Comfortable is a lie…
I’m not talking about your mattress, or your pillow, or your clothing. It’s a virtue of any one of those things to actually be comfortable. It’s good to have a comfortable mattress — it may actually help you sleep better, and better sleep can help you get ahead in life.
I’m talking doing things that are “comfortable.” Whether we’re talking about your career, your personal life, or just about any other area.
And — more importantly — I’m talking about avoiding the uncomfortable.
Just ask yourself: when is the last time you avoided the right course of action, simply because it was more comfortable to do nothing?
Or put in a way that may make it feel a little more real: when is the last time you didn’t stand up for yourself, your needs, or your opinion because doing so would make you uncomfortable.
If your answer is not sometime within the last 24 hours, you’re either lying to yourself or an enlightened being who exists somewhere between the realms of mortals and gods. And my guess is you’re not enlightened.
For the rest of us…
Doing the hard thing is the path to growth…
Let’s go for some ancient wisdom here…
Epicurus, the Stoic philosopher said, “You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”
Whether or not you’re Christian, this Bible verse from Matthew is relevant, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” And in the book of James, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Lao Tzu, the ancient Taoist philosopher, taught, “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small.”
The lessons passed down from our long-dead ancestors often reveal the most important principles for living as a healthy, fully-functional human being.
And these are just the quickest examples my brainstorming plus Google could come up with.
Not very many ancient texts survived saying, “Run away from the difficult, the challenging, the dangerous.” Or, “You don’t have to adult today.” Because although running away from a saber-toothed tiger may have helped human survival, running away from doing the hard things would’ve killed the very possibility of the modern life we have today.
Every good thing in life you take for granted came from people doing the hard thing…
Culture, society, technology, health — they are cumulatively a result of doing what’s hard, not what’s easy.
Let’s take health. Because although I said it in the big sense (health care, life extension, and so on), it’s also a great example on the individual level.
There’s a new fast-food joint being built near my neighborhood, on a corner I frequently pass with my kids while driving. We’ve watched the building going up, and discussed what it will be.
The other day, my youngest (she’s 4) was talking about trying it when it opens.
I talked to her about how we might go and try it, but that it’s the kind of food that’s not good fuel for your body, and we shouldn’t go often.
Then, as I do with all my kids, I talked about how it would probably taste very good, because it’s a kind of food that tricks our minds. It tastes good and gives us initial good feelings when we’re eating it., in large part because of the mix of fat, carbs, and salt tickles our taste buds and gives us a huge dopamine shot. But longer-term, it doesn’t give us healthy fuel and it can hurt us.
Fast food and processed food is the comfortable path. It’s easy, convenient, and tricks our mind through triggering a windfall of feel-good chemicals that make us think it’s good.
Cooking for yourself and maintaining a balanced diet of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and responsibly-sourced protein is the difficult choice.
But if you want to feel like a million bucks, take ownership of your good health, and live with minimal avoidable illness, that’s what you do.
By definition, it’s the harder path, but this should help…
Whenever you want to do what’s uncomfortable BECAUSE YOU KNOW IT’S THE BETTER WAY, you’ll have to get over some initial resistance.
And that resistance will be doubly-strong if it involves anything involving being social and interacting with others.
In other words: having an important conversation with your boss, your client, your lover, your children; putting yourself out there through speaking, making a service offering, or in some other public venue; or, a million other things.
By moving toward the discomfort, you may actually fail to get what you want. You may not be confident, and you may even embarrass yourself.
But if you do this, regularly, you will get better, more comfortable, more confident.
The process follow’s Dan Sullivan’s 4 Cs formula:
— Commitment: Make a commitment to take the action that’s uncomfortable, that you know is the right thing to do to move you forward.
— Courage: Do the courageous thing of initiating action even with the full awareness that failure is possible, perhaps likely.
— Capability: Learn as you go from both success and failure.
— Confidence: Develop real confidence through the experience of tackling difficult things.
When you know something is the right thing to do and yet it’s uncomfortable to do it, it’s likely that the big gap lies in a huge lack of confidence in your ability to succeed.
The path of least resistance is to choose the comfortable path of not doing what we’re not confident in.
But you’ll never get that confidence if you don’t earn it, through experience. And the way you do that is to commit, to act with courage, to learn the capabilities you need, and earn confidence through experience.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,