Lean Into Discomfort
It’s hardwired in our nature to play it safe.
It should come as no surprise, really. Our ancestors lived in situations where survival was paramount. They honed their instincts to survive, often the bravest most fearless ones died on battlefields, in cold winters, or exploring dangerous seas. Those who played it safe, generally had a better chance of surviving.
Today it’s quite a different story. Our day to day lives are safer than they’ve ever been in human history. With a lack of natural predators, the development of cures and treatments for many diseases and ailments that would have destroyed entire continents in the past. Most of our problems these days can be summed up as ‘first world problems’.
Our instincts however are still wired to find and eliminate all forms of danger, but in light of the near disappearance of all mortal forms of danger, our brain has to find other things to categorize as danger. With many people this stems from anxiety, or as I like to call it ‘fear of what people will think of me’, because in my experience anxiety is often more self induced than we realize. (That is, unless you’ve been dull enough to borrow a few hundred thousand off a mafia bookie only to lose bet on a sure thing, then it’s the fear of your knees being broken. Odds are, however, no one reading this is in that position.)
It’s always going to be more comfortable to keep the boat even keeled, rather than rocking it and risk making some waves. Do as your told. Follow the rules. Don’t take any risks. Because after all, look at what might happen? You might look stupid infront of that person you have a crush on, or that new business idea might not workout the way you expected. Wait, now that you think about it it’s DEFINITELY a bad idea, it’s better to just play it safe.
Unfortunately, safe is where things maintain. Nothing awesome ever happens with safe. It’s only once you get outside of your comfort zone where awesome begins to happen.
Don’t think that the solution here is striving to make what’s uncomfortable now feel comfortable in the future. Many things will never get more comfortable for you, you’ll just get better at doing them and not being so anxious about them. The solution is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, lean into the discomfort because that’s where the magic happens.