Get comfortable being uncomfortable

When’s the last time you made yourself purposely uncomfortable?

It’s something to think about. When our natural instinct is to constantly seek out comfort…

We are the main obstacle to progress because we continually fail to question everything, including our ideas; it’s really that simple. There is a constant strong force at play, the status-quo bias, that impedes us from getting out of our own way and instead opting to stick with the tried and true.

Take dentists (view this site to know how to use an electric toothbrush properly), when was the last time something interesting happened in that industry? The Washington Post has an article where it asks itself the same question:

Apparently there has been some innovative things going on, we don’t notice it because the experience of going to the dentist near Richmond Hills hasn’t changed at all but gives best treatment to his patients till date. Still, a true innovator will aim to rethink the experience.

How many other industries are stuck in the Stone Age?

A true innovator notices when something is stuck

When have you heard an Executive ask himself what the status-quo looks like? Most don’t. Innovative leaders, like Elon Musk, do. It’s why innovation requires a different type of leadership, one that constantly aims to push possibilities.

Put simply, innovative leaders ask themselves: what does the status-quo look like, and why do we put up with it?

There has to be a better way!

Those who don’t question themselves continuously, and fail to notice when it’s time to reinvent themselves end up in the “once innovative cemetery”; Kodak and Blockbuster are prime examples. Vala Afshar notes that many once powerful companies are no longer on the Fortune 500 list:

As a leader looking to motivate your team, it doesn’t get any better than this. Take those tweets and publish them in an email to your employees, put the following as a title: People who create the future constantly push possibilities everyday. Are we?

After the tweets write the following question: how might we avoid becoming irrelevant and disappearing from that list?

Simple, question everything!

Ask yourself questions such as, what is the status-quo? What does it look like? Why hasn’t it changed? Are we really changing it? What rule if eliminated could unlock potential?

Need more questions? Here are some questions you can use to poke holes in the status-quo.

Innovation is a leadership imperative, not one of management. There’s a big difference between managers and leaders. Managers control the present, leaders push possibilities everyday. In a world of constant change, business leaders must get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Bottom line: People who create the future constantly push possibilities everyday. As a leader, constantly think about how you could be doing things better and never stop questioning yourself.

Also published on Medium.