The weeks leading up to my big move can best be described by one emotion: uncomfortable.
The move went smoothly but in my head there were all kinds of things happening.
Worry over whether I’m making enough. Anxiety on whether I’m making enough to support the lifestyle I want to have. And in the back of my mind there is a sense of unease that if things go wrong, I won’t be able to recover from it.
The reason these emotions spring up stem from my experiences five years ago. I left my sales job to pursue writing only to struggle making any money and having to rely on my parents for financial support.
I’ve been living with my parents for so long that any shift to that lifestyle is unsettling.
But despite all of these emotions that I have I’m here to say one thing:
It’s okay to experience these things.
Yes, these are absolutely familiar to me. Like the time I travelled across Canada or the time I moved to Halifax for school.
There are plenty of other scenarios that made me uncomfortable over the years. But the truth is I’m not alone in this.
Maybe you’re going through a time like I am now where these worries or thoughts get to you at times. Or maybe you see change on the horizon and you’re starting to worry. Whatever the case is I want to tell you that it’s okay to feel that way. But also to embrace that.
Here is why these scenarios are okay for us to experience.
Uncomfortable Feelings Lead To Success
Human instinct tells us to remain in our own comfort zones time and again. As soon as you make shifts in your life – like a move or developing a new habit – our brain starts to resist. This mental barrier is part of the reason people give up on their dreams.
But this information can be spun around the other way. What if we actually embraced these changes? What if we embraced the process and convinced ourselves to do that?
Well, we will soon enough become successful.
This argument is presented in Amanda Lang’s book The Beauty of Discomfort. In it, she explains that discomfort is inevitable and plays a crucial part in attaining success in life. This is also pushed by many other entrepreneurs as more and more people begin to celebrate the ‘self-made’ entrepreneurs and gobble up the ‘rags to riches’ stories.
The book goes into detail talking about the methods of dealing with various negative emotions like pain, fear, frustration, and of course discomfort.
The thing is that in order to become successful in life, one has to deal with these emotions. We have to overcome our worries, anxieties and fears in order to thrive.
It’s for this reason that I used a simple coping mechanism to quell my thoughts. True, I still have my worries and doubts, but from what I know we can never truly remove those emotions. Instead, I’ve trained myself to recognize that these feelings are natural (which they are) and that it means big growth is on the way. How much of an impact depends mostly on my attitude.
If we spend too much time worrying, we miss out on the growth we could’ve achieved if we calmed ourselves and embraced being uncomfortable.
Being Uncomfortable Leads To Growth
Before we experience success though, we need to be growing ourselves. As I’ve suggested in my previous point, being uncomfortable means developing your mindset. Allowing yourself to look at situations, feelings and events in a different way.
We have all kinds of doubts that rattle and challenge us but one thing remains true in our lives. It’s something I feel people can relate to:
If you want to get something in your life that you never had before, you will have to do something that you’ve never done before.
This is something that I remind myself often as I begin to shift my habits around and free up more time away from working all the time. It’s to a point that I’m only a few weeks into living in my new apartment and I find myself asking the question
“So what should I do?”
It’s a great question to ask because it challenges me to do more than what I did when living with my parents.
All of this also makes sense when you consider what comfort zones represent as well. While we naturally cling to our comfort zones, the truth of the matter is that there is no growth there. We marvel at the place, but there is nothing new there. There is nothing new growing while we remain there.
Being Uncomfortable Encourages Other People
In researching this article one aspect that I feel doesn’t get touched on much is the fact that these actions inspire other people. One important part of our success is not only making leaps and bounds ourselves but enabling others to make those leaps and bounds as well.
This is nothing new, however, I feel many people omit that aspect. We’re quick to suggest to be ourselves, help others directly when needed, or to challenge people to do their best. But never does the advice suggest we be uncomfortable and to show us overcoming that raw emotion.
We see those in those entrepreneurial stories, but it’s one thing to read them and another to see someone going through the process in real-time.
Regardless, those stories give a similar effect. They inspire us for the time being and for some they take some of the lessons to heart and apply them. But it’s more impactful when we see it first hand.
Watching someone step out of their comfort zone and strive to do something different is inspiring no matter what. It doesn’t have to be dramatic like building a multi-million dollar business or becoming a big name celebrity. People can encourage others in a variety of ways indirectly.
It all starts with us accepting and being okay with these complex and negative emotions and spinning them into something advantageous.
Dealing With Uncomfortable Situations Is The Norm
Let’s face it, the world has been changing rapidly day after day. In order for any of us to be thriving in the world today, we need to step out into the unknown. It’s a requirement for us to challenge ourselves in new ways if we are ever looking for results.
There is a saying that I heard about a while back that until now started to make even more sense:
“The wealthiest place in the world isn’t a country, but a graveyard.”
The meaning behind this quote is that millions of people have had ideas welling up in their heads that they never took action in making those visions a reality.
It’s a powerful quote, but it also speaks about the state of being uncomfortable. It solidifies the fact that we need to be more and more uncomfortable as we continue to develop and grow as a human race.
With every step in human advancement we make, the more that we need to step out and stretch the limits of other people’s work and progress.
In other words, in order for us to grow ourselves and challenge others, we need to push our own limits and be uncomfortable. It’s all the more reason for us to embrace being uncomfortable.
One other way to describe it is to quote Psychology Today:
“In order to thrive in today’s chaotic world, we must be willing to change our relationship to change and be ready for a paradigm shift.”
Look at all the great people who have brought change over the years. From new ways of thinking to new industries, those came from people who built their work off of others and created something incredible.
Facebook and the whole social media industry wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Friendster and Myspace dominating the market in the past.
We Find A Sense Of Belonging Soon Enough
Being okay with being uncomfortable will soon lead to us changing and accepting our new lot in life. One writer on Odyssey Online wrote about their experience in changing to a new job and stepping out of their comfort zone.
“… the more I let my inhibitions and fears of screwing up leave me, the easier things became. My feet are getting used to the extensive hours of standing and walking, and I’m making friends within and outside of my crew. I’m beginning to really feel like I belong here, and it’s because I’m allowing myself to relax.”
The emotions that they’re experiencing aren’t that different for us as well. As I’m spending more time living on my own, I’m constantly reminding myself that this is my life now and that I’ve changed it.
Sure the change is small and familiar to a degree, it’s still a big deal for me. I’ve been depending on my parents for five years of my life. It does a lot to your overall attitude when you had that dependence but not anymore.
As time goes on, we slowly begin to accept this new way of life and get comfortable with it. My argument is if this process is inevitable if we stick to it long enough, so why not try to mentally trick ourselves to speed up this process?
Why don’t we find some ways to be comfortable with these unsettling emotions in a faster and more productive way?
Reminding ourselves of this cycle I feel is crucial as the faster we get through that cycle, the faster we reap the benefits that lack of comfort brings us.
A broader mind.
A feeling of belongingness.
It’s Okay To Be Uncomfortable These Days
Lack of comfort provides a substantial amount of growth, and change. There is no doubt today that we need this in our lives as we see lack of comfort brings change, success, growth in others, and a deeper sense of belonging and more.
I don’t know about you but that’s more than enough reason for me to accept this new life of mine and strive to make the most of it moving forward.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon