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500+ for 50 – day 31: stretch it

Most human beings are hardwired to seek comfort in really everything that they do.  That can be a tricky obstacle in personal growth.  Often we mistakenly set our sights on the relief and stability that we will feel once we are able to successfully navigate the next step of our journey.  We’ve been programmed by the world to desire the cushioned seat of security in life.  And as a result, sometimes our small victories lead to our greatest defeats.  Most people fail because they accept their average successes as the end of the road in their personal development.  It’s not that they don’t desire more, but rather that they’ve found a level of comfort with what they’ve produced, and so in turn they settle for a subpar life. 

One’s internal conversation may sound a little something like this…”Why push for something greater?  Life’s not so bad here.  I can live with what I’ve got.  There’s no need for me to work tirelessly to achieve my dreams.  I’ve contributed more to my development recently than I ever have in my past, so that should stand for something, right?  I might never be able to reach those milestones that I set for myself anyway.  I’m not that skilled or talented…who was I kidding?  This is where I belong.  I’ve done enough to fulfill my obligations.  And that’s all that matters.  It feels good not to carry the burden to follow through with my commitments.  I can’t handle all of the pressure and stress.  I’ll just settle here and relax a bit.  Maybe someday when life slows down I’ll chase my dreams again.”

Have you ever heard a similar dialogue play out in your own head?  I most certainly have.  It can be very difficult to ignore.  As a result of such conversations, I’ve allowed myself to sacrifice my greatest achievements for small victories in comfort time and time again.  I’ve settled for average success when I’ve known in my heart that I’ve wanted more from life.  And that’s had devastating effects on my personal development.  Because ultimately the comfort received from such wins has always been overshadowed by the internal conflict that remains.  It’s no secret that I desire something more meaningful in life.  It will not be my mission to settle.  So why did I allow myself to think this was good enough?  Now I must retrace my steps and begin again.  Why didn’t I just keep going when I had the momentum behind me?

This type of scenario is far too common in the lives of so many.  We start and stop and start and stop time after time, tremendously limiting our progress as a result.  Because with every milestone reached, our past conditioning urges us to settle for the meager comforts offered, and more often than not, we listen.  It’s evident in our personal lives as well as in our professional lives.  Note the salesperson who stops making calls to new prospects when he lands a few nice accounts that start paying him a reasonable commission.  Or the professional athlete whose performance tanks just months after he receives a lucrative contract extension.  It’s everywhere, even within our families.  Take the spouse who lies awake every night in bed feeling the pain of a lifeless marriage, yet makes no further effort to communicate or work towards the growth of his relationship because he doesn’t want to rock the boat.  Comfort may make us miserable, but at the end of the day it’s still comfortable.

What about you, in your life, how have you settled?  What is it that you wish to do that you’ve never had the courage to pursue indefinitely?  When have you settled in your mind when your heart has desired to push forward?  How does that make you feel inside?

We’ve got to be willing to stretch it in this life.  When we reach a milestone, we cannot simply stop and give “average” the nod of approval that it desires.  We need to go beyond what’s comfortable.  When we hit a goal, we need to take the momentum that we receive as a result of our accomplishment and immediately set a higher standard.  It’s not enough to simply say that we took action.  It’s not enough to perfect mediocrity when you want to be great.  Yes, achieving what might have initially been a lofty milestone is great, but there’s no glory in doing it over and over again simply because it’s known territory.  You’ve got to venture out into uncharted waters if you’re going to ever explore the true depth of your ability.

So when you land that new account, make another phone call anyway.  When you successfully run a 5K, start preparing for your first 10K.  When you knock a couple out of the park, get back in the cage and hit a hundred more balls after the game.  Don’t settle.  Let your success ignite a greater desire within you to reach your true destination.  Because I can assure you, it’s always going to be one step further than you thought you could ever go.  There are no limits.

May God Bless!

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