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. Still, you won’t grow and achieve long-term success by avoiding what’s hard or even marginally tricky, both physically and emotionally.
Embracing Challenges 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 isn’t something which you should seek to avoid at all costs; instead, it’s something you should seek out. Feeling uncomfortable isn’t something to be feared. You should be more afraid of being sucked into the monotonous paralysis of the comfort zone than the brisk yet steadily progressive nature of discomfort.
We only discover the 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? You’ll never grow in an environment where nobody challenges your opinions and ideas, criticises you or encourages you to question who you are and what you believe.
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 past traumas, troubles, difficulties and hardships changed you far more than the nights you stayed at home or the repetitive days at work ever did. While the experience of discomfort isn’t enjoyable, the outcomes are thousand times more significant and worthy of your attention.
Practising being uncomfortable prepares you for when discomfort strikes unexpectedly: when you hit creative blocks, experience financial worries or encounter heartbreak. Becoming a master of discomfort by intentionally pursuing it is empowering. The discomfort teaches you that you have control of your outlooks and progression in life, regardless of what hardships come your 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 if 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. Permit yourself 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.