The man looks around at his life. Not much to worry about. Not a lot of sweat. No real adversity.
“Perfect,” he thinks. “I’m comfortable.”
Isn’t life supposed to be this way? Free of pain. Free from worry. Free from adversity. This must be the right way…
Comfort, this “perfect” place, is the intersection of expectation and realism; it’s in the direction the man wanted to go in life, but not far enough that his path was unrealistic or extraordinary. He is comfortable with his status.
Alignment. “They look comfortable. They smile. I am like them. I am comfortable. I smile.” Sure, he had bigger goals. Dreams, even. Passions he once pursued vigorously. And so did the others, those that are like him. But something happens when a person is habitually exposed to a culture that mass-markets comfort.
He or she becomes hyper-aware of discomfort.
Abundance, prosperity, accumulation. Comfort. We are taught to shelter in this place; objects, careers, purchases, food: everything revolves around pleasure and comfort.
The alternative, discomfort, is horrifying to this person that has been exposed to the comfort movement. It has to be cleansed, purged. It’s purpose lost, discomfort becomes, quite simply, a lack of comfort. It is empty and meaningless; this person seeks to fill the void of discomfort.
Emotional discomfort is blanketed by fatty and sugary foods and alcohol or drugs. Discontentment with status is masked by an appeal for social attention. Anxiety-stricken because of a loss of direction, people dive deeper into spending and accumulating materials: “This is what others have. This is what makes them smile. I am like them. I smile with them.”
It all comes down to comfort.
This place, comfort, reeks of death: a victim-mentality. When a person falls into comfort, others living in it, those the person aligns with, become models and justifications for weakness and mediocrity in that person. Justification.
He justifies his emotional discomfort as stress; it’s just a part of life. Everyone else has it, after all.
His discontentment with status is handed to him by others who were lucky enough to be dealt a good hand. His coworkers, his boss, the wealthy, the government: everyone holds him back but himself. If only things were different, he thinks.
His anxiety summarizes the issues of his world; he is lost in pursuit of accumulation of comforting things. It’s what he’s been taught, this empty pursuit to fill the void of discomfort.
One who never fills this void fights in vain; Comfort Is A Lie.
One who does fill the void with comforting food or materials or social attention lives in vain; Comfort Is A Lie.
Imagine you reach this place. Your fridge is full. There will not be another hunt; you can rest in peace now and enjoy the fruits of comfort. They hang low. The good life.
Now imagine you fight daily for comfort. Your work, your chores and duties, all point to the attainment of comfort. The struggle.
Both paths lead to the execution of your potential, a surrender of your life, because you’ve dedicated your life to comfort, knowingly or unknowingly. Passions and dreams fall to the side; hyper-aware of your discomfort, you seek to fill the void.
You can’t begin your day without a cup of coffee. Your sugar cravings are answered with a trip to the vending machine. Exercise is simply a justification for body-image. A soft couch and large television occupy all of your evenings. Any sign of physical ailment is met with medication.
You’ve dedicated your life to comfort.
It lurks in the familiar: air conditioning, a soft bed, a cup of coffee. When these familiar comforts become mindless and habitual, your armor begins to crack.
The coffee, the sweet food, the aimless exercise, the soft couch and large television, the medication, the air conditioning. Mindless engagement in daily routine develops an addiction to comfort.
An addiction to comfort creeps on slowly until it envelops a person. Others don’t notice it; the person enveloped in the lie sees nothing wrong. It is an emotional and mental death most can’t see.
Culture says you’ve made it. You’re living the good life.
Culture says you’ve got to work harder for comfort. The struggle is real.
It is not, however, these people that are most effected by comfort’s toxic grip. They join the masses; it’s a common death of one’s own culture.
Comfort devastates those who fall for it within their pursuit of more. It’s the person who pursues challenge. It’s the one with huge goals, rooted in passion. Comfort’s grips set in unknowingly; others can’t see it and the person denies it ardently to him or herself. He settles into a monotonous training cycle. Her commitment to challenge is overpowered by her desire to sleep in, to shut the door on the rain; she can’t dismantle her wall.
There is a cure. There is a way.
Comfort Is A Lie.
It’s not to train harder. It’s not to run faster. It’s not to sleep less and work more.
To draw comfort’s toxic grips out into the light, ask yourself one question: “What do I not want to do?”
Right now. This week. This month.
“I don’t want to finish laundry and go grocery shopping.” Do these things.
Build from there.
“I don’t want to run after work tonight.” SAY IT OUT LOUD. Now do it.
Find something challenging.
“I don’t want to run an ultra marathon.” Sign up. [you might regret it if you don’t]
It really is that simple. Acknowledge comfort’s grips with a laugh: “I don’t want to cook dinner do laundry go for a walk finish this assignment apply for a new job stay late at work walk my dog go to the gym clean my home sign up for an ultra marathon.”
“I don’t want to do x and y and z.” Identify those things in your own life.
Now, execute. Execute. Execute.
Yes, training harder and running faster and working more is uncomfortable, but these things are the products of a discomfort mindset. There are building blocks that lay the foundation for a person to mentally be capable of training harder and running faster and working more. It’s doing what one does not want to do in the small things every single day -habitually- that frame a discomfort mindset.
Say “YES” to the undesirable at work and at home. Lay the foundation.
It will carry over into your training. Do more? “YES!” Go Farther? “YES!” Push harder? “YES!”
Do more and Go Farther and push harder and your mind will become hardened to adversity, numb to the negativity of uncomfortable action.
Harden your mind to adversity, numb your thoughts to the negativity of uncomfortable action; challenges will become opportunities.
“How far can I go in these undesirable conditions?”
An opportunity found in a challenge is the catalyst for an explosion of mental growth that compounds as more challenges arise (they’ll be uncomfortable, after all). Expose your mind to challenge and find opportunity in it.
Don’t ask yourself “How can I make this easier?” or “Is there another way?”
Ask yourself “How well can I do given these unfavorable circumstances and what will it mean for my next challenge?” Dismantle your wall.
Practice the abandonment of habitual comforts and mindfully avoid seeking comfort. This will translate to your training; experience and conquer adversity to grow mentally. Seek adversity, challenge, and find opportunity in it’s apparent obstruction.
Your goal, the highest fulfillment of your passion, is on the other side of Culture, this mass-marketer of comfort.
Go to that other side; experience and pursue. Find opportunity through adversity and mindfully reject simple, accepted comforts.
Comfort Is A Lie.
Skip the coffee and go for a chilly morning run. Skip the vending machine and bring some fruit and nuts to the office. Set a crazy goal for your fitness (maybe sign up for an ultra marathon). Take a look at where your life is headed and map out where you want it to go; skip the nighttime television. You don’t need the medication; skip the night out and get some extra sleep to heal your body.
Turn the heat off and listen to the cold rain falling outside. Roll your windows down on the highway. Take a cold shower. Sleep on the floor. Apply for a new job. Have a tough conversation.
Run the Wicked Trail.
Comfort Is A Lie.