Drop The Pacifier

The Pacifier

You’re doing it again. Maybe even right now.

Habit and comfort can easily infiltrate your routine, and before you know it you are doing everything but the activities that will help you add value through your work. We seek comfort when we are faced with uncertainty or doubt, fear, or a seemingly challenging barrier. Unfortunately, though it’s biological instinct, comfort is the last thing we should be grasping for.

Our grasp for comfort isn’t always about lounging around or avoiding our responsibilities. Sometimes it comes in the form of mindless web surfing, busywork, or habitual routines that reinforce our sense of certainty and stability. Sometimes these habits can become routines, which become systems, which eventually become ruts. Once we’re in a rut, it can be challenging to identify how we got there and how to get out.

You cannot pursue greatness and comfort at the same time. (click to Tweet)

I’ve spent the last several months finishing up my new book (which is why I’ve not been posting here as much). Throughout the book writing process, I’ve struggled continuously with the Ping (mostly in the form of social media, e-mail, and sidetrack research), and attempted as best I could to stay focused on my objectives, plodding in the direction of my uncertainty, and trying to add as much value as possible each day.

In order to get rid of the obsessive pursuit of comfort, it’s necessary to limit the ways it can crop up. While these small comfort-giving routines may provide temporary relief from the fear of uncertainty, they slowly rob us of a life of contribution. You cannot pursue greatness and comfort at the same time. You may experience comfort along the way, but it cannot be your objective if you want to do great work.

So…out of genuine curiosity…what are your “comfort routines” or pacifiers that you default to when you are facing a challenge? Please share in the comments below.

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  1. Link Creative

    This is a great post. Thanks for writing about this specific topic. I am stepping out on my own working independently and it def gets scary and uncomfortable at times but I believe its going to be worth it as I know I have a lot to offer.

    • Todd Henry

      It’s a continual effort to stay aware of ways little habits and ineffective rituals can creep in. When working solo, structure and self-analysis are your friends.

  2. Paul Godwin

    This is a really great post and for all of us self critics out there, heartening. However, I do find the problem when working alone on projects is the inner critic is in constant battle with the inner comforter.

    • Todd Henry

      Yes – this is true, Paul. I’ve discovered, though, that neither of them are especially effective when I’m trying to do my work. They both are very useful when I’m finished and I need (a) the comfort of a reward or (b) a continued prod to refine my work.


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I'm Todd Henry.

I'm Todd Henry.

I write books, speak internationally on productivity, creativity, leadership, and passion for work, and help people and teams generate brilliant ideas.

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