Steve Siebold, in his book 177 Mental Toughness Secrets talks about how champions – those with a world-class mindset – learn to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
He goes on to say that those who are ordinary – those he calls “middle class” want to be comfortable above all else.
The choice is real, and the contrast is stark.
You can cruise through life, be comfortable, and not rock the boat, and reach the end having failed to even try to do something extraordinary, or you can decide here and now that that approach is not only self-centered, but boring.
You must have realized already that growth is usually accompanied by a degree of uncomfortableness.
Physically, if you grow really fast, then you can get growing pains.
Maybe your knees will ache because they can’t keep up with that rate of growth in the rest of your body.
If you’re studying for an exam, writing a dissertation, or training for an important race, then you can experience pain, frustration, and even fatigue.
But you won’t be bored.
Look at the life of the bored.
They think that everything is great.
They spend hours watching television, even though there’s nothing on that’s worth watching.
They might spend more time discussing the plots with their friends.
They might wonder what will happen next.
It’s as if all of that matters.
It’s as if the next installment will have some huge impact on their lives.
And the truth is that none of it makes a bit of difference.
It’s as if they’re quietly drifting in a raft down a river, commenting on the alligators lying in the sun.
There’s a scene in the original Star Wars movie where Han Solo flies the Millennium Falcon into what he believes is a safe place; this after being pursued by fighters in the dark side.
It’s eerily quiet when he and Chewbacca get off the ship.
Solo makes the remark that he doesn’t have a good feeling about that place.
He fires into the ground a couple of times.
The ground heaves a little.
He and Chewbacca dash back into the Falcon and fly full throttle back out the way they came.
At the last second we see him flying out of the mouth of a giant creature.
The place of comfort was the floor of the stomach of this animal.
Those who live in order to be comfortable are like those in the Millennium Falcon who had found that “comfortable” spot except they never realize the dangers that lurk in such places.
Those who learn to be comfortably uncomfortable know that they’re growing when they feel uncomfortable.
They know that they’re doing what matters, what will make a difference, when they have to struggle to make it happen.
Think about it like this: If it – that is, anything you’re struggling to do – was easy, then everyone would be doing it.
The masses who want comfort above everything else avoid struggling if they can.
They would rather avoid pain, than gain anything.
They are unwilling to sacrifice anything in order to get anything, even if it’s only in the short term.
That’s one reason why the various lotteries are so popular.
People want to get rich quickly.
To them, there’s more pain in saving or investing over a long period of time, than spending what seems to them to be a relatively small amount of money on the possibility – however remote – that they could win a fortune.
Such thinking is normally among the masses.
It’s also nuts.
It defies any sort of common sense.
If you want to do anything significant in life, if you want to make a difference, then you have to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
But, if you equate growth with being uncomfortable, and boredom and insignificance with comfort, then you stand a much better chance of doing something that actually matters.
Make a list of the things that you do every week and month that are designed to make you more comfortable.
Examine your long term goals to see if being comfortable is among them.
Then ask yourself what you could accomplish if comfort wasn’t your goal.
You’ll be amazed at the possibilities.