Each and every day we walk through life. Many times, our lives look the same on most days: wake up, get ready for school/work, go to school/work, come home, make dinner and eat, have some idle time, and then go to bed. As much as people like to say that they hate routines, most of us have them due to the fact that we live in modern society. And with routine comes a heck of a lot of comfort.
We get to a point where doing similar things every day feels good because it’s become comfortable and familiar. But let’s face it: there are probably so many things you want to do that you just haven’t done. And it’s not because you’re lazy or a “type B” person. You’re not a bad person who procrastinates, has no discipline, and can’t get anything done. You’re not too stupid or not smart enough, or not good enough.
The truth is…
You’re a human being who has evolved to avoid discomfort.
It’s really that simple. Discomfort is scary and, well, uncomfortable. So we run and avoid it like the plague any time it even so much as threatens to show up. Discomfort comes in many forms: fear, failure, rejection, anxiety, stress, uncertainty, intimidation, ignorance, pain, loss, hunger, the list goes on…
These are all things that are part of life, but still we run from all of them. Our knees buckle and we start to sweat at the sign of something we’re afraid of. We fear our feelings. We’ve been programmed to believe that a good life and happiness only exist in the absence of discomfort. I can tell you right now that that’s a load of shit. In fact, in my experience, life is good and happiness prevails because of discomfort.
We’ve been institutionalized for many, many years of our lives: we go to school for 13+ years and then we report to a job for 30+ years. Most of us play the game of life by “the rules” till it’s over. We’re taught that going to school and getting a job is the safest way to live. Going to school and getting a job is comfortable, but it may not be all that safe.
When I was in school, my end goal was to get a job, start my career, and live comfortably ever after. HAHA. I laugh at myself all the time for thinking like this. I can’t blame me because that’s what I was taught to strive for and that’s perfectly fine and respectable. But now that I am in my “career” I’m realizing just how much of me is hidden away in the box of things you cannot bring with you to your job. So now I ask myself: yeah, health insurance and a 401K is nice and all, but is it worth watering myself down for?
I’m not sure because healthcare is expensive in the United States. But what I do know is that we as humans have given up a lot for comfort. The most tragic thing we’ve given up in exchange for comfort is our freedom. And with freedom comes great discomfort. And since we have such a bad relationship with discomfort, we’re not free to do things as we please. Are you seeing the theme yet?
Your relationship with discomfort is why you can’t get things done.
One of my mantras is this: in order to do things, you’ve got to do things. Super obvious and simple, right? But if that were true, why do we have such a hard time getting things done? Because we have an avoidant relationship with discomfort. You see, in order to accomplish anything, you’ve got to get uncomfortable even if it’s just for a short time.
Want to run a marathon or do anything athletic? You’ve got to train, which is uncomfortable.
Want to start your own business? You’ve got to figure out how to start and run your own business, which is uncomfortable.
Want to pursue that attractive guy at the bar? You’ve got to walk up to him and introduce yourself, which is uncomfortable.
Want to start a blog? You’ve got to put yourself out there and share your story, which is uncomfortable.
Want to travel the world? You’ve got to immerse yourself in unfamiliar places and with unfamiliar people, which is uncomfortable.
Want to clean out your closet? You’ve got to get in there and make a mess to clean up, which is uncomfortable.
You get the idea! The more you avoid discomfort, the less you get done. But, how does one just change their relationship with discomfort? How do you go from hating it to loving it? How does one become unafraid of discomfort?
You don’t. Love and being unafraid are comfortable and the goal isn’t to try and make everything more comfortable. The goal is to embrace the discomfort and lean into it. Because from discomfort comes growth and prosperity. Good things are on the other side of discomfort. It’s okay to feel scared or anxious or stressed or uncomfortable. It’s not okay to avoid those feelings and allow them to stop you from doing the things you daydream about.
That’s the tea, friend. Doing stuff is hard and uncomfortable and scary. Even just being 100% yourself can be hard and uncomfortable and scary. But if you already know all of the great things that could be on the other side of that, why would you ever let a few temporary feelings stop you from getting after it? Yeah, a lot of things in life are uncomfortable. So what?
Remember: the only way out is through. We humans are capable of withstanding a hell of a lot. I mean, we literally used to have to run from giant carnivorous animals chasing us and our loved ones to save our lives. So, a little bit of anxiety, butterflies, and discomfort ain’t gonna stop you from saving your life and going after the things you daydream about, right?
Allow yourself to feel uncomfortable and get it done. You will survive and thrive! What discomfort are you going to lean into this week to grow and improve your life? You’ve got this!