Intentional Discomfort

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The late Earl Nightingale, the godfather of the self-improvement industry, had a great quote that really resonates with me.

It goes something like this:

When you’re not sure what to do, look at what everyone else is doing — and do the opposite.

If you want to be in the top 5% of your field, it makes no sense to use the rest of the 95% as your reference point.

Here are three simple statistics worth thinking about:

* The average American watches 35 hours of TV per week (or 1,800 hours per year).

* 80% of American families did not buy a book in the past year.

* 99% of Americans do not have a mentor.

Using Nightingale’s logic, the conclusions here are unmistakable:

Watch less TV, read more, and find a mentor. You could hardly go wrong with such a plan to develop your life and career.

I’ve had dozens of mentors in my life and career. In fact, Earl Nightingale was one of them. I never had the privilege of meeting him, as he passed away when I was a child.

One of Earl’s innovations was mentoring others through audio recordings. The entire modern day practice of non-fiction audiobooks, audio recordings, and podcasts can be traced back to Nightingale’s work in the 1950s.

I’m so grateful Nightingale made his wisdom accessible to me and others through his recordings. My life is infinitely better off for it.

What all of my mentors have in common is they challenge my way of thinking, expose me to new ideas, and challenge my status quo.

In short, my mentors have all nudged me out of my comfort zone.

This is where the greatest growth in personal and career skills comes from. This whole idea of never being comfortable is the entire human resources strategy of firms like McKinsey and General Electric.

It has also been the foundation of my own career development path.

The rule of thumb to maximize career growth is simple:

NEVER.

BE.

COMFORTABLE.

I think of a teacher as someone who teaches you what you want to know. A mentor teaches you what he (or she) thinks you should know (even if you don’t realize it yet).

I’ve decided to mentor a group of my readers to help them grow their careers. I will be pushing them to embrace new challenges, presenting them with provocative ideas, and supporting them along the way.

This will include office hours where you can engage in a live video conference with me to get personalized help on your life or career situation.

If this is of interest to you, please complete the form below to be notified when I make the announcement later this year.

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Mentorship with Victor Cheng

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