I cannot recall meeting anyone who lived in anticipation of being placed in an uncomfortable position. As humans, we thrive in states of physical and mental ease—where our needs of comfort, access, and security are met.
There is something about pain, discomfort, being displaced, or not being in the right place that leads to feelings of anxiety and other secondary disturbances such as fearfulness, timidness, apprehensiveness, and restlessness.
On the one hand, discomfort is something humans run from. On the other hand, as humans, we have evolved the way we did because of our ability to endure and adapt to social and environmental changes and difficulties.
From this perspective, I think the question now becomes: How do we get better at withstanding discomfort in order to grow into the best version of ourselves?
First, there needs to be an awareness of self, which inevitably fosters growth opportunities that are abundant and are also a necessary part of one’s holistic development.
Secondly, there has to be a realization that one will not grow accustomed to discomfort overnight. Becoming good at adapting to difficulties or uncomfortable situations is a process. That is, becoming adjusted to new conditions is a journey of self-discovery through the lifespan.
Thirdly, be open to discomfort, which is the opposite of seeking discomfort. Many so-called experts and gurus encourage people to “seek” discomfort as doing so will unearth the hidden parts of self. Well, I call this, bullshit advice. No one should be forced or encouraged (coerced) to face or embrace discomfort of any kind.
If a person is uncomfortable around bodies of water, what practical value exists in telling that individual to “jump in head first,” “sink or swim,” or “you’ll get the hang of it.” If a person gets anxious being around large crowds, then immersing that individual unexpectedly or forcefully in settings where lots of people gather will likely yield the oppositive results.
Fourthly, adapt at your own pace. Everyone learns and adjusts to discomfort differently. The key is to find your comfort zone within the place of discomfort.
Lastly, there has to be a paradigm shift—a willingness to adopt new thoughts, values, and behaviors. I do not like exercising because it removes me from the place where I feel safe and at ease. Nonetheless, I exercise every day because I understand exercise’s mental/physical value and benefit.
So there you have it. It is quite okay to dislike discomfort. The key, however, is to believe that improving every facet of your life is possible—and growth often comes through pain, discomfort, and sometimes the unknown.
One last thing. In yesterday’s post, I recounted why I quit my six-figure salary job. Quitting any job with or without a backup plan can be a stressful event. Even so, it was the very decision to temporarily live in the place of discomfort that opened up another opportunity, which increased my salary by 33%.
Featured image credit: © Davide Bonazzi