It is natural to avoid uncomfortable situations:
It is more comfortable to stay put. To stop challenging ourselves. To not take any risks. But consider what might happen if we lean into the discomfort - or, as Seth Godin says, if we choose to dance with the fear.
Sometimes, the benefits are obvious. We all know about the value of eating healthy food or exercising regularly. It is still easier to keep eating what tastes good whenever we are hungry (or whenever we are bored). And there are many times we will not feel like exercising. It would be much easier to skip the walk, the run, or the gym. But saying no to the easier choice has clear benefits.
Other times leaning into the discomfort might have unpredictable results. Like apologizing to a close friend. We cannot control their response. Or like starting the new side project we have always wanted to try. It might not work. Without a clearly defined benefit, it is even easier to say no. To avoid the potential discomfort.
Here's the catch. The most powerful positive moments in my life have almost all come from times I chose to lean into discomfort. To act in spite of the urge to stay put. Accomplishments at work, my deepest relationships, finishing a half-marathon, paying off our mortgage, side project successes, and more. They each had a point early on where the tiny voice inside was telling me to stay in my lane, don't go there, or to think about all of the ways this could backfire. Award winning projects rarely start by following the status quo. Deep relationships are full of vulnerability. Physical accomplishments take an annoying amount of discipline. Same for financial freedom. And side projects rarely work out without any risks.
Your first blog post is going to be awkward. Your first workout will be annoying. The first time you say no to superfluous spending will seem pointless. Your first sales pitch is going to get rejected. Personally opening up to somebody is going to feel embarrassing. Staying in our comfort zone is easier. It certainly feels better. But leaning into less comfort leads to a deeper, more satisfying life.
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