Getting Uncomfortable

Human comfort has become a booming industry and a way of life in modern society.

The push of a button or the pop of a pill can pacify nearly any discomfort. Our cars are ergonomically designed, often including a duplicate set of controls on the steering wheel to avoid the agony of leaning over 14 inches to adjust the volume of the high-performance stereo.

Our lives have become so comfortable that it’s easy to dismiss even the slightest bit of adversity.

We also seek safety and comfort in our careers. We look for stability and cringe when our ideas are challenged. We protest, “Why should I push myself or my organization forward? That’s uncomfortable!”

No kidding. Most progress is rather uncomfortable. In fact, your best life is waiting for you just outside your comfort zone. That’s where learning and advancement occur. That’s where you expand as a person and can make giant leaps forward. Our biggest moments of growth often come directly from our darkest moments of adversity.

But wait — “I’m not comfortable with that.”

People often ponder the purpose of life. To me, the purpose of life is to lead a life with a purpose.

While each of us may pursue our own calling — ranging from education to business to science to the arts — we all share one common purpose: to maximize our full potential and to leave the biggest possible impact on the world. That is your most important job, and the only way to fulfill this responsibility is to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

On a daily basis, you have dozens of chances to take the route of ease or the route of possibility. As the saying goes, “Growth and comfort seldom ride the same horse.” When you are faced with these choices, commit to doing the right thing instead of the easy thing. The path that may feel scary at first is what will lead to your biggest breakthroughs. Your most profound opportunities. Your best self.

There’s nothing wrong with your roller-bag with a form-fitting handle, the local deli that delivers, or the warmth of your new 600-thread-count sheets. Savor the comfort of these external things so you can harness your strength to push the boundaries of personal and professional growth.

The next time you object to a bold new initiative because you’re too uncomfortable, pause and realize that that very emotion is really a big neon sign proclaiming “Progress ahead — proceed with vigor.” Your biggest risk in life isn’t going too far; it’s not going far enough.

Once you have the courage to lose sight of certainty, you can get on with the real work. As prickly as it may feel, you must never relent. And remember, if you were to do anything less … it would make me extremely uncomfortable.