Tuesday, March 1st, 2016
In our modern world, discomfort is considered a terrible thing. If not terrible, at least a thing of the past. But discomfort is good for us. Or, put another way, it tells us that something needs to be addressed. It stretches us by forcing us to view our circumstances through a wholly different lens. Because we’re drawn to safety and security, we do our best to create cushy comfort zones for ourselves and our loved ones through the cars we drive, the homes we live in, and the places we work. But by resisting discomfort, we deny ourselves an important opportunity: the chance to shake ourselves out of our predictable perspectives and allow ourselves to make astute observations we could not possibly have made before. Discomfort gives us fresh eyes.
There are some reasons why we should embrace discomfort, whether we deliberately choose it, or it simply happens to us.
- Comfort is overrated. It doesn’t lead to happiness. It makes us lazy—and forgetful. It often leads to self-absorption, boredom, and discontent.
- Discomfort is a catalyst for growth. It makes us yearn for something more. It forces us to change, stretch, and adapt.
- Discomfort is a sign we’re making progress. When you push yourself to grow, you will experience discomfort, but it will be worth it.
The creative ideas and innovative solutions that lead to coveted moments of illumination, and help to solve the thorny problems we encounter in life and on the job, don’t come from stasis. Harmony at work, for example, is good and can also spur productivity. But if it’s pursued purely for its own sake, it can function like blinders on a horse, directing our view—and our thinking—in only one direction. It can close us off to other possibilities. Sounds rather limiting, doesn’t it?
Creative thinkers aren’t afraid of discomfort because it gives them greater perspective. It opens the door to approaches they’ve never tried, or even thought of. It increases the range of their problem-solving arsenal.
Summing-up: You can either be comfortable and stagnate or stretch yourself—become uncomfortable—and grow. You may think that comfort leads to happiness. It doesn’t. Happiness comes from growth and feeling like you are making progress.