The value of Discomfort

No one likes pain and discomfort, do they? I suspect most do not, but I think that many, including me, have found value in experiencing pain and discomfort in our personal and professional lives. Today, I intend to share a little more about my own experiences and some of my research and reading on this topic. The adage, “no pain, no gain” is pretty accurate when you look at things realistically.

Michael Easter’s book “The Comfort Crisis” is a great read if you want a primer on dealing with discomfort. Easter talks about a wide variety of issues around pain, challenge, and discomfort and he also introduces a concept called the Misogi. Easter’s version of the misogi is to set a goal that is so lofty that the odds of completion are less than 50 percent. I call that the ultimate stretch goal. Setting these lofty goals it will push us to do more than we might typically do when pushing toward a future state. I have not set any Misogis yet, but I see the value and may have one eventually.<a href="">Image by brgfx on Freepik</a>

My own life has had several areas of challenge that have made me stronger and more resilient. The first I remember is when I lost my job in 1983, followed closely by the passing of my father 8 days later. While this time was not fun, the process helped me understand that all endings can lead to new beginnings, especially in the world of work. Losing a parent is never easy, but that helped me think more about what I wanted to be when I became a father and I hope my sons have found value in my way of raising them when they were younger as well as now. I also dealt with thyroid cancer in 1989, but the long-term prognosis was good and the treatment was manageable and short. I have been blessed to have had no long-term issues.

Resilience is a topic I have written and talked about recently and discomfort and challenge build resilience. I see our world now as one where we try too hard to remove challenges and obstacles for others rather than helping them work through these challenges. I can say that my growth has been aided by the challenges and obstacles I have had to fight through, many with the help of others, and each challenge has made me stronger and more resilient.

How has discomfort aided you?

What challenges have you overcome?

Don’t take the easy road if you want to become stronger. Challenge and discomfort are the true path to growth.