One of the most important lessons I have learned in the past year is the amount of value found in chasing discomfort.
Most of our lives are spent firmly confined in a self-created comfort zone. Comfort zones make us feel safe, secure and stable. But the comfort zone we perceive to be protecting us is actually holding us back from living our greatest life.
Stepping out of the comfort zone is never easy, but it is always rewarding.
Look at the projects on your plate right now and ask which make you feel the least comfortable. I’m willing to bet that these are the things that will make the biggest impact in your life right now; but you put them off because they are overwhelming, scary or intimidating.
But whilst these feelings are uncomfortable, they are precisely what makes these experiences so important. Forcing yourself to step out of your comfort zone and deal with them if the first step you can take towards changing your life for the better.
How long have your big ideas been sitting there waiting for you to take action? How long have you put them off, procrastinated, filled your time with other meaningless shit that doesn’t get you any closer to your goals?
Now think of the conversations you’ve been meaning to have, whether that’s at work or in your personal life. The ones that make you feel the most uncomfortable are probably the most important ones to be had. Being brave enough to have uncomfortable conversations will allow you to have more trust in your relationships, deeper connections with friends and family, and more success at work. But most people avoid uncomfortable conversations because they are, well, uncomfortable.
The same logic applies to the gym. The workouts that are the most uncomfortable are the ones that deliver the fastest results. The last rep beyond your comfort zone is the one that forces your body to adapt and grow stronger.
Step out and grow
In every area of our lives; the more we step out of our comfort zone, the faster we grow. Which is why the main thing that separates an ordinary life from an extraordinary one is the ability to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Anyone can do the easy stuff, but very few want to do the things that make them feel uncomfortable. This is what makes you different. By doing the things that others don’t want to do you create a life that is infinitely more fulfilling, more rewarding, and more successful than those who stay within the safety of their comfort zone.
On one side of the comfort zone you have stability, security and predictability. On the other you have adventure, reward, growth, and fulfilment. Very few people are brave enough to venture there. But when you do, the magic really starts to happen.
12 months from now you will look back at the things that were once uncomfortable and realise that they are now things you take for granted on a daily basis. You’ll be blown away by all the challenges you have overcome, the relationships you have enhanced, and the goals you have accomplished in such a short period of time, all by facing one uncomfortable task or conversation.
A life lived within the confines of your comfort zone is a safe life, a predictable life, but ultimately, an unfulfilling one. And I know that deep down, that is not what you are seeking. So next time you feel discomfort, don’t hide away from it. Run towards it. And just watch how much greater your life becomes.