• Colin Mobey

Comfort and discomfort...mortal enemies or secret lovers?

Why does it matter how comfort and discomfort get on with each other?

There’s a lot of information about comfort levels and how you should push from comfort to discomfort.

Which makes it sound like discomfort only exists if you let it. If you go find it.

That’s an assumption that could be holding you back.

There’s actually a relationship between the two. Comfort and discomfort actually influence each other.

A lot.

Which means they must both exist.

All the time.

There’s often an assumption that discomfort is bad. It’s a form of pain. Pain is bad.

But, anyone vaguely interested in self-development knows a level of discomfort is needed to develop.

Most people would agree that anyone evolving, progressing, being successful, is always experiencing a level of discomfort.

It’s how they move forward.

But what about people at the other end of the scale?

Those that don’t want to have discomfort in their life.

That just want to be comfortable.

Do they not have any discomfort in their life?

Here’s the rub: everyone is uncomfortable some of the time.

In fact, probably close to 50% of the time.

Because comfort and discomfort go together.

You can’t have one without the other.

Once you grasp that, the next revelation is to be found in the relationship between them.

Let’s start with those who may not know they’re uncomfortable.

Most people see no harm in watching a bit of Netflix. Or taking some time out to play an app on their phone. Maybe scroll through social media. Or another glass of wine.

It’s comfortable. No uncomfortableness to be found here.

Or is there…

You tell yourself the comfort is a reward for having done a hard days work. You didn’t enjoy the days work, but you’ll enjoy the time with your reward.

All good.

Then, something gnaws at you.

You start to feel a bit crap about the amount of time you spent being comfortable. 

You scrolled way too long through your feed to the point where you overtook the day’s memories from 3 years ago. You clicked ‘next’ on Netflix rather than ‘off. You found yourself saying ‘just one more game’ on that damn game…

Worse, thoughts about what you could have done with that time creep in.

Just the odd one, but it really spoils the mood.

Discomfort can be a clever bastard.

It doesn’t hesitate to point out your ‘comfortable’ time really should have been used to do something productive.

That a few minutes, maybe an hour, was okay, but not the amount of time you spent on it.

That instead of watching another episode of the latest much-watch series, you could have looked through the latest job adverts…

Or instead of doing the cleaning, you could have worked on your CV…

Or instead of sifting though emails, you could have looked into that opportunity at work that could open doors…

Or instead of going for another coffee with your friend, you could have phone that woman who’d set up her own business and asked her if she’d meet for a coffee…

It sows the seed of guilt.

Sometimes you can tell it to do one.

Nothing wrong with doing that…occasionally.

But how often are you doing it? 

How loud is discomfort’s voice getting?

How comfortable is your comfort, really?

It’s called the discomfort of stagnation.

When you’re experiencing this you discomfort is saying:

“Enjoy this now, because you won’t enjoy it soon…oh, have I stopped you enjoying it now…mwuuuhahahaha”

(it twirls it’s moustache while it does this)

Let’s look at everyone else now. Those willing to be uncomfortable.

Even the happiest, most content people still have moments where they’re sad or frustrated or simply bored. They could be lacking something in their creative life, with their relationships, or they might still get bored with certain aspects of their work. 

They might simply want more.

They’re still willing to experience discomfort to get more.

They’ve chosen a different type of discomfort.

A different flavour.

In fact, they’ve had several flavours. They’ve not just stuck with the same flavour, or changed it just the once. They’ve kept changing it.

They’ve grown.

When they’re comfortable, their discomfort is simply saying:

“Hey, love what we’re doing, but when are we getting back to moving forward dude?”

(then it goes out on its board and catches some waves)

The difference between these types of people is the relationship between their comfort and discomfort.

Simply put: one supports; one infects.

So what do you do about it?

Give up the idea that you should be able to feel good all the time.

Then embrace the idea that you can make those moments of discomfort work to your advantage.

Decide to choose the type of discomfort you’re going to have.

You’re going to be uncomfortable anyway, so have some control over it.

Make it work for you.

Choose growth over stagnation.

The discomfort of growth is always preferable to the discomfort of stagnation.
Brooke Castillo, The Life Coach School.
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