Everyone knows what it feels like to be uncomfortable. It’s a not a great feeling, but sometimes it’s a good thing. In order to grow, we have to put ourselves in position to be uncomfortable. Not easy, but how else will we try new things? Let me give you a couple of examples from my own life that might better illustrate this point:
I’m impatient. I hate waiting. This past month my wife and I were in Hawaii for a friend’s wedding. If you’ve ever driven in Hawaii, you know they drive much slower than in L.A. On our way from the airport to the house we were staying in, cars were traveling at 35 mph (with no traffic ahead). At first, I had to contain myself from swearing and passing them on the shoulder of the road. After a couple of days, I got used to the pace (although I prefer to move faster) and it didn’t bother me as much. Nothing changed, only my response to the situation.
I like to be in control. I wouldn’t consider myself type A, but I do like to plan. Normally, I schedule everything a week in advance. I’m not much into surprises, I’d rather know what to expect. In fact, I usually like visiting somewhere the second time more than the first, so I can plan where to stop and what to eat. My wife is the exact opposite. She’s very spontaneous, more adventurous and would rather not have plans, but decide in the moment. Over the 12 years we’ve known each other, I’ve learned to compromise. I still prefer to know what’s going on, but I’m much more flexible now.
In both examples used, the circumstances didn’t change, I did. Sometimes we beat our head against the wall because the world doesn’t see things through our lens. Meanwhile we miss being present and make it less enjoyable for those around us. Part of growth is being able to look back at yourself and laugh. For me, learning to be more patient and flexible will only help me in the future. It’s not about losing authenticity, but maturing in character. I’ll still struggle in the areas I mentioned above, but I’m aware of it and will purposely put myself in situations that are uncomfortable because I know it’s good for me.
So what about you? What makes you uncomfortable? How would putting yourself in uncomfortable situations benefit you in the future? Your desire to grow will determine your next move.