Productivity Edging: Is Duress Essential In Achieving Success?

Dave Barton
June 23, 2021

I used to know a guy who spoke about ‘being in love with the uncomfortable zone’ when it came to his work. 

Childish snickers aside (and there were many), what struck me about this phrase was that:

a) he derived some form of masochistic joy from being under duress; 

b) he felt that duress was an essential part of success. 

True, the guy was a startup founder – one who knew he had his work cut out for him. But the blood, sweat, tears, late nights, relationship breakups, etc didn’t bring him the success he craved. The startup failed. 

But here’s the thing – he pretty much knew it would. He also fervently believed that failing would, in the long run, make him a better founder for whatever his next venture might be.

While part of me admires the guy, the other 93% of me thinks he was full of bull-caca.

If you know – and accept – that the odds are stacked against you, why harking bother? 

Sure, life is full of AFLOs (Another Fucking Learning Opportunity) but I’m not running a company to be a better business person.

I want to enjoy the process; to ride the rollercoaster – with the knowledge that I will disembark bewildered but intact at some point. I don’t *want* to work batshit-crazy hours. I do so because right now, it’s critical in maintaining the required momentum. 

I routinely have to bring myself back from the brink – to ground myself in a little sanity to maintain some level of comfort. And, I’ll come right out and call this ‘productivity edging’ – because that’s what it is.

As for whether duress is key to success, well, I guess that all depends on your definition of ‘success’. For some it’s getting up in the morning; for others it’s kicking some ass every single second of every day (whatever that may constitute).

Either way, achievement – in any form – ain’t designed to be easy. It should be hard, otherwise what’s the point? Where’s the satisfaction in overcoming an obstacle? 

God, I’m confused now. Maybe Mr Uncomfortable Zone was right all along.

Written by

Dave Barton

Creative copywriter with startup and blockchain savvy. Seduced by novelty. Nourished by variety. Sustained by irony.

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