The Benefits to Being Uncomfortable
It’s mid-week, and I’m still mentally turning over River Run Dry’s post from Monday, which means I should probably write about it and get it out of my brain. Like Karen, I also don’t like to be in that uncomfortable place outside my comfort zone. She explains,
I have a card that I taped to my office wall which reads: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. I bought the card a while ago, when I was feeling uncomfortable about all the uncertainty I was feeling about work and this coming fall, because I liked the idea that there’s some good that comes from being uncomfortable.
The good from being uncomfortable. Don’t we need that? Because the alternative is that there is no benefit to being uncomfortable; that being outside your comfort zone or going through something difficult is a pointless aspect of life that we all must deal with from time to time, and it serves no purpose other than to fill the reality of chance. Every life will be filled with easy and difficult moments.
Well, that isn’t a cheery thought, is it?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I am outside my comfort zone. I’ve zig zagged off paths I want to be on for what amounts to poor reasoning upon reflection, and I’ve ended up outside my comfort zone. Knowing that means I can move back into my comfort zone; I just needed to get to this place to realize where I want to be vs. where I’ve ended up. But… returning to that quote, it means THIS is a better place because it’s where life begins.
This uncomfortable place that doesn’t really fit; that pinches and tugs at me.
If you asked me before I read that quote, I would say that the only benefit to being uncomfortable is that it gives you the motivation to change and move forward to get out of the uncomfortable place. But that quote has been nagging me because it implies that we should always aim to operate outside of our comfort zone. Even if we do our best work or our happiest work — our best or happiest living — inside our comfort zone.
Three out of the four of us in this house are in flux. Josh is thankfully our anchor, happily in the zone at the moment. But the kids are starting a new school and new routines in another month. It makes me ill when I think too long and hard about it, so I’ve been ostriching this summer and pretending that the start of school is always going to be a month away. I am in flux with projects and… life. For lack of a better word, life, because it feels like too many things are all swirling around me, close enough to see but not slow enough to easily grab.
I’ve learned that I don’t like being out of my comfort zone. I don’t thrive here. I don’t hum. Sure, it has helped me to take a step back so I can look at the big picture and think to myself, “Yes, I need to go here, here, and then here to get back to my comfort zone.” But that, you see, is the goal. To get back to my comfortable spot so I can do my best work, my happiest work, when it comes to writing. I want to get back to cherishing and maintaining my friendships better. I want to read more and better use the hours of my day.
So I keep turning over the quote.