Disrupting My Comfort Zone
I was 45 years old when I decided to learn howto surf. They say that life is tough enough. But Iguess I like to make things difficult on myself, because I do that all the time, every day and onpurpose. That's because I believe in disrupting mycomfort zone. When I started out in theentertainment business, I made a list of peoplethat I thought would be good to me. Not people whocould give me a job or a deal, but people who couldshake me up, teach me something, challenge myideas about myself and the world. So I started calling up experts in all kinds of fields. Some ofthem were world-famous. Of course, I didn't know any of these people and none of them knewme.
So when I called these people up to ask them for a meeting, the response wasn't alwaysfriendly.
And even when they agreed to give me some of their time, the results weren't always whatone might describe as pleasant. Take, for example, Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogenbomb. It took me a year of begging and more begging to get to him to agree to meet with me. And then what happened? He ridiculed me and insulted me.But that was okay. I was hoping tolearn something from him—and I did, even if it was only that I'm not that interesting to aphysicist with no taste for our pop culture. Over the last 30 years, I've produced more than 50 movies and 20 television series. I'm successful and, in my business, pretty well known. So whydo I continue to subject myself to this sort of thing? The answer is simple: Disrupting mycomfort zone, bombarding myself with challenging people and situations —this is the bestway that I know to keep growing. And to paraphrase a biologist I once met, if you're notgrowing, you're dying. So maybe I'm not the best surfer on the north shore, but that's okay. The discomfort, the uncertainty, the physical and mental challenge that I get from this—allthe things that too many of us spend our time and energy trying to avoid—they are preciselythe things that keep me in the game.