Why Discomfort is the Key to Growth
Why do we believe comfort will make us happy? We struggle far less than our ancestors. We have more leisure time. We are able to access all the world’s information in the palm of our hand. We don’t really have to lift a finger if we don’t want to. I know these could all be considered “first world problems” but in reality, none of the comforts of modern society make us happy or fulfilled. While I believe they are great advances in our world, as individuals, we need more, we need to grow.
Pushing our physical and mental limits gives us a sense of achievement. This is one of the reasons I do obstacle course races, Crossfit, and try new things such as writing these posts and my newsletter. None of them are easy for me but I know if I can push past the resistance and set my mind to something, I will be able to complete the task. Embracing a growth mindset drives me to learn new subjects and try new things. It allows me to become comfortable in the unknown. As Mark Twain said, “Do something every day that you don’t want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.”
Growth only comes through discomfort. As an introvert, it was never easy for me to meet new people. A few years ago, after I got divorced, I found myself face to face with my fear of meeting new people. I knew I had to get over this fear so, I began to put myself out there. I joined a new gym, which forced me to talk to new people every day. The gym is where I met some of my best friends and my girlfriend. Putting myself in a situation outside of my comfort zone made it easier for me to talk to strangers and get over my shyness. I believe this set the course that lead me to some great experiences over the past few years. One of the most fun experiences occurred this year. I took my first solo adventure and attended an XPT Experience in Malibu, Ca. XPT was an amazing trip. I met people from all over the world and learned so much information on fitness, nutrition, and life. If you’d like to read more about my trip, check out this blog post. I continue to stay in touch with the people I met at XPT and hope to develop my relationship with them in the future.
Not only is getting out of our comfort zone and pushing past our fears the key to growth, it is also key to resilience. This past weekend I competed in the World’s Toughest Mudder on Lake Las Vegas. It was by far the most difficult thing I have ever done, mentally and physically. After putting myself through a test like this, I know when bad shit happens to me in life it will be much easier to overcome. Throughout all of these experiences, I have learned that a growth mindset, combined with the willingness to be uncomfortable, makes it much easier to overcome life’s difficulties.
In the words of Laird Hamilton, “If you don’t do something every day that makes you feel small, you haven’t really lived.” I encourage you to look for ways to train your mind to deal with discomfort. Maybe it’s doing 100 burpees every morning, taking a speech class, or asking for a raise you know you deserve. Try something new for one week and see how it changes your mindset. From my experience, it is very beneficial and will help you face your fears and get through troubling times, whatever these may be for you.
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