What is discomfort and what is its significance to people?
Discomfort is a feeling that goes hand in hand with challenge, unknown, and resistance. Discomfort is the antithesis of human nature. Humans seek comfort – it is the reason we live in houses, invented air conditioning, and go swimming when it’s hot. When humans feel uncomfortable, they want to change something to resolve that discomfort and return back to “normal”.
People have been developing products and services for years in an effort to address a point of potential discomfort for their customers. As this continues, it becomes increasingly easier to find fast and easy solutions to problems. This is not an issue in and of itself – specialization of products, trades, and skills have freed up the time of others to pursue different paths. The problem; however, is that it soon becomes too easy to seek comfort – and who wants to be uncomfortable?
Discomfort drives change and growth. The active avoidance of discomfort stunts the engagement of a person to the world around them. By hiring a handyman, a person loses the connection with their house. By taking their car to the mechanic for any unusual noise, they don’t understand the thing they rely on to get to and from their job each day. By choosing to sit in front of the television instead of getting in exercise, they lose their coordination and fitness.
Without feeling lacking there is no drive for a person to enact change.
Why would there be? If one is comfortable and happy, what reason would there be to step out of that comfort zone? It is the desire to resolve discomfort, to overcome a challenge, that is the drives a person to take action. Without this sense of discomfort, people become content and stagnant.
The initiated must remember to seek out new challenges, find discomfort, and attack it head on for they know how much there is to learn about the world as well as themselves in going through struggle. The initiated person is not scared to marinate in discomfort for a while – it does not overcome them. They are willing to chew on a problem, analyze the situation, come up with a plan, and proceed with a solution.
The more this practice is repeated, the more confidence is built. Therefore when faced with future challenge, one can pull from this experience and confidence; it is a compounding skill. There is self-trust built in knowing they have developed skills and tools needed to come up with a plan and overcome any challenge unfortunate enough to cross their path.
On the flip side, a content, comfortable person becomes stagnant. They do not have the desire to seek out new challenges and instead live in their comfortable bubble, consuming, with no outlet for their energy and creativity. These people are content to be the same person for the rest of their lives, or so they think.
This is not the way. Stagnation will catch up with these people eventually and they will eventually look for change.
Familiar with the term “mid-life crisis”? A mid-life crisis is nothing more than a realization of such deep stagnation that a person must make a big, often irresponsible, gesture to feel like they are taking back control of their lives.
Life is the longest game you’re going to play; it is also a game where there is unlimited potential to grow and get better. Like anything else, it is all dependent upon the amount and quality of work put into it.
Go out and seek discomforts. Struggle to lift heavy weights, challenge your mind, ask questions. Be humbled by trying something new. Learning does not stop with the completion of formal schooling nor does achievement of goals mean the game is won.
Be engaged. Be active. Move. Learn new things.
Thrive in discomfort.
Yours in strength,