One of the greatest growth lessons I was introduced to in 2011, while on a leadership exchange programme in the States was this: Be comfortable being uncomfortable.
It’s a mind-blowing phrase. And one of the ideas neglected too often by serious people: we spend too much time acquiring technical skills, but too less practicing the one virtue that will make those skills effective in the world.
Recently, my American mom – my host mom – in one of her occasional mentorship emails, reminded me to remember and practice the power of this wonderful idea (I shared with her my fascination with it immediately I was introduced).
I want to copy here below part of her email which I think will provide a greater insight:
…So, don’t ever get too discouraged by the hardness of it all. Or, by the often expressed negativity of others that may surround you (we are ALL dealing with this in today’s world- those voices of a small minority seem to drown the voices of so many doing good too often, and we can’t let those voices dominate!)
No one ever said it would be easy.
Remember the bold statement: “Get comfortable being uncomfortable”
I must confess I think of that saying several times a day as so many things I too am doing have made me feel very uncomfortable.
And yet I have forged ahead as I know bigger and more important things are at stake, than me being worried about myself, or feeling uncomfortable, or unpopular.
But, it is those kids/people who stick with it even when it gets really really hard, that ultimately change not only themselves. But positively impact the lives of their loved ones, their future, and ultimately the world around them! (Like Martin Luther King, Ghandi, … and other great leaders from our past).
Practically, no one wants to relish the thought of feeling uncomfortable when opportunities exist for giving up. Yet, majority of achievers have done so under the hardest of circumstances.
The hardness of it all is a blessing in disguise. It comes to help us open up to unimaginable possibilities, being vulnerable to unexpected changes, being compassionate with ourselves when times are tough, giving ourselves some extra love and kindness no matter what happens, and being grateful for the opportunity to experience it all.
When our view of the world as a comfortable place, or as a certain type of place, has been shattered, we are forced to restart our perspective on things. We suddenly have the opportunity to look out to the periphery and see things with a fresh set of beginner’s eyes again, which is extremely beneficial to our personal and professional growth.
Personally, most of the things I try to do often gets uncomfortable. While writing this blog always seem to come natural to me, sometimes stories don’t come at all. But I don’t fail to show up. I develop mental toughness, I celebrate the situation and make fun out of it. I go one step beyond. That hardship becomes my mental resistance training.
The underlying secret is to completely embrace reality and the broad range of experiences we encounter on the journey of life, taking the good with the bad. This includes all of our emotions, all of our ups and downs, all of our blissful moments and painful ones, and the entirety of everything in between. Life is not just rainbows and butterflies. It’s intricate, complicated, and remarkable.
Remember these words: No one ever said it would be easy.