Spend More Time with This Destructive Person

Time for a damaging admission…

Most people don’t know this, but I harbor a deep, dark secret desire. My clandestine yearning is to get a mind-numbing factory job where I work only 35 hours a week, allowing me to go home at 3 o’clock each day. I’d then play golf and return home to sit in a chair and watch movies and sports all night while eating chips and drinking soda.

That would be security. But it would also kill my soul. I’d spend too much time thinking about a better life. I wouldn’t be happy on the inside.
Staying in your comfort zone and seeking mindless security will never make you happy. That’s the cold harsh truth about the comfort zone mentality.

Even today, with the responsibilities of running both Early to Rise and Turbulence Training, there are still comfort zone traps all around me. There’s a part of me that would choose to not change, to not strive for improvement, to not learn, to not grow, to avoid risk and to cease building. This would, of course, not only lead to stagnation, but also my eventual decline.

Fortunately, there’s a stronger voice inside of me that has sought knowledge and perhaps more importantly, has led me to spend time with those that my mentor, Mark Ford, calls, “comfort destroyers.”

Mark posted the following short passage on his blog.

“There are basically two sorts of people: those who find pleasure in comfort and those who find pleasure in disturbing comfortable notions. You cannot choose which kind of person you are. It is an essential component of individual temperament.”

“I am a comfort-destroyer. And yet I have many friends who are comfort-seekers. But this is common. Relationships are often complementary.”

“Ironically, comfort-destroyers eventually make life more comfortable for comfort-seekers because they lead them to products and practices that make life easier.”

Think about that for a moment.

Make a list of all the people that have had the greatest impact on the positive portions of your life. The great teachers of your past were surely comfort destroyers. Perhaps a mentor at work or sergeant in the army, someone that saw the potential in you and would not give up on you until you recognized it too.

Those are the people you need to spend more time with.

In my life, I’ve found these people through Mastermind groups, at business seminars and amongst my peer group in the fitness industry. I regularly interview those that I respect and come away from each call with the realization that I must up my game.

You might hire a business coach, join our Virtual Mastermind program, attend one of our 1-Day coaching events, or even enter January’s Turbulence Training Fat Loss Tranformation Contest. All of these actions will lead you to people that will challenge the notion of what you are capable of. They will demand more from you. They will destroy your comfort zone.

In the last 18 months Mark Ford has been a comfort-destroyer for me. At first he made my life more difficult by pressing me to improve upon my essay writing. He challenged me to get outside of my comfort zone and away from writing mediocre lists of tips for the ETR audience and instead progress to delivering daily essays of substance on one big lesson – the Power of One that we’ve told you about here.

Ultimately, the greatest destroyer of my comfort has been Matt Smith, ETR’s Publisher. Matt can destroy your smugness and all sense of self-satisfaction with a well timed, “Really?” and an incredulous look after you try to make any worthless excuse. He’ll call your bluff. He’ll expect more from you. And in the end, it does nothing but make you a better person and a more effective leader.

Do you have this type of person in your life? If you don’t, then the truth is likely that you had this person in your life in the past and you’ve decided to take the easy way out and ignore them.

Avoiding the comfort-destroyer is less painful at first. It allows you to remain self-righteous and blameless. Without someone there to show you your faults and what you are capable of, you can remain of the opinion that all your woes are the results of other people and their problems.

But a comfort-destroyer changes everything.

They shed light on the truth of your situation. They expose the reality. They might even make you feel shameful for the way you have chosen to live.

And that’s okay. This is simply the first step in becoming better. You must first recognize that you are not doing your best. Then with the help of your comfort-destroyer you must set better goals, identify paths to success, and then make the most of their assistance. Then you may reach what Mark Ford calls the ironic end result, where life eventually becomes “more comfortable for comfort-seekers because the comfort-destroyer has led them to products and practices that make life easier.”

With Mark’s help, we destroyed my comfort zone of taking the easy way out in my essays. The end result has been significantly better content for you, and greater confidence in my ability to communicate important lessons to all ETR readers. Breaking free of my past limitations has benefited everyone and made building the ETR business faster and more effective.

Likewise, Matt has run rampant upon every vestige of comfort in your editor’s life. Like an old decrepit building after meeting a wrecking ball, there’s little left that once was. However, what has been constructed in its place is far better that what stood before.

With my comfort zones destroyed, lazy old habits challenged and replaced, life has ironically become easier and made my business more successful. Also, formerly stressful situations became easy, and my phobias and fears are now desired challenges.

But it doesn’t stop there.

I will – and you must, too – remain in the presence of the comfort-destroyers, and in fact, seek others as well.

It’s what we must do. It’s who we must spend time with.

For this is how we raise our average and abilities and experience the irony of destroying comfort to create better lives for ourselves.

Seek out these people. Get them to challenge you. And you will grow.
The phrase “Search and Destroy” will never mean the same to you again.

[Ed Note: Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise (Join him on Facebook here) and the author of Financial Independence Monthly, a complete blueprint to helping you take control of your financial future with a web-based business that you can operate from anywhere in the world – including a coffee shop, your kitchen table, or anywhere around the world where there is Internet access. Discover how you can achieve the American Dream and your financial independence here. You’ve never seen anything like this before.]
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  • Ellen Rossini

    Very clever subject line–I bit! And the article lived up to the promise by being provocative and interesting. Well done.

  • Maureen

    It really helps to know that you’ve been pushed over the last 18 months to greater success and ease in what used to be out of your comfort zone. I love the message; it teaches us to welcome challenge!

  • Tim

    Great article Craig. I know one of the key ingredients is to have mentors in your life. I have a few spiritual mentors but have not found that person to help me with my online fitness business. Any suggestions?

  • Virginia

    Always to the point with good reminders, suggestions, and action steps. It’s hard to destroy to acquire better, but each time we do it – there is almost always a positive reward – as hard as it was to perform to create more comfort and confidence.

    • Craig Ballantyne


    • Thanks!

  • Nathan Wilson

    Nice writeup. Need a destroyer in my life.

    • Yes, push on and find that person.

  • Richard

    Being a creative writer is no easy job. I admire you how you churn out article after article on a daily basis, with great content! Hat off!

    We can always do better than we think. Sometimes when we feel we just can’t do better, we have to step away from the work in progress, focus on something else and then return to the job. The mind is cleared and a fresh picture of the subject will help you raise the bar. Unfortunately, time pressure does not always allow it.

  • Stephen Prentice

    Not a bad article on its own terms, but work-life balance is also important. Many people have regrets on their deathbed. They wish they spent more time with their kids whilst they were growing up or that they visited their parents and grandparents more whilat they were still alive. Rare is the person who on their deathbed is thinking “gee I wish I’d spent more time at the office.” Maybe have a think about balancing these important human concerns with being a “comfort destroyer.”

  • Stephen Prentice

    “The comfort destroyer & the fisherman”
    Adapted from a story by Heinrich Boll

    One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach, with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish.

    About that time, a comfort destroyer came walking down the beach trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family. “You aren’t going to catch many fish that way,” said the comfort destroyer “You should be working rather than lying on the beach!”

    The fisherman looked up at the comfort destroyer, smiled and replied, “And what will my reward be?”

    “Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!” was the comfort destroyers answer.

    “And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman, still smiling.

    The comfort destroyer replied, “You will make money and you’ll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!”

    “And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman again.

    The comfort destroyer was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman’s questions. “You can buy a bigger boat, and hire some people to work for you!” he said.

    “And then what will my reward be?” repeated the fisherman.

    The comfort destroyer was getting angry. “Don’t you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!”

    Once again the fisherman asked, “And then what will my reward be?”

    The comfort destroyer was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, “Don’t you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the sunset. You won’t have a care in the world!”

    The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “And what do you think I’m doing right now?”

    When we stop chasing the world’s definition of happiness, we begin to recognize the decision to experience happiness has been right in front of us all along.