Something that Kate has noticed from going out running in all kinds of weather is that she sees the greatest number of fellow runners (and cyclists) when the temperature ranges from about 60 to 80 degrees. Not so surprising, given that band represents the most comfortable conditions.
More surprising is that as the temperature dips above or below those atmospheric boundaries, the number of people who venture outside does not fall off progressively; that is, you don’t lose 10% of people once it gets 10 degrees colder, then 20% once it gets 20 degrees colder.
Instead, as soon as it gets just a bit above or below 60-80 degrees, 90% of people disappear from the trails.
This same phenomenon, in which the vast majority of people drop off once you venture just a few literal or metaphorical degrees outside this “slipstream of comfort,” operates in every area of life, from the personal to the professional.
We often despair of finding success, and being noticed in a saturated field, feeling that we have to compete with everyone, and be many orders of magnitude greater. In reality, you just have to be a few degrees different to leave the masses behind.
You don’t have to be the most charismatic guy in the world; just know how to decently make small talk, and you’ve surpassed 90% of people out there. You don’t have to be the most networked freelance designer or contractor; just be reliable, call people back, and communicate about deadlines, and you’ve bested 90% of the competition.
Take 5 minutes to write a thank you note for something, and you’ve set yourself apart from the pack with stupid ease.
Common sense isn’t common. The path of least resistance is clogged.
Exponentially greater opportunities lie just outside the slipstream of comfort.