I have written other times about how you gain strength through adversity. How you need to have stress added to your current situation to become stronger. If we look at that with a running analogy you would say something like…
Running an easy mile at a 11 minute pace everyday for a year won’t make you a better 5K runner. What will make you a better 5K runner is pushing yourself and adding distance and eventually push even farther by adding speed with that new distance. Over time the stress you are adding to your workout will make you a stronger runner. Staying at the same comfortable 11 min pace, 1 mile each day doesn’t make you a stronger runner. It can only maintain you at the level you are already.
That seems logical, right? If so, why does it seem so hard for us to wrap our minds around that idea that if we want to become better at other areas of our life we have to get uncomfortable. Maybe you are in a job that is comfortable but will never take you to the place you want to be. It may be time to start looking for ways to get uncomfortable. Maybe you are in a relationship that is comfortable, but you already know that the other person isn’t your future spouse. It is most likely time to get uncomfortable.
We have been conditioned to think that we all have a certain set of rights. Those rights have become distored so bad that we think comfort is a right. Do we have the right to have a comfortable life? Is it supposed to be our goal to be comfortable? I was in my late 30s before I was mature enough to understand this, but I believe our comfort is not only unneccesary, but harmful. When we get comfortable we get lazy. When we get lazy we quit trying to become a better version of ourselves. That is the real danger.
If you don’t carry a strong desire to become a better version of yourself you have a zero percent chance of a life lived to your potential. I am not saying you can’t take some time and enjoy the rewards of what you have accomplished. I am saying you can’t set and stare at those rewards so long that they are no longer relevant.
A friend of mine talked the other night about her accomplishments in high school. She took all the upper level classes and did good enough to get a really nice scholarship for college. She was really proud of what she had done. She carried those accomplishments with her (figuratively) to college. You could say that she was really comfortable with the situation she had put herself in. Unfortunately, the professor at college didn’t know what classes she took in high school. The students in her classes didn’t know that she had a scholarship. She found out real quick that she had to put in a ton of work, more than ever before to keep improving herself. Those high school accomplishments were great, for high school. They had zero relevance in college.
I love to tell people about my high school basketball days. If I haven’t told you already I started varsity basketball for 3 years. I had lots of accomplishments in high school. Unfortunately for me I got really comfortable in those accomplishments and I lived in that comfortable spot for years. When I got to college I didn’t make the switch as well as my friend did. I lived in my comfort. I had no real motivation to improve myself and I didn’t take college serious. Because of that I only went for about 2 years.
My life was too comfortable. It prevented me from pushing for something more. I got lucky and had some skills that landed me in a good job in a secure line of work, but I could have very easily gone a different route. So the next time you are debating doing something that will be hard, think about what is stopping you. Is it because you are too comfortable and you don’t want to mess up your comfort?
I can promise you that being comfortable is not going to help you lose weight. Being comfortable is not going to help you get a better job. Being comforable is not going to help you become a better person. So lets stop focusing on our comfort and see what changes start to happen. If you want to get really crazy start focusing on the comfort of someone you love. Find ways to make their life more comfortable and see if that doesn’t have a positive impact on both of you.
Run Richmond has created a team that will be traveling to the Kentucky Speedway on Saturday to compete in the Tough Mudder. I had no real desire to do a Tough Mudder. I was asked to go with someone else and I decided to get out of my comfort zone and give it a try. This is now a common part of my life. When someone ask me to do something that will push me I try my best to make it happen. I could give you a long list of things that in the last 10 years have put my way outside of my comfort zone. Almost every one of those things I can look back on today and see how I was moved forward and became a better person because of the decision to get out of my comfort zone.
This shirt is what our Tough Mudder team will be wearing on Saturday. If you can’t read it the slogan is LIFE BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. That has sort of become my motto. I want to become a better version of myself and I know that for that to happy I have to get uncomfortable. So that is what I will keep doing.