneak in. If you don't feel uncomfortable after that challenging experience, you need to see your doctor.

    Good enough is overrated and change is difficult yet necessary.

    Another great post, Mitch. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    So glad to find another member of the tribe of growing oneself... be careful, it becomes addictive after a while. Or maybe it's always been that way for you, since from the little bit I've read/experienced of you, stepping into the unknown and outside the comfort zone seems to be an essential part of who you are! It's just now expressing itself in your choice of technology and eating habits. Keep us posted on your growing experiences!

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    As I think further about your post, it seems that 'Getting Uncomfortable' - aka personal growth - may be one of your core values and part of your Personal Brand?

    Reply
  • Posted by Jim Crocker
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch - for some great insight on change and discomfort, check out 'Switch' by Chip and Dan Heath - the 'Made to Stick' guys.

    You can download it from Kobo and read it on your iPhone for $9.99!

    Reply
  • Posted by Michele Cox (@mlcfactor)
    Michele Cox (@mlcfactor)

    Uncomfortable is the new black!! I also have both, PC & Mac. Often switching between them. Forcing me to use my "I'm a PC" brain, then my iBrain. That was an iJoke!! By getting my Mac, I learned a new language. Like the universe we need to keep expanding. You do not want to become a dead star!!

    Reply
  • Posted by zubbuz
    Mitch Joel

    hmmmm Getting uncomfortable is exactly what I am doing these days...

    Reply
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