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Seeking Discomfort

March 26, 2012

It’s so easy in life to gravitate towards what is easy and comfortable. It takes much less effort than challenging ourselves and trying something different. By taking the easy route, we can just coast along.

However, I’ve learned by my own experience and by absorbing the writings of others that seeking comfort does not lead to a life that is fulfilling, purposeful, and impactful.

Here are a few reasons why that is and why it’s good to seek discomfort:

1. You’ll have fewer regrets. The path that is comfortable is going to be the path that is right in front of you, the one that has been laid out by circumstances and those around you. However, if you blindly coast down this path, you’re going to get to the end of your life with plenty of deathbed regrets.

2. You won’t be stuck with a boring life. By doing what is easy and comfortable, we tend to not give it our 100% and settle into a life that’s pretty mediocre. It’s better to learn, expand, and hone our life skills. Tackle some new challenges, take on a new adventure.

3. You’ll be more prepared for the unexpected. By coasting along and just taking whatever comes down the pike, we become quite vulnerable. Mike Zimmerman says, “Once you gravitate towards comfort, you tend to assume the status quo, and that can leave you unprepared for the moment when your world tanks.” Seeking out discomfort will help keep you sharp.

Even though it’s not easy or, well, comfortable to seek discomfort, in the end, it will get us to where we want to go.

Question: Have you ever sought discomfort? What effect did it have on you?

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24 Comments

  • Reply Ann J Musico March 27, 2012 at 7:03 am

    The very beginning of your post brought a scripture to mind – Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Very much what you are saying – the broad road is the one right in front of us – laid out by circumstances and those around us. Choosing the narrow path – to seek discomfort is counter-intuitive – who looks for discomfort? But in the end provides more satisfaction.

    Doing what I am doing is definitely not what is expected at my stage in life. Instead of slowing down and looking to take things easier after raising a family for all these years – I am gearing up to create something new and loving every minute.

    • Reply Michael Good March 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      Ann, that’s so neat that you’re gearing up for what’s bound to be a new and exciting chapter, maybe the best one yet! Your energy and enthusiasm is contagious and encouraging.

      And thanks for sharing that scripture. Wow, what a great life lesson that is. So much truth in that book.

  • Reply Cindy Hirch March 27, 2012 at 8:05 am

    Michael – I did not intentionally seek discomfort, but with a very intentional decision made in June of 2009 it found me. It shadows me at every corner even today. Sometimes I voice, while doing a lot of whining, -:) that something “normal and comfortable” would feel great. BUT then the reality is that I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had not made that decision. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I had stayed in my comfort zone.

    • Reply Michael Good March 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm

      Cindy, thanks for the input. OK, I got to ask! What was that big decision?! (if it’s not too personal)

      I think it’s awesome that you went for it. It sounds like you are better for it and I’m sure you’re positively influencing more people as well.

      • Reply Cindy Hirch March 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm

        Hi Michael – I’m happy to share but it it’s too long to write here. I’ve included a link to my blog site with the post that best describes that decision and how it has impacted my life so dramatically (hope you don’t mind…not trying to promote me.) The website is also something that came out of that very difficult time; it was just launched two weeks ago. Additionally, I was diagnosed with cancer during this time which I didn’t mention in that post. I’m fine now. -:)

        http://cindyhirch.com/a-season-of-reflection-and-change/

        • Reply Michael Good March 28, 2012 at 6:14 am

          Cindy,
          That is a great story! That took courage on so many levels. Not only did you have to deal with your own doubts and fears, but then you had the voices of others telling you what they thought you should do as well.

          I love that you approached it with no regrets and look what happened! You’re at a better place than you ever thought you’d be. Plus, you got to spend those precious moments with your mother that you would have never been able to get back had you missed them. What a great story! (And, of course, I don’t mind the link).

          Thanks for sharing.

          • Cindy Hirch March 28, 2012 at 8:49 am

            Thanks Michael! I will say that it’s been one roller coaster ride. -:) Your blog on this subject actually inspired me to write my own blog yesterday. -:)

  • Reply dpyates March 27, 2012 at 11:17 am

    I love the post! This is the year I am planning some big changes in my life. It’s difficult to step outside my comfort zone, but I know if I don’t, I will have regrets. I don’t want to come to the end of my life and say, “why didn’t I at least try ….”. Thanks for your inspiration. I love to be surrounded by blogs, emails, etc. that give me inspiration and encouragement.

    • Reply Michael Good March 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      Thanks for the input, dpyates. I think it’s awesome that you’re going for it! Even if everything doesn’t workout, you’re still going to be glad you at least tried it. No regrets!

      It’s like what @peekchris said here in the comments, “New experiences and challenges can lead us to discover our passions, but we can’t unearth them if we constantly stay in comfort.”

      I’m glad we could be of encouragement to you. It’s all the feedback like this that I in turn find encouraging. So, thanks.

      What are some of the big changes you have coming up?

  • Reply Chris Peek March 27, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Nice post, especially in light of my recent encounter that we’ve talked about. Since I’ve started getting a little more uncomfortable, I now relish in the unexpected. New experiences and challenges can lead us to discover our passions, but we can’t unearth them if we constantly stay in comfort.

    • Reply Michael Good March 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Chris,
      Yeah, totally. For introverts like you and me, it’s so easy to not put ourselves out there, especially socially. But I’ve found when I “snap myself out of it” and do, I’m energized, more optimistic, and creative. Love it, Chris!

  • Reply Joe Lalonde March 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    All the time Michael! I enjoy the feeling of discomfort and being in awkward situations.

    My biggest recent regret is that my wife and I didn’t complete the mountain hike we attempted this past summer. It was in a beautiful part of New Hampshire and the views were breathtaking. The uncomfortable part was the rain and the cold.

    We were drenched. We were cold. So were our friends. We were so close to summiting the mountain but we turned around instead.

    My wife and I now have the goal of returning and completing it. Comfortable or not, we will do it!

    • Reply Michael Good March 28, 2012 at 6:26 am

      Haha Joe,
      I love that you enjoy the feeling of discomfort! I think that’s awesome. It’s people like you that are so fun to be around because we can see that you’re excited and embracing life to its fullest.

      That hiking trip sounds like quite an adventure! I haven’t been in a situation quite like yours but I’ve been hiking in the rain before and know that it’s not very fun.

      Very cool that you’re planning on going back. Do you know when?

      • Reply Joe Lalonde March 28, 2012 at 8:29 am

        The trip was quite an adventure. 15+ hours of driving, talking to locals to find a great spot to hike/camp the night, and seeing sites we’ve never seen before. The original plan had been to hike in Maine but that got nixed. Both states were awesome areas.

        Most likely next year or the year after. It all depends on the time that we can get off of work and what else happens in our life. But it is something that is on our “To Finish” list.

  • Reply Mike McDade March 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Great post Michael. I am glad I found your site. Death bed regrets are some of the most punishing effects we will ever feel in this life. I choose not to experience that in my life. Thanks for the reminder and keep writing, enjoyed the read.

    • Reply Michael Good March 28, 2012 at 6:16 am

      Mike,
      Thanks for the input! You’re right, and the thing with deathbed regrets is that, at the end of your life, it’s too late. You can’t do anything about them. Thanks for the kind words as well!

  • Reply Marianne Clements March 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Michael,

    I was very comfortable in my corporate job — I liked the work, I liked the people and I liked the location. BUT GOD had other plans for me. All of that changed about a year ago and my husband and I agreed that God was kicking me out of my nest so I could learn how to fly. Everything I do is new and that is a very uncomfortable feeling, but I know it’s going to pay off in the future. I have no regrets.

    Have a Victorious Day!
    Marianne Clements
    Victory Christian Coaching

  • Reply Kent Julian March 29, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Every time I go out for a run, the first 5-8 minutes aren’t too comfortable. But knowing that I’ll feel more energized and alive at the end of a good run (and even during the run) is worth it.

    I find this to be true in most endeavors that are valuable, whether they be personal, relational, professional, or spiritual. Anything worthwhile and valuable requires an investment, but the investment is worth the price because it returns…VALUE!

  • Reply robclinton March 29, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Yes! doing things that stretch me are never comfortable at first, but once there I’ve entered a whole new arena. I feel like I’m always trying something that is beyond me in some way, but I know I need to do it in order to get better than I was. This whole year so far has been about stretching and producing releases every month, and when I pulled off that first one in January I new I could do it again.

    • Reply Michael Good March 30, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      Awesome, Rob. That’s exactly right. If we stay comfortable, we’re not going to get any better. What are some of the new things you’re doing?

      • Reply robclinton April 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm

        Well, the big goal was to get something out every month this year, which I’ve never released anything before, and so far I’ve hit my target with a new product every month this year.

        I’m getting into Video producing now, which you two have been part of what’s helped inspire me to do something there. I’ve just never been good with the camera, and now I’m making myself do it. This Friday I’m going to do about 5 shots for next weeks posts in different locations. The video thing is a huge stretch for me, but I want to do it…

        I’m always stretching the distance on my running. I’m about at marathon distance now, and I just need to make it official and get the medal, and then strive for an Ultra.

        • Reply Michael Good April 4, 2012 at 8:51 am

          Rob,

          I had to look up what an ultramarathon was. Wow! That’s awesome!

          I’m excited about you doing the videos. Just remember that your first videos, in actuality, won’t be as bad as you think they are. That’s what I found anyway. I remember thinking the were really bad, but looking back I can see that they weren’t as bad as I remembered.

          You’re going to get to the end of the year and be able to look back and see that you’ve accomplished a TON of stuff. That’s going to be great!

          • robclinton April 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm

            I think you’re right! I’m so looking forward to seeing what happens. This is going to be an exciting year. And yeah, thanks on the Ultra… That’s definitely a goal as soon I make this 26.2 official in a race. We just keep increasing don’t we? Life’s all about increase. Increasing ourselves and everyone around us… Love it!

          • Michael Good April 5, 2012 at 8:22 pm

            As Tony Robbins put it, “CANI” – constant and never-ending improvement.

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