Wednesday, March 27, 2013

4 Reasons It Is Okay To Be Uncomfortable

Not too long ago, I was talking to a cool lady and very talented writer, Jess Lourey . She sent me an article about how it is helps for a person to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.Although it struck me as true, it also made me feel a little uncomfortable. It is not okay, in my mind, to read something with a sound principle for life and then pretend I never read it by forgetting it. It has stuck with me for the past couple of months, and I have been testing the boundaries of what this means in my life. With writing. With exercise. With...everything. Today, I want to share with you what I'm learning about why it is important for you to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Being uncomfortable and building a habit of being a little uncomfortable is important because:

1. It is an essential survival skill. I just want to make sure that you understand this.Without extended periods of being uncomfortable, you will never do anything important. For instance, you will not exercise. You will not work. You will not save money. You will not avoid buying things that might hurt you. You will not have friendships...or any relationship, for that matter. We just have to become more acquainted with being a little out of our comfort zone, all the time.
If we don't become acquainted with discomfort, we tend to do things with our lives that helps us to avoid the feeling, such as drinking heavily, doing drugs, and other abusive behavior. Being uncomfortable more often establishes new norms in your life.
For instance, I started going to school some time ago, and I was a terrible procrastinator. I needed to learn to not allow myself to procrastinate. So, I started something new. I began to make myself get up and do the thing I was putting off the minute I said "I'll do it later."
At first, I hated it.
Then I got used to it, and it is now an important skill that kept me viable in college and has continued to keep me viable in life.
I have type 2 diabetes. Without exercise, this could get worse. Allowing myself to be uncomfortable has kept me exercising and eating right.
It's an essential survival skill.

2. It is how we learn how to do anything with any mastery. Learning to write requires a writer to write....a lot....and edit...and edit....and infinitum. This can be really painful. (or at least it seems that way). Playing guitar requires a player to learn to fret certain strings in certain patterns to play certain notes and chords. This can be really painful on your fingertips, to the point that it feels like someone is tapping nails into the tips of your fingers. Eventually, the pain starts to ease up as you build callouses.
But first your going to be uncomfortable. 
Talk to professional basketball, football, soccer, tennis and on and on and on players and ask them what they had to do to be great.
Talk to Bill Gates and Donald Trump and ask them how many sleepless nights they had while they learned what they needed to know to be experts in their fields.
Ask anyone what they had to do to learn a language or two or, as I learned about a friend, twelve. Twelve flipping languages? I struggle with the one I have learned all of my life, and at 33, this human being has learned twelve. He said that it took a lot of devotion and time. All I could say is, "You're damn right it did." What else do I say to a person who has more discipline than I could summon on a good day?
Being uncomfortable is the key to learning anything you want to learn.

Come back on Friday for the conclusion of this list.

But in the meantime, How do you feel about this? Do you struggle in this area? I know I do. I hope to hear form a bunch of you about whether you have gotten used to being a little uncomfortable or if you struggle with this. If you have some mastery, what is the key to pushing through?
I look forward to hearing from a bunch of you!


  1. I would love to stay in my home and hide from the world. But I can't. I hate public speaking, I question myself constantly. But in my job, I have to own my expertise. I have to sit in front of Boards of Directors full of people smarter and more successful and be an expert at what I do. It's hard. I still trip over my words and am nervous. But I fake my way through it. That's the trick, fake it until you forget you are faking and it becomes less uncomfortable. It's a life long struggle.

    1. Right there with you, Julie. Fake it, 'til you make it. Everything worth any consequence in life requires you to be very uncomfortable for a while. It is a life long struggle, but you can't do anything while you hide from the world. We are a lot alike. I could, conceivably, hide in my house and never come out. Unfortunately, the world is not interested in me doing that... bummer LOL