Humans are known as creatures of habit. They like knowing what is going to happen next and how to react in certain situations- they like staying in their comfort zone. A person’s comfort zone is a state of familiarity and well-being. According to the Cambridge Dictionary it is a situation in which we feel comfortable and in which abilities and determinations are not being tested.
Well, that sounds good, doesn’t it? Isn’t your wellbeing and being able to forecast what is going to happen next what we want and like? Why should we leave a place of wellbeing, safety and predictability? Well, simply because staying in this nice bubble might be preventing us from thinking differently, from innovation and creativity.
What makes me think that? Well let’s just take a look at SAP, it’s history and founders:
In 1972, five IBM employees decided to leverage their knowledge in technology and coding to become entrepreneurs: Hasso Plattner, Dietmar Hopp, Klaus Tschira, Claus Wellenreuther and Hans-Werner Hector laid the foundations of today’s software giant SAP. By leaving IBM, the five of them decided to exchange regular income, regulated working hours and a safe workplace with nightshifts, work on weekends and ambiguity. In doing so, they not only took an enormous risk but also challenged themselves. Certainly, doubts and fears were crossing their minds on the journey of creating the first software programs of SAP: Was it the right thing to do? Is this new company worth the risk? Will SAP succeed?
Regardless all doubts and fears that might have occurred they kept up the hard work and succeeded: at the end of the first business year, SAP already generated a six-digit revenue and a small number of profit. Today, SAP is known as the world’s largest provider of Enterprise Application software and it is SAP’s mission to help their customers run at their best. To fulfill it’s mission, SAP helps their customers master complexity with simple and easy to use solutions focused on innovation in the cloud and on SAP HANA.
When looking at SAP’s founders, we can surely take away a couple things: Not only has hard work, passion and dedication been part of their daily routine, but also has taking risks throughout their lives been a significant part or maybe even a key driver of their success. Most likely the five of them did not know how to build up a startup and how to run a business. And surely frustration and uncomfortableness has crossed their way in certain moments of their lives. But maybe that’s what ultimately made them become stronger and try even harder. In doing so, they embraced innovation and creativity which they might not have if they would not have taken risks and embraced challenges. Their ambition for success paired with passion, curiosity and creativity made them become famous as leaders of the most innovative and successful companies in the world.
Thinking of taking risks and challenges also reminds me of a personal experience: moving from Italy to Germany. When I was a student, I decided to move to Germany for studying although only knowing a little bit of German. I think everybody that has already spent some time abroad or that has moved to a different country agrees on the struggle and difficulties of picking up a new language as well as a foreign culture. But do you know what? In doing so, I have broadened my horizon, increased my adaptability and became the person I am today.
Our world is full of possibilities but by staying where we are, not looking forward, not trying out new stuff, we will most likely never be part of the magic our world has in stock.
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
In this sense: Get out of your comfort zone and start to feel the magic!