Finding The Way to Discomfort

I only had one entry planned but just before I started work I watched this TED Talk. Boiled down it has one simple message: We grow when we’re a bit off balance. We stagnate when everything is predictable and comfortable.

For me, I’d go one step further. I am happiest when I’m a little off balance. If I have too much sustained comfort, I start feeling a bit depressed and out of sorts.  People who know me know I routinely do things that induce discomfort. I go on long bike trips that are challenging and take me places I have never been and make me talk to strangers.  And one of my biggest ventures in to discomfort was spending a month in India where as much as possible I spoke Hindi.  But then in between experiences like that I sometimes find myself feeling dismal. Up until now I thought of that as the “Not having a project blahs” which would be cured by having a big trip to plan for and eventually go on. Now I am beginning to think that perhaps the real thing I’m reacting to is feeling completely comfortable.  A good example supporting that idea is how I felt yesterday afternoon after diving in and speaking Hindi to strangers – with my tiny vocabulary. I probably understood 70% of what was being said – enough to know that the movie I wanted was not in but maybe tomorrow it would be and I could come back then and I should take a card and call them. But after I left I had an immense mood lift. Some of that was being proud and pleased with myself that I was able to manage without English and they didn’t feel they had to switch to English to make themselves understood. But the other part of it was the feeling of just having stepped off the discomfort roller coaster.

So the thing I think I need to focus on after I get back from next week’s two week long bike trip to the land of sustained discomfort is this: How do I bring small discomforts in to my life more often rather than feeling I have to wait until I am able to take weeks at a time off to go off in search of discomfort. I’m sure it’s here under my nose if I look…

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