Justin Wright

Weekly Recap - The Importance of Discomfort

published3 months ago
4 min read

Happy Monday!

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This week we are talking about getting uncomfortable, and why you should do it more often.

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The Importance of Discomfort

I'm a firm believer that we must regularly get uncomfortable in order to become our best selves. The modern world offers far too many ways to stay comfortable, to never challenge ourselves, and to go through life doing "just enough" to get by.

There is nothing wrong with comfort; if I were to tell you to give up your worldly possessions and live in the wild, at least 75% of you would likely unsubscribe and call me a quack. Embracing discomfort doesn't have to cost us the worldly comforts we have come to enjoy, it can simply amplify our appreciation for them.

Think back to the last time you did something truly difficult. Was it by choice? Were you forced into a situation that tested you? Were you prepared? What was the end result?

If you don't push yourself often enough, the moments that push you back are likely insurmountable. Resilience and toughness are acquired skills; we get better at dealing with the unknown by actively putting ourselves in those situations.

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf once said to a crowd of Naval Academy Graduates, "The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war." This quote has been stated in many forms throughout history, but the essence is always the same: the more you embrace discomfort when you don't need to, the less it will rattle you when it inevitably arrives.

Find small ways to challenge yourself, understanding that momentum is on your side. If you do one small thing today, it becomes easier to do something larger tomorrow. Maybe you take a cold shower in the morning. Maybe you go for a run before work. Maybe you push yourself a bit harder in the gym. Maybe you take a public speaking or acting class despite being terrified of the spotlight. No matter how it manifests, doing uncomfortable things will make you a better person.

When life inevitably throws you a curveball, those who get uncomfortable on a regular basis will be more adequately prepared for their at-bat. As we've discussed before, the universe tends towards disorder. Nothing good will last, and bad times are always around the corner. The more often you prepare during the good times, the more resilient you will ultimately be during the bad times.

Hit List

The most interesting things I've read, heard, or encountered this week:

What I'm reading: The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

I've recommended Ryan before (and I believe I've also recommended this book), but The Daily Stoic is particularly poignant when the world is going through turmoil. Right now there is a lot of fear as we have traded the tail end of the pandemic for a war that has many nations on edge. This book contains daily practices and nuggets to help you reframe your mindset and gain control of your emotional response.

What I'm listening to: Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu (podcast)

This particular episode of the podcast is with author Michael Easter who recently wrote a book called The Comfort Crisis. The book, and this podcast discussion, largely centers around the importance of embracing discomfort in order to improve the overall quality of your life. When I was writing about the topic for this week's newsletter, this podcast popped back into my mind. As a bonus, Michael talks about the importance of having a regular gratitude practice.

Speaking of gratitude: Living In An Ungrateful mindset on Forbes

To expand on the importance of gratitude, this article examines the effect of gratitude on leadership. Leaders who are often ungrateful could be leaving a lot of potential on the table (not to mention they're likely a pain in the ass to work for!). Practicing gratitude has myriad benefits, one of which is being a better leader.

A great thread on productivity: Color-coding your calendar by Sahil Bloom

I'm a sucker for optimization, and Sahil Bloom writes some of my favorite threads on Twitter. This particular one centers around a trick that he employs to shed things from his calendar that are wasteful and take away from quality work. Hopefully this technique helps you become more productive!

Thought of the Week:

What combination of things am I the best at?

Most of us get too focused on becoming proficient at one specific skill. Whether it's playing a sport, getting to the top of a particular field, etc., the reality is that being the best at one skill is very hard. Focus instead on what combination of things you can be the best at. Maybe you're a very good writer, and know a lot about astronomy, but when you put the two together you could become the number one blogger in the space. Aim to maximize your collective skills, not just one thing.

That will do it for this week! Please let me know what you liked, didn't like, and what you want to see more of. Do you want it to be longer, shorter? Do you want specific topics covered more? Less? Have a wonderful week, and remember to please forward this to your friends -- helping get the word out and get more eyes on this newsletter is hugely helpful and greatly appreciated!

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