Much of my life has been spent in the pursuit of comfort. Growing up, television shows, magazines, and marketers greatly influenced my perception about “success” and working to live a “life of leisure.”
It has taken a few decades, but I have finally learned that there is way more to life than “being comfortable” and the never-ending pursuit of things, which we are told will make us happy.
We live in an ever softening culture that tries to avoid pain and discomfort as much as possible.
People are inundated with products, apps, food, entertainment, and other distractions designed to help them avoid or mask discomfort.
I get it.
Pain is not fun. Nobody likes to be uncomfortable.
BUT, is avoiding all pain as much as possible a good thing?
Do elite athletes avoid the pain and discomfort required to be great at their craft?
Do Navy Seals avoid the pain and discomfort required to be do their job?
Is All Pain Bad?
There are different types of pain and discomfort – some good, and some bad.
Pain that comes from abuse, injury, disease, over-training and other unhealthy forms of discomfort should be avoided because they are not healthy.
There is another type of discomfort that often leads to growth – self-discipline. Acting with discipline is not fun and can even be uncomfortable or painful at the time, but the reward is usually worth it.
All Growth Happens Outside Our Comfort Zone
This is true in every area of life.
We do not grow when things are easy. Growth is only possible when we are stretched to do things we have never done before.
Sometimes life throws circumstances that force us to grow.
Other times, we can choose bouts of discomfort to engage the mechanism of growth.
I like to call these bouts – Growth Pain.
Whether it is mastering a new skill, improving fitness, taking a career risk, or a host of other challenges, no growth happens unless we are willing to take a risk and endure some level of pain.
Learning to endure discomfort is a skill.
Our minds and bodies can be conditioned to it with practice.
Each day I try to incorporate at two bouts of Growth Pain into my day. Bouts often include:
- Working out
- Cold exposure
- Intermittent or extended fasting
This daily practice has helped me get tougher mentally and physically. These daily bouts of Growth Pain have become a habit and something I will look forward to each day.
Look forward to?
Yes, because I know what the Growth Pain yields – quality growth than can only happen as a result of the discomfort.
Growth Pain Results in Getting Better Today
We will all experience pain.
As much as possible, I want to choose the pain that I will endure.
In my experience, Growth Pain is much less painful than the pain of regret and other types of self-inflicted pain that results from poor choices.
Remember that cliche that made its way around social media – “Life is hard. Choose your hard. Pick wisely”?
There is much truth to this statement, and it directly applies to the decision to grow through the strategic use of Growth Pain.
Choose your pain. Pick wisely.