Uncomfortable Progress

A revealing reason why we don’t progress as much as we’d like in most things is our desire for comfort. We seek too much of it all the time. I’m guilty as anyone.

You get in your car on a hot day? You turn on the A/C. Have to get to the second floor? Take the escalator or elevator. Don’t feel like reading the whole article? You’ll just skim it.

The desire for comfort is baked in. It seems to be in our DNA. It’s one of technology’s biggest challenges: To make life easier. Heck we don’t even need to click or flick a switch anymore. We can just ask our voice-enabled devices to do it for us! We’re actually living the dreams of those visionaries years ago.

Where Does Comfort Get Us?

Of course some things in life are better when they’ve become easier. Our day-to-day lives can become hectic so a better, more effective way to doing things is a no-brainer. As long as they serve essential purposes to help progress ourselves in a positive way forward.

Medicine, transportation, food safety, and communication are just a few that come to mind.

But what about too much comfort? What about hoarding every possible process for the sake of comfort and comfort alone? Where does that really get us? Are we missing out on something?

Many decades ago things were definitely tougher. More physical labor, longer processes, and (by today’s standards) inefficient, slow progress was made.

But certain areas of life need discomfort in order to properly move us out of our comfort zone, progress, and subsequently grow. No matter how “domesticated” we become (or desire to become) we still need certain challenges in life in order to truly learn important, valuable lessons.


A Purpose for Discomfort

In a world of hacks, tricks, and shortcuts it’s tough to escape the “easy” trap. We seem to constantly seek the easier, faster, and less effort sides of things. But with discomfort or going through challenges we grow and become better. Just look at a few things that are traditionally seen as uncomfortable and you’ll be hard-pressed to find any “hack,” alternative, or workaround.

Study for a significant amount of focused time for better grades.

Completely reverse the order of exercises in your workout to avoid stagnation.

Get a stand up desk for better posture.

Instead of your normal slow jog, opt for a series of all-out sprints.

Leave the house without your phone for more real-world interaction.

Take a cool (or cold) shower to mix things up.

Read a book. An actual book for less distraction.

Try a training routine you’ve never done before.


Embrace the Uncomfortable and Make it Familiar

Make discomfort your new norm. Don’t shy away. Take on new challenges, gut through it, and adopt a new perspective of growth. The only true way to get better is to just go through the muck, the sometimes long, hard road and come out on the next level. No hacks. No shortcuts.

Most things worth having in life require hard, uncomfortable work.

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