Got Stamina?

Woman trying to stretch the metal expanderSomewhere along the line, the idea of “hard work” in order to succeed took a nosedive in favor of finding a way to be as comfortable as possible with the least amount of effort. Where’s the fun in that?

One of the blessings and curses of modern society is that unlike our primitive ancestors, we don’t spend 95% of our energy and effort battling the wild in a focused effort to literally survive for another day. After all, there are few things as motivating as freezing and starving to death to get focused on doing the hard work necessary to make it another day. The great news is that today in the United States, even those with minimal resources can be assured of survival with a high degree of certainty. For the vast majority of us, physical survival at this primitive a level is out of the range of our consciousness.

So what does this have to do with success and hard work? Unfortunately, it has a lot to do with the efforts that we expend to move ahead in our lives. The uncomfortable fact is that the more “comfortable” we are with the ways in which our current needs are met, the less likely we are to expend “uncomfortable” effort in an attempt to move ahead. Once basic needs are met, there can be a dampening of enthusiasm to push ourselves to the “next level” – whatever that means for us individually. Just like it is not unusual for us to flatten out and stall once we reach a goal, it’s also not uncommon to lose momentum once we reach a sustainable level of comfort.

Farrah Gray, a successful businessman and investor started out in the projects of Chicago making painted rocks to sell to his neighbors as doorstops and bookends. Many years and successful entrepreneurial efforts later, Gray was blessed with tremendous success and has been a role model for inner city youth. One of the most inspiring things that Gray was quoted as saying is that “Comfort is the enemy of achievement” which is also the title of his bestselling book. While comfort does ease the mind in terms of survival, it also has a way of killing any passion to push beyond our ordinary efforts to actually make ground breaking achievements in our lives. In order to see radical change and success we simply have to want more.

So maybe we need dreams bigger than the frozen dinner in the microwave. Maybe we already have those dreams but we lack the power, the focus and the stamina to bring them to life. What can we start doing about that totally life sucking problem starting today – this Monday? Here’s what we can do:

Embrace Discomfort: Modern technology has taken all the fun out of the very idea of hard work. Let go of the idea that if it doesn’t feel great, easy and comfortable then you shouldn’t do it. This doesn’t work in building muscles in weight lifting and it doesn’t work in building success in life.

Stop Quitting: Stop giving up the moment an idea you have doesn’t work. Remember that innovation and progress comes as much from successive failures as it does from “light bulb” ideas….and speaking of light bulbs, it took Thomas Edison over a thousand failures to come up with that jewel of an idea. When we turn on a lamp today – all we see is the miracle of light – not the 999 failures. How many of us would have lasted past the first two burnouts?

Get Busy: That big dream that you have chosen is probably not going to happen with the current level of effort that you are spending to stay comfortable. This means you will have to do more, prioritize and refocus your time in this new direction. Once you have a powerful and strong vision, you will begin to notice the totally mind numbing activities that not only waste your time, but that actually make you feel tired and zap your motivation: television, social media, mindless endless texting, internet surfing. These activities are the very opium of STAGNATION.

Build Stamina: Extraordinary lives require extraordinary effort. This drive and hunger towards creating more than simple survival and comfort means tapping into your very core of personal will and determination. The more we raise our expectations of the effort that this will require, the more stamina we will build to take us through the challenges and setback we will face in making our dreams come true.

Make a choice today to dare to be different than you were last year. Hard work, vision and focus will always deliver more in life than the sedative of “comfort.” As Thomas Edison also said “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

Now go break a sweat!

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