Going out of your comfort zone

May 4, 2017

If you limit your search for opportunities only in Singapore….then you are likely to impersonate one of too many fishes in a pond that is drying out fast…where every fish frantically fighting for very little food.

But if you widen your job search beyond Singapore to include the whole wide world….don’t be surprised should you find rich hunting grounds.

This is very easy to say…..but it is not easy to do.

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‘At some point when you do everything humanly possible to make things better and right and they remain stubbornly either the same or get worse. Then you had better ask yourself the theoretical question, might it be possible the old formula of success is obsolete?

The way I see it – many set pieces that used to produce success no longer holds true in Singapore…Orchard road is no longer a bustling die die must walk stretch of road..it is very slowly and surely dying. Neither is port services the jewel in the crown of the economy that can reliably guarantee Singapore’s trading primacy regionally forever…already there are very disruptive agendas at work that will eat away at this tried and tested formula….the way we work along with relationship between firms and workers is also going thru unprecedented changes…so is the entire business process and how firms go about producing value.

All these things are there for you to see firsthand for yourself….some of you may have even experienced first hand the brunt of the chastening process of change.

And even if all this is only partially true….as time goes by, all these discruptive changes can only continue to be heightened and sharpened…if that is so…then how is it possible for one to sensibly hold on to the time honoured assumptions about work, life and play….how can all these set pieces that used to feature so reliably remain the same?…that is the paradox of our – we are living in a churning sea of unprecedented change yet we still cling everything to be like the way it used to be. But at the same time some of us seem to be in denial that everything around us is changing….and very often these changes will bring great disruption to our lives.

Hence at some point of considering all the options to improve ones lot in an environment of acute scarcity. We would do well to confront the only logical option – that is to go abroad to work.

But to talk about such a paradigm shift automatically compells us to ask that other inconvenient question – whether we are mentally, physically and spiritually prepared to migrate from the comfort zone to the discomfort as well – and very often we refuse to even consider this option because we fear it so much that most of the time we fashion all sorts of delightful excuses just to stay in the comfort zone.

Is moving from the comfort to discomfort zone easy? Well I would answer that with a rhetorical – why should that transition be easy. It was definitely not easy for me as I pulled it off when I was already vintaged good and I don’t imagine it was easy either for so many who acted on my advise to go out there back then seven years ago…..but since the selection process during those early days was so structured to maximise on success…many who went did not see any other option….we all had to confront our fears the best we could in our respective ways and usually it was done privately and put into action of our plans in a very haphazard way to actively create a better tomorrow with very little in the way of prior experience or intelligence….the only thing we really had was our combined experience gained from playing the game.

But what is pertinent for your learning outcome in this sharing is despite the lack of a clear plan – we migrated to the discomfort zone and soon that domain that used to provoke so much fear and trepidation became some semblance of the place called home….for most of us at least.

Having said all that, what is important to understand is this will always never be easy to pull off…if it were that easy it would just be called the comfort zone revisited or V.2 and not the discomfort zone – so everything about it will always be some what heart wrenching, painful and even slightly intimidating in the very beginning.

To just share with any of you who may be considering this pathway – for me I dealt with my bundle of nerves by simply sitting quietly beside this juggernaut of a thing with bold letters that spelled F-E-A-R….yes to just sit before it quietly like an ant….not even with the intent to seek oneness with it…to just sit next to it stupidly even and simply look at it day in and out….not really judging or even trying to make it bigger than what it actually is already…but to simply be so close to it that you can feel it radiating its death rays…feeling every hemisphere of the pain that goes thru you right down to the depths of the marrow of your bones…to do it all again and again…day in and out.

And the funny thing is when one does just that. And that alone….at some point of reckoning everything will just assume a sensible form and scale that it is….and it will cease to be something scary.

The lesson here is it is only thru deep understanding of a thing for what it is and not others say it is, that enables us to deconstruct fear.*

What I’ve just described is how people actually get stronger…they face the sum of all their fears…set aside the many excuses real and imagine why they refuse to look at it squarely and if they do that long enough. At some point one can punch a hole right thru it and hopefully go to the other side.

But it begins by looking at it squarely head on and not finding excuses to run away from it.

That which once provoked fear can only get smaller only to eventually disappear into something quite undersrandable…because only in the act of doing what one puts off from doing can things actually get better. Only in the doing and not just talking will it acquire the agency of power to be real and not remain just the bravado of talk only. And you can even say only in doing can we past from the realm of theory to reality in materialising a better tomorrow.’

* The brotherhood is not real as in realer than life real….if anything it’s just a motley bunch of gamers who used to play a D&D game that I developed by kicking a ball down a hill and thereafter it just snowballed and got bigger and heavier till it gathered so much momentum that it became unstoppable….that’s the long and short of it.

But just because something has a hobbyist feel about it like toy trains or just a bunch of guys getting together during the weekend to talk about ham radio doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the potential to transform itself into something life changing somewhere along the line by acquiring the agency of reality and even power….it very well can. And in this case it did. As not only was the game engaging at so many levels but to excel in it one simply had to be really good at managing oneself and others..and in this respect it certainly played a very big role in shaping the right attitude to do what we once did. I am sure there is a lesson here…somewhere.

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