The trails of life can be unknown and unpredictable at times. We need to understand that life is not always how we would like it to be, but it is always how it is. We may become very uncomfortable with the paths that we travel, so we need to choose to enjoy those journeys even in less than ideal conditions. Change makes all of us a bit uncomfortable, even if the outcome of that change is beneficial long-term. As our global community rapidly changes, as we eluded to yesterday, we must learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. That is the trail that we will travel together in today’s Wisdom Note.
This inspiring principle is actually taken from the Navy SEALS, as one of their mantras is “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” Why is this so important? In your business and in your life, if you want to learn, grow, and succeed, you will have to go through a process of being uncomfortable to achieve growth. Anyone familiar with farming knows that in order to have a crop, the original seed is destroyed through the growth process. Also, Jesus confirms this principle in John 12:24, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels — a plentiful harvest of new lives.”
“Growth and success in life only comes after you have pushed and challenged yourself.”
Let’s look at three practical examples:
- If you want to be physically fit, if you want to be healthy, or if you want to be somebody who has a lot of energy, what is required? You must exercise and work out on a regular basis. Many people go to a gym so they have the proper equipment and are able to stay focused. But, the gym is not somewhere you go for comfort. It’s somewhere you go to get really uncomfortable for an hour, or a half an hour, or maybe for some of you, a couple of hours. You are going to push yourself. You’re going to see how much weight you can lift, how long you can run, or how hard you can push your body. During that time it’s going to be wildly uncomfortable. But, on the back side of that discomfort is better health, better energy, and a better physical appearance.
- Tied to being physically fit, if you desire to be healthy, you must eat what is good and healthy for you, which will mean preparing your own meals using fresh, healthy, and whole foods. You’ll also have to turn away from comfort foods and other food items that may taste good as you are eating them but do major damage to your body, including the side effect of gaining weight. You have to be comfortable with feeling hungry and being uncomfortable until your body adapts to the new types of food that you consume.
- To be successful in business requires hard work, dedication, and, at times, long hours with very little reward. You have to stretch yourself and learn. You have to be willing to risk the rejection and receive a lot of “no” in order to get to the potential for a “yes.” The success is only going to come after you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone.
So, how do we prepare ourselves? How do we train to be uncomfortable so that we can actually get comfortable with our discomfort?
Learn Something New
Always push yourself to learn something new in any area of life. Maybe try learning how to cook differently or gradually work up from walking to running. Any time you push yourself, you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone in a particular area of life and starting to build success. As you start to have some success in that area, you can take what you’ve learned there and apply it to other areas of your life.
Recruit the Help of Others
Maybe it’s a coach, trainer, or an accountability partner. It’s somebody else who can help push you and who can help keep you accountable so that you don’t slip and fall on this new trail in your life. That person can also be right alongside you learning that same sport or that new hobby or that new skill at the same time as you so you’re pushing and motivating each other.
Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
Break It Down
Sometimes when we step outside of our comfort zones, we can get really overwhelmed with everything we need to learn and everything we need to do. It can start to weigh us down, it can overwhelm any of us, no matter how adaptable to change we are. Navy Seal Mark Owen talks about this in his life when he got into the Navy SEAL boot camp. He says, “Man, I was so overwhelmed. But what I did is I broke everything down into small little bite-sized chunks. It was like, If I can make it to breakfast, I’ll be okay.” And when he got to breakfast, and he survived breakfast, he said, “Now I just need to make it to lunch.” And then, “Now I just need to make it to dinner.” And then after dinner was over, “I just have to do it again tomorrow.” He took it one day at a time, one step at a time. You don’t have to do it all right away.
Go For It
At some point, you just have to go for it. You’re just going to have to go all in. You can’t try this. You can’t keep going, “Well, I’ll just do a little bit here, a little bit there…” At some point, you’re just going to have to say “I’m in! I’m going to make this happen. I’m going to risk discomfort because this is something that I want and that is so important to me.” And when you do that, you’re going to find that you’re actually capable of so much more than you ever believed.
As we make progress on the uncomfortable trails of life, let’s follow the Apostle Paul’s words in his letter to the church in Rome in Chapter 5 verses 3-4, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”
So here’s what I want to leave you with. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. If you want to be successful in business and in life, get comfortable with your discomfort.