Change your life for the better, choose the unexpected

Surfing - a great example of unexpected discomfort worth your while Photo Drew Farwell on Unsplash
Surfing - a great example of unexpected discomfort worth your while. Photo Drew Farwell on Unsplash

We all want to be comfortable


We, in the western world, lead comfortable lives. Perhaps mostly “lives of quiet desperation,” as Thoreau pointed out. Comfort does not change the desperation factor; in many cases, it supports it. Yet, we think our improved modern life is good for us. But that’s not always necessarily so. Like Michael Easter, I’d like to suggest that changing your life for the better means sometimes embracing discomfort.

I know this because I live my life this way. Embracing discomfort seems to be a habit of mine, a modus operandi. I did not realize this before reading Michael’s book The Comfort Crisis.

It got me thinking about some significant turning points in my life. What became clear was that comfort was never a decisive factor. Rather some other criteria were the weights on my primarily emotional balance while making these life choices. 

The road less traveled


Without a doubt, I always chose the road less traveled quite consistently. It was not the reason, though. There was something else about the nature and meaning of the paths that tilted the balance. I was passionately attracted, inspired, and highly motivated to choose my way. The paths I took somehow appealed, calling me to follow them. It seemed inevitable that I would.

In other words, my intuitive, subconscious made the choices. The rational mind was not really there, making it all the more obvious how discomfort was integral to these paths. Comfort is an argument of the rational mind. In contrast, love and passion are of the heart, the unconscious mind.

Most of the time, these choices lead to an almost certain discomfort. However, I’d venture to say the heart doesn’t care; it simply goes for what it’s after.

A taste of my life choices demonstrating the clear discomfort motive

 * Choosing to study corporal mime when I was 15—pursuing this adventure for eight consecutive years.
* Choosing to dance Butoh – an uncomfortable endeavor, psychologically and physically.
* Moving on to trapeze and aerial dancing. It hurts and is quite difficult.
* All the while choosing specific teachers to study with – primarily outside a higher education system. 
* I chose not to go to University or study for an academic title of any kind, believing I could make it with the quality of my work. 
* When I finally decided to perform on the trapeze, it was outside of the “circus” environment to begin with. Choosing to hang the trapeze outdoors or in non-conventional performance spaces. (windmills, ship masts, bridges, dilapidated buildings.)
* Choosing to return to Israel to establish a circus in the middle of the 2nd Intifada in 2000. 
* Most recently, deciding to invest two days a week in climbing and running and rucking the other weekdays in addition to my daily training at the age of 54.

The point of this post


So basically, what I’m saying is, embrace discomfort. Anything worthwhile doing involves some degree of discomfort. Physical training demands effort, stressing your muscles and heart rate to recover into better fitness. Any kind of study or learning is, first and foremost, very uncomfortable – that’s the proverbial learning curve everyone speaks about. It takes time to overcome the discomfort of the beginning and get to a certain flow.

Artistic creation, and any creative endeavor for that matter, involves discomfort and challenges, you most probably can not prevent, if you want it to come out right. It’s nothing like what you imagine it to be for a long time before it becomes even remotely similar. And so on and so forth.

Natural evolution is moving forward by stressful environments changing the DNA of flora and fauna to adapt and evolve into better resistance to diseases or threats. Embracing discomfort will bring you to the other side of it with more confidence and knowing what you are capable of. It opens doors and widens horizons. What may have seemed impossible before the discomfort suddenly becomes possible. 

When you genuinely want to do something, embrace the discomfort and do not let it deter you from your path. Surprising things may happen when you choose the unexpected, comfortable or not.

Please share any relatable experiences in the comments below. 

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One Comment

  • Eviatar Nevo

    Today I comtemplate on one's obligtions to sciety and family. Foremost, one has to contriute to family and society in order to complement one's personal goals. These contributons are morally both important and satisfactory morally and socially. Clearly you must have done it despite caring for your own meaningful cohoices from daily impratives, Now that yoy partly retired from your own personal goals time arrived for devoting time for your offsprings whom educational obligations can not rest only with the outer environments like school and friends but to your immediate closer family ,particularly the kids ,differentially to each, according to their personal needs to grow maurely moral and educated how to read and write the world or theier own DNA , I concluded this from my recent conversations with youR two kids. Noam is stating to open and blossom, but he still needS an educational trusted environment that he loves and depend upon. there are things he is wounderful doIng, buT mainly those he stongly loves, like gliding, mathematics, sport, but shyes from being challanged with perspectives he dislikes becuse of a bad teacher or otherwise, It is a great pity that at his age he does not open more to the world at large, This demands much reading in which he still needs to advance in order to appreciate the wider circle of the world at large. Reading stories fluently is a major help. Can you read with him stories that will open up and widen his world view?Try it subtly and you will crop successful results. I am absolutely convicted about il Good luck!!! Likewise wit Oran the needs only litlen widening of his cosmic world as I eill try to show you todat by TED TALKS ON ASTROPHYSICS. tELL ME WHAT YOU THINK AFTER SEEING TODAYS PANORAMA i WILL SHOW YOU. gOOD LUCK!!! tHIS ECTION WAS WRITTEN IN A RUSH TO BE FINISHED BEFORE YOU ARRIVE HENC APOLOGIES FOR ALL MISTAKES.

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