Why Discomfort is really a Friend

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” – M. Scott Peck

Most human beings try to avoid discomfort at all costs. I think it is in our makeup to seek comfort. The mistake we make is in believing that we are supposed to be without discomfort. It’s not possible. Comfort is a beautiful thing, but it must have an opposite because everything in life requires balance. The absence of discomfort would take away many of the things we all enjoy today. I’m sitting here typing on my laptop in my bed. I wouldn’t be able to do that if someone wasn’t uncomfortable while sitting at their desktop and thought, “wouldn’t it be great if I could do this while sitting on a plane or in my bed?”

None of us would be born without discomfort. If mothers feared discomfort, many of us wouldn’t be here. The combination of being pregnant, child-birth and raising a child is an exercise in discomfort. The discomfort of the heat outside is what inspired someone to create air conditioners and fans. If you look around the room and think about it, you can identify the discomfort that inspired people to create products that we all purchase and use in our pursuit of comfort. There is so much innovation that happens because of someone’s discomfort. We should embrace discomfort for the gift that it is.

We run into trouble when we ignore it. Whether you are talking about a job, a relationship or even a living space, sometimes you may try to ignore your discomfort. There are red flags that keep reminding you that it’s time to move on or  find a way to make it better, but you choose the comfort of known versus the discomfort of the unknown. Comfortable is not always better. Sometimes, we make ourselves and others too comfortable when they need to feel discomfort to propel them forward to the next level.

The discomfort in our life is our life pushing us to the next level. It may be a blessing that is waiting for you to make a different choice and choose a different action. Maybe you keep going down the bumpy road because  you don’t know that the smooth road is one block over. Discomfort can be a friend. When we get comfortable, we rationalize all the reasons why we should stay in our comfort. Discomfort is similar to the mother bird that tosses her chicks from the nest to force them to fly. It knows more than you do about what is coming next. Maybe, it’s the Universe lovingly pushing you out into your next lesson.

If you find yourself uncomfortable on a regular basis, can you make a different decision? What choices can you make to change? Are you missing an opportunity to propel yourself to the next level?