Slipping into the icy water isn’t comfortable. I can’t relax, I’m tense, and I really just want to get out of here, NOW. My mind tells me I’m freezing and should flee—but I stay in—I want to reap the benefits the come through withstanding the discomfort. Eventually overcoming what seemed like an insurmountable situation turned out to be thoroughly energizing and enlivening.
To enjoy warmth, a small part of you must have experienced cold, for there is no quality without contrast. The absence of comfort is where we understand what is most alive in us; where the essential is revealed. To have nothing but a blanket between you and the cool night air floating through your open window, you curl up like the last coal in a bonfire, grateful under the starry skies. To solitarily endure the discomfort of our own pain, raises important questions about our identity and it is here we can notice those otherwise imperceptible yet wholly transformative shifts within us. To engage in uncomfortable conversations with your partner, when words spring from the rawest recesses of the heart, is often where your relationship becomes stronger.
When it comes to discomfort, our reaction is generally to guard ourselves. We tend to avoid situations that we find challenging or that make us uneasy. If something feels bad, we will often do our best to avoid whatever is causing those feelings. But your feelings might be just that: feelings. As such, they have the ability to change…
If you’re able to be comfortable with discomfort, even for a little while, you may realize some of life’s greatest (and most exciting) opportunities and rewards. If you choose to stay in the discomfort, without an escape plan, your creative strength for dealing with any single moment begins to grow.
“It’s not that I’m so smart, I just stay with the problems longer.” — Albert Einstein
A good life is formed through a succession of good decisions and a bit of luck, especially around love and work. Sometimes discomfort is a clue that something is wrong too. Uncomfortable scenarios can negatively affects us without any positive aspects or progression, and here we would have every reason to avoid it. Discomfort perceives that there are, at times, simply no ideal options. Other times we may decide it is simply not worth it to go beyond…
Discomfort & The Game of Chance
Nevertheless, life’s richest rewards are often uncovered when you do the slightly uncomfortable, unexpected and weird thing. But how do we know what will be a good decision, and what won’t? Facing a decision where your future is very uncertain can leave you thinking—a lot—about what your future experience would be like if you decided to undergo the experience. The problem is many of these big decisions involve things we simply cannot know from any other source but the experience itself.
Life is not simply about calculating decisions. It’s about realizing that no amount of imagining will ever be able to capture the unpredictability and surprise of life. As in the game of Poker, we too often think we’re in control when we are really just playing by the rules of chance. Anyone can get lucky—or unlucky—at a single hand. We don’t know 100% if the other person has the Queen of Diamonds or Queen of Hearts. We follow patterns and we call upon past-experience, intuition, and hunches.
Your best bet
Contrary to what you bet I am going to say…your best move may just be to hold. To not leap out of your comfort zone, but perhaps you don’t fold and shut yourself in either. There may be ways you can widen your comfort zone incrementally, so that what you want fits comfortably inside… and if you’re lucky, there is person who’s willing to lend their support, encouragement, and care.