I met a man recently who has done several biking expeditions in remote parts of the world. Alone.
So I inquired about his state of worry or anxiety on these trips. If he was scared to go into an ‘unsafe’ area of Africa. Or walk the streets at night alone, with no street lights. He explained that none of this ever worried him. It wasn’t hard to be alone in a foreign country where no one spoke his language. He wasn’t worried about where he would sleep at night or what food he would eat. Or when either of those things would happen.
The most difficult part of every thought; every worry; every possible consequence?
Being comfortable with being uncomfortable.
That got me thinking. Societal cues seem to make humans creatures of habit. We have a daily routine. Work. School. Gym. Family TIme. Cooking. Cleaning. Whatever it may be. But we become stagnant. We go through the motions day in and day out. Perhaps originally these motions were temporary. Perhaps we had bigger hopes and dreams.
But then we became comfortable.
It is so much easier to be comfortable rather than uncomfortable. Comfortable means we have a general idea of what to expect everyday. Sure…daily struggles happen and our day may be thrown off track. But the overarching picture does not change drastically. Theoretically, our anxiety is reduced. We don’t worry as much. We feel safe.
According to Maslow’s Heirarchy of Human Needs, feeling safe and secure is right behind our physiological needs as humans. So, its important! At least to Maslow and many psychologists alike. It makes sense.
When that safety gets thrown off balance, it is easy to become a little lost. But that is okay. That is how we grow and learn and become better versions of ourselves. We adapt. Another amazing trait we humans have. I’m not saying you should spend your life struggling being completely uncomfortable with everything. But I do think we should all be pushed out of our comfort zones from time to time.
No, we don’t all have to buy a bicycle and ride it across foreign countries with only a backpack to our names. (However, if that is what suits you, please go for it!)
For me, right now, its the little things: meeting up with some new friends, trying out new classes at my gym, finding new hobbies to take up my free time, being assertive in my job search. Simply GOING FOR IT. The reward from being uncomfortable in these situations is so worth it. Looking back after accomplishing something new, all the worry you had will seem really silly.
Change is good. Every time a part of your life changes, you learn to adapt in a new way. You learn something new about yourself and the people around you. You evolve. And its a great feeling to look back on your life and see how far you have come.
Eventually, the discomfort doesn’t seem so scary. It becomes an opportunity for becoming the best version of yourself you can be.
My goal is to take these opportunities and give in to them. When my instinct is to back away or avoid a situation becomes it throws me off, I want to face it head on instead. I don’t know where my life is taking me. What I do know is every day is leading me down the path to where I will end up. And I don’t want to miss an opportunity to take the scenic route and learn something along the way.