The Uncomfortable Life is Worth Living

Photo: John Tran

The uncomfortable life is worth living.

I’m not going claim this as an original thought but it came to me while I was journaling last week and I wanted to briefly expound upon it here. Of course, it plays off the popular Socrates’ dictum that “the unexamined life is not worth living” but I think it’s just as valid and applicable, especially this day and age.

Whether it’s in our relationships, our training, our work, or some other aspect of our lives, it can be easy to get too comfortable in a situation. We settle into cruise control, stop challenging ourselves, get complacent, take things for granted, and become resistant to change. We might not be losing ground, but we’re almost certainly not getting anywhere, either. Our perspective narrows and we lose sight of the possibilities that lie ahead, oftentimes without even realizing it.

When things really start to get uncomfortable—e.g., a rough patch in a relationship, a tough interval or bad race, a particularly tumultuous time at work, or tackling issues like racism, police brutality, oppression, poverty, and other injustices that have long plagued our society—a lot of people tend to quit or look for an easy way out. These folks don’t want to see it through to the other side—or perhaps they can’t even see that there is another side—for fear of what might be waiting there, how their life might change, what they’ll lose or have to give up along the way, or some other potential unwelcome outcome they’d rather just avoid.

This is where you have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. It doesn’t happen overnight. But embracing these periods of discomfort and learning to navigate them, whether it’s in sport, work, a relationship, or some other aspect of life, is where the path to possibility starts to reveal itself. It’s where change starts to catalyze, knowledge is gained, and real progress can begin to be made. Next time you find yourself staring discomfort in the face, don’t run the other way. Stand your ground, stare at it, and let the fact that you’re not comfortable trouble you for a bit. Then start looking for a way through even if it doesn’t lead you anywhere obvious right away, if at all. It will be worth it, I promise.

Like this post?

Join the 11,000+ readers who get the morning shakeout delivered directly to their inboxes every Tuesday morning.