As paradoxical as it may sound, learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable has been one of the greatest lessons that I have been taught thus far in my life. I think that this phrase can be applied to many areas in life, including work, school, sport, and relationships.
In order to make forward progress, to truly see improvements, one must learn to embrace the feeling of discomfort. If you really think about it, almost anything worth having in life comes with temporary discomfort as its price. Success in school takes hours of reading, writing, and studying, which can often times be laborious and uncomfortable. Success in any job will require some level of mental and/or physical exertion, which can often be uncomfortable. Success in any sport requires an incredible amount of physical and mental discomfort. Even building successful relationships, whether it be with friends, family, or a loved one, requires sacrifice, selflessness, and commitment, which can, at times, be uncomfortable.
I have come to appreciate this aspect of discomfort over the past few years. I have even come so far as to welcome it on a regular basis, although not always, as it signifies the path towards growth, improvement, and success. I have no idea if this phrase has ever been used before, but learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, as I like to call it, is an incredibly powerful skill that I have worked on mastering recently. I am sure I will never master it completely as there are plenty of days when I avoid discomfort in favor of the easier option, the option that will not provide as much potential for growth. After all, I am only human.
I have, however, also had plenty of moments in which I did choose to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, and I have never regretted any of these moments as they have always led me to see personal growth and progress towards my long-term goals. It’s something I continually try and master in my work, in my triathlon training, and in my personal life. It’s certainly difficult to do as often times, being temporarily uncomfortable is naturally resisted by human instinct. My first reaction is to try and accomplish any task at hand with as little as effort as possible, or to get through my day with as little physical and mental exertion as I can put forth. In the long run, however, I have learned that this will not lead to fulfillment, and so onwards I go in the never-ending battle to embrace discomfort, continually learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.