Embrace Discomfort

Embrace Discomfort

Often times, recurring themes and phrases are narrated to myself in my head. In college it was “How bad do you want it?” It’s as if the voice in our head is our narrator and can encourage to act in positive manners or negative manners. My narrator is overwhelming positive, and for that, I’m very thankful.

The most recent phrase that I keep repeating is “embrace discomfort.” My narrator is telling me that if I’m comfortable that perhaps I’m not growing. But think about this for a bit, what are some of your most valuable achievements? I’ll bet you weren’t comfortable on your path to those achievements. I bet you had to work your ass off. I know that I did. Graduating college with two engineering degrees while being a single father sucked. Giving a best man speech to a room of 400 people felt like I was going to the firing squad. Running a half-marathon felt like my legs were going to collapse.

But you know what? My engineering degrees helped form the basis of what it means to be an engineer and what it takes to think like an engineer. My best man speech brought the room to hysterical laughter; I received many compliments that it was one of the best best man speeches that many have heard. Running the half-marathon has kicked me into running routine where I now run 15-20 miles a week. All of these things took work. A shit ton of work. But it was all worth it!

Embracing comfort isn’t just about big accomplishments. It could simply mean that the next time that you’re at the mall and you see a person that you know, don’t avoid them, engage them into a conversation. It could mean that you may actually have to pick up the phone and do cold call to a potential prospect. It might just be admitting to someone that you care about that you’re wrong and that you’re sorry. Embracing discomfort is all about forcing yourself to grow.

I really like what Jonathan of Illuminated Mind writes about settling and being comfortable:

The main reason you settle is because the unknown is not an agreeable place to reside; you can’t predict what will happen. But most of all, you settle to protect your ego.\ \ That’s because your ego doesn’t like it when you can’t predict the future. It doesn’t like knowing that your choice — the one that will really make you feel content — may end up failing. When your ego can’t predict the outcome, it goes into survival mode. It’s easier to take the safe, predictable path.\ \ But we all know deep down that survival is a temporary bet, anyway. Security does not exist in reality.

That’s what this is all about. Ego. Your ego wants to protect you and prevent you from failure. It’s your biological lizard brain that causes this instinct. Tell your ego to shut up and embrace discomfort.

Follow me on Twitter: @jprichardson

-JP Richardson

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