The secret to success lies in everything you’re avoiding.
You won’t find success sitting on your sofa, binge-watching inspirational Youtube videos or liking inspirational people’s posts on Instagram. It won’t strike in the middle of your consistent daily routine of five years, or randomly pop up in your email inbox one day as you sit at your desk. Your sofa may be comfortable, your relationships may be familiar and your routine may be safe, but you won’t grow and achieve long-term success by avoiding what’s hard or even marginally difficult, both physically and emotionally.
Embracing Challenge in Life
Challenges in life aren’t there to break us: they are there to encourage us to be more than who we already are. Discomfort shouldn’t be seen as something which happens to you: discomfort should be something you seek out. You should be more afraid of being sucked in by the monotonous paralysis of comfort than the brisk winds yet steady progressive nature of being uncomfortable.
We only discover our skills, limitations and facets of our personalities when we break out of our moulds and encounter fresh experiences which challenge what we know about ourselves and the world around us.
Where can you expect to go in life if you remain within your isolated echo chamber where nobody challenges your opinions and ideas, criticises you or encourages you to question who you are and what you believe in?
In an interview with Outside Magazine, Dean Karnazes (The UltramarathonMan and Author of ‘Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner’, made a profound statement:
“Western culture has things a little backwards right now. We think that if we had every comfort available to us, we’d be happy. We equate comfort with happiness. And now we’re so comfortable we’re miserable. There’s no struggle in our lives. No sense of adventure. We get in a car, we get in an elevator, it all comes easy. What I’ve found is that I’m never more alive than when I’m pushing and I’m in pain, and I’m struggling for high achievement, and in that struggle, I think there’s a magic.”– Dean Karnazes
The Rewards of Perserverance
Feeling uncomfortable isn’t pleasant, but you know from experience that the traumas, troubles, difficulties and hardships you went through changed you far more than the nights you stayed at home or the repetitive days at work ever did. Whilst the experience of discomfort is less enjoyable than that of comfort, the outcomes are a thousand times more significant and worthy of your attention.
Practising being uncomfortable prepares us for when discomfort is brought upon us without our consent: when we hit creative blocks, experience financial worries, encounter unexpected heartbreak or sudden changes in circumstance. Becoming a master of discomfort through our own intentional pursuit empowers us for the future; it teaches us that we have control of our outlooks and progression in life, regardless of what hardships come our way.
Being able to navigate discomfort with confidence and a calm mind requires training, practice and perseverance. Your best life is always ahead of you provided you continue to push yourself a little further and harder every day.
Discomfort will only break you down if you choose to avoid it rather than deal with it and mature alongside it. Give yourself permission to go beyond what you think you’re capable of and challenge the limits you’ve set yourself.
Start seeking discomfort and see how much your life grows from it.