You Will Grow Based on What You Demand of Yourself

Today's lesson: You will grow based on what you demand of yourself. Today's key action: Write down an area of your life that's falling or has fallen into equilibrium in which you should demand more of yourself. Then go and do whatever might be appropriate to improve

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Episode Show Notes

This is our first LeaderFactor Single Point Lesson. These 10-minute episodes are packed with practical learning on a single topic. These episodes will be published in addition to our regular full-length episodes every Monday.


Today's lesson:
You will grow based on what you demand of yourself.

Key Points:
As humans, it is natural for us to seek comfort and equilibrium, but equilibrium leads to mediocrity. In the end, mediocrity will deny you the opportunity to discover who you really are and who you can become. What's the answer? Demand more of yourself. Don’t wait for your environment to demand more of you because it might not. Embrace discomfort (but not to your panic zone) and recognize that there has never been a time of significant progression that wasn't characterized by discomfort.

Today's key action:
Write down an area of your life that's falling or has fallen into equilibrium in which you should demand more of yourself. Then go and do whatever might be appropriate to improve

Episode Transcript

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0:00:03.1 Producer: Welcome back, Culture by Design listeners, it's Freddie and welcome to a new podcast format from Tim and Junior. This is 10 minutes of practical learning on a single topic. Consider this, your weekly Culture check-in. These episodes will be published in addition to our full-length episodes, every Monday. Listen to these extra segments and let us know what you think by leaving a review or reaching out to us on LinkedIn. Let's dive in.

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0:00:32.9 Junior: Welcome back everyone to Culture by Design. My name is Junior, I'm here with Dr. Tim Clark, for a single point lesson, the most valuable 10 minutes you'll spend in professional development all week. Tim, what's the lesson today? 

0:00:44.5 Tim: Lesson today is, you will grow based on what you demand of yourself, that's the lesson.

0:00:51.2 Junior: Isaiah Berlin said humans tend to seek a state of well-ordered, painless, contented, self-perpetuating equilibrium. Tim, why do you think they do this? 

0:01:00.4 Tim: It's comfortable, right? Biologically, what are we trying to do? We're trying to minimize stress, preserve energy, avoid discomfort and not least, we are trying not to die. So that's what we're doing.

0:01:14.1 Junior: So in some sense, imposing demands on ourselves is counter to biology, we work against what is at least in some sense the natural order or our tendency, and as Berlin said, humans tend to seek painless, equilibrium, but that's really all they'll do, the more I thought about this painless equilibrium is an oxymoron. Equilibrium always ends up being painful, doesn't it? 

0:01:39.2 Tim: It does, yeah. Because the unintended consequences of equilibrium are not good, they're not good especially in the long-term.

0:01:48.0 Junior: Yeah, so let's talk about some of those. What are the consequences of equilibrium? Mediocrity is not harmless. We're saying that equilibrium breeds mediocrity, it's dangerous. As you said, it lulls you to sleep and steals your dreams. I love that. Mediocrity is contagious, isn't it? 

0:02:07.4 Tim: It is. It's a type of gravity. It can be a type of gravity from those around you that's pulling you down too. So think about the consequences of that, and that may be something that you don't necessarily notice at first, but it's very real.

0:02:26.5 Junior: There are a couple of other things that we talked about regarding mediocrity, here they are: Mediocrity loves mediocre company. Mediocrity is an impostor that makes promises it can't keep. Here's what it tells you, that mediocre commitment, mediocre effort and mediocre results are perfectly acceptable. They are acceptable if you have mediocre expectations and your concern with feeding it on pleasure instead of earned achievement. In the end, mediocrity will deny you from discovering who you really are and who you can become. This is the ultimate danger and perhaps what's most pernicious about equilibrium and mediocrity.

0:03:09.0 Tim: Well, that's true Junior, because you're not excavating your potential, you're not digging deep to figure out what you can do, and so you don't know, that's why it becomes dangerous.

0:03:23.4 Junior: There's here's another truism that I was thinking about. "A great life doesn't come about through the passage of time," and I found an Abraham Lincoln quote that I really like "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years," so there's nothing about the passage of time that breeds achievement or success, or purpose or meaning.

0:03:46.7 Tim: That's true. It's what you do with that time. The time is a gift that you have, and then you get to fill that time.

0:03:54.6 Junior: But what do we fill it with? The satisfaction and I think all of us are aiming for comes, in my opinion, more from pursuit, and maybe it's more than an opinion, I think there's a lot to back this up, more from pursuit than from achievement, we find meaning and purpose in pursuit of a big objective, and this is why it ties back to the lesson, if you don't demand of yourself progress and improvement in pursuit of a big objective, it's really unlikely that you'll stumble upon it, you'll stumble upon meaning and purpose, so the question then becomes, what are you demanding of yourself, Are you demanding just a little, or are you demanding much? 

0:04:36.2 Tim: That's true, Junior. So what we're saying is that overall, your achievement, your progress, what you're able to accomplish is a function of what you demand of yourself, it's not accidental, it's not going to happen by chance, it's very much gonna be about deliberately and intentionally demanding of yourself.

0:04:58.7 Junior: So what do we do, if that's the set up, and we're saying that you will grow based on what you demand of yourself. How do you get better at this? Well, the overarching solution is to do just that, demand more of yourself, but another way is to not wait for your environment to demand more of you, because it might not. What do you think about that one Tim? 

0:05:19.0 Tim: That's very true. You can't wait around for the environment... The environment sometimes can be exacting and demanding, but you can't wait for that. Who knows what you're going to get from the outside? So your locus of control has to be internal, and it will come down to over time, over time, all other things being equal, it will come down to you demanding more of yourself.

0:05:44.6 Junior: I think that the environment demands less and less of us over time, or maybe not demands less, but tells us less about how to do what it demands, if you think about school and our experience in education from the time that we're young, most of us have a pretty strict environment, a pretty structured environment that lays out the demands, that lays out the path to complete the demands, and that becomes less true over time, there's more discretion, and if you wanna just stand still, there's not much that's going to move you in most cases. So what do you need to do? If you're not waiting on the environment, you need to set ambitious goals yourself, you need to sit down, point into the distance, look at a few things and say, I want to go and achieve that, and then in order to achieve those ambitious goals, you need to seek continuous learning, and we're putting together an outline for a longer form podcast about learning, and I'm really excited about that one, but there's a big learning gap between wherever we are and what we want to achieve, and that will almost always be true.

0:06:55.1 Junior: Then surround yourself with high achievers. VS Naipaul, I may be butchering that name, won the Nobel Prize for Literature, he reflected on his upbringing in Trinidad with these words, "Small places with simple economies bred small people with simple destinies." This quote hit me, Tim, what do you think about this one? 

0:07:18.0 Tim: Well, it just shows the power of socialization, that it can be a constraint, but it doesn't have to be, and it goes back to what you said, early in life, we are surrounded by a lot of structure and process, but that eventually comes down and we grow in autonomy and discretion, as you said, and so we gotta figure out what we want, and we've gotta figure out what we're going to demand of ourselves, ultimately, that's what it comes down to.

0:07:48.0 Junior: We have three more. Take action, if you don't take action after you set those goals, after you begin learning. You're not going to get very far. Then along the way, you celebrate progress, not success, you don't wait until the achievement of the a goal to celebrate, you celebrate small and you celebrate the small wins along the way, because as we talked about, it's much more about pursuit than it is the achievement of the thing. And lastly, we have embraced discomfort, there are three different zones, your comfort zone, your growth zone, and your panic zone and, we don't wanna push all the way to panic zone, but we do wanna move into the growth zone, we wanna be stretched, and that stretch will be characterized by some discomfort, right? 

0:08:34.1 Tim: That's true. So you're gonna be in a state of disequilibrium, but it's not going to be extreme, because we're not going to go to the panic zone and live there, but we are going to go to the growth zone, and that's still a place of disequilibrium, but we need to be comfortable in that environment. That's really a high performance environment.

0:08:55.1 Junior: So what is your orientation toward discomfort, I think is a question that I would ask for me and for you. Do you run away from it? And do you understand that it's raw material for progress. I can't think of any significant progression in my life ever that wasn't characterized by discomfort, and hopefully we can stay away from that panic zone, but sometimes we'll get pretty close to it, depending on what the environment is asking of us. So here's the call to action. What's the single thing that we would invite you to do to help put this into practice here it is. Write down an area of your life that's falling or fallen into equilibrium in which you should demand more of yourself, then go and do whatever might be appropriate to improve, and if you think about that for more than just a few seconds, it will not be a mystery, so just go pick one and get to work. That's it.

0:09:47.5 Producer: Thank you everyone for your time and attention During today's single-point lesson, we hope that this was 10 minutes well spent. See you next time.

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Show Notes

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Episode Transcript

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

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