Get Uncomfortable

On the journey from apprenticeship to mastery, there is an ever-present challenge: The urge to rest on our laurels. We overcome challenge, we face down adversity, and we triumph. And then we settle in and get comfortable.

As we establish our capability, the temptation is to stay where it’s comfortable, in the little niche where we’ve proven ourselves. We become overconfident, think more highly of ourselves than we should, and we become less open to advice and teaching as time goes on.

The danger with staying in the comfort zone is the lack of challenge and the lack of hardship. When we live in the comfort zone, we are like a warrior who has been away from battle for too long. Our ability to adapt and overcome becomes rusty from lack of use.

Exercise uses stress to break down muscle fibers so that our body will synthesize more muscle protein. Without the stress, the body has no reason to create more or bigger muscle fibers. Similarly, if we wish to grow we must willingly step into challenge and hardship.

Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for the great.

—Steve Prefontaine

Comfort absolutely can be a good thing. Use it to find your rest, to recharge, and to re-energize. Then get back on your feet, find that boundary you have yet to cross, and get uncomfortable.