My friend sent me this email a couple weeks from the inoveryourhead blog and asked me what I thought of its message: If you are not doing your life’s work, you will feel perfectly comfortable.
There are a lot of things I like about this concept and agree with, because it reminds me of this one time I was running up the hill at Griffith Park.
It was cold, drizzling, and as I neared the top I found construction fences blocking the trail. Instead of turning back I decided there must be a different way. I jumped off the trail, scrambled through the dirt that was turning to mud, rocks, and bushy trees, until I found an opening in the fence. When I got through I was faced with a steep incline, and some kind of large concrete utility compound. The sweat and misty rain were dripping into my eyes, and I started thinking I was crazy, but I also thought, if I don’t figure out a way to get to the top I’ll never be successful at anything else I set out for myself.
Extreme? Maybe, but I’ve often challenged myself mentally as a way to push my limits physically.
I started climbing up the side of this concrete housing, and through some more forest growth, scraping my legs, getting a few thistles in my hands, but the whole time, I kept saying to myself: If you can make it to the top, you will be a successful author, your books will become New York Times bestsellers, you will get everything you want out of life. And with one final push forward, I found myself at the lawns edge of the Griffifth Observatory…and eye to eye with a security guard that started shaking his head and lecturing me about why they had put the fences up around the trail.
Now, I don’t agree with the author that you have to be constantly fearing failure or be paralyzed with fear to thrive or keep driving forward. Who wants to live in fear? And sometimes, quitting leads to amazing new opportunities (look at all the successful entrepreneurs that have filed for bankruptcy, e.g. Donald Trump). But, without pain there is no growth, without obstacles there is nothing to overcome, so a bit of discomfort every now and then is definitely a good thing.
Here are a few more interesting excerpts from the article:
…your whole world should be a cycle of balancing and unbalancing, contraction and growth.
If you don’t feel yourself being avoidant, you’re probably settling. This is normal. Your brain wants you to be safe. Your body is built to procreate and die, not thrive. Naturally, facing pain will feel horrible and unnatural. It can’t be any other way. It feels like a threat, and threats must be stopped.
In order to get anywhere in life, you need to be uncomfortable constantly. You need to have new input and absorb new information or you’re not growing. If you don’t want to grow, it’s because things are fine as they are. You should be conscious and ok with the fact that they won’t change.