Comfort. Sounds good, right? Well, read on…
I’m not going to be so arrogant as to tell you what the purpose of your life is. That’s a deep inquiry we all must explore for ourselves.
But I can tell you one thing that’s NOT the purpose of your life. To be as comfortable as possible.
This might seem obvious when you read it, but I think most of us are subconsciously operating with COMFORT as our primary target.
We’re all seduced by our culture (and perhaps good old human instinct) to pursue comfort in two ways.
- Striving To Gain More Comfort
- Attempting To Avoid Discomfort
1. Striving To Gain More Comfort
“I want to double my income.”
“So I can enjoy my life more.”
“What would you do with the money that would allow you to enjoy your life more?”
“I would travel to exotic locations, fly first class, eat at 5-star restaurants and stay in the finest hotels. I would send my kids to the best schools so they can be safer and get better education. I would kick back, relax, and not have to go to work. I would live in the land of luxury.”
Do you know what lives in the land of luxury?
Boredom. Dissatisfaction. Alcohol, drugs, addiction. TV and distraction. Purposelessness.
My dad is a highly successful business man. When I was a kid I would marvel at his ability to create companies, lead people, and steer the ship. I had the privilege of watching him talk to his employees, and I could see how he lead with certainty and compassion.
When he was in his early 50’s he sold his second company and retired early. He, like most of us, has been fed the dangerous story that life is about working hard to then get comfort. Get as much comfort as you can, and you’ll feel great!
But he felt miserable.
He moved to Las Vegas, picked up golf, and did all the other things you’re “supposed” to do when you retire. It was fun for a little while – going to shows, entertaining guests, eating at high class restaurants…but how long can that be truly satisfying for? What is your purpose?
When I talked with him, he’d occasionally tell me how bored he was. He began drinking more and more because, “Hey, I don’t have to be up early tomorrow morning.”
His life force began to dwindle as his comfort increased.
As much as he disliked hearing it from his son who does “this strange coaching thing” for a living, he realized he needed a shift to reclaim his passion, and literally save his life.
He began searching, and eventually found a company to purchase. It was based in the Philippines and in an industry he knew nothing about. He had to undergo weeks of training and challenge himself each day.
He soon realized there was much more for him to learn, for him to master, if he were to be as successful in this business as he was in his others.
My dad is now more alive than ever. With this resurgence in effort, he redirected his purpose to growth, learning, and mastery. He’s excited about his soon to be born grandson and his life has a new purpose and dimension to it.
Beware the striving towards comfort!
“Once I get this, then I can relax…”
“I’ll feel great when I get that raise, get that new car, or that new house.”
The underlying belief there is – I’ll feel great when I’m more comfortable.
Trust me. You won’t.
2. Attempting To Avoiding Discomfort
The second way we strive for comfort is by avoiding anything that makes us uncomfortable.
This is an even more direct path to misery, depression, and a life not fully lived.
When I have a conversation with someone, I can tell pretty quickly what level of discomfort they’re willing to experience. The greater the willingness, the greater likelihood of success.
I should say, the more inevitable success becomes.
If you’re willing to experience discomfort – to throw yourself into challenging situations that scare you – then your success is inevitable.
You will get what you want. It’s only a matter of time.
Notice where you’re avoiding discomfort in your life. Pay attention throughout the day and you’ll find it happens dozens of times.
- You don’t make eye contact with the person walking the other way.
- You don’t warmly greet someone first (instead you wait for them to greet you).
- You don’t ask that person for a favor because they might say no.
This is happening all the time.
What if you were to change your entire orientation to fear and discomfort? What if discomfort was GOOD for you?
What if embarrassment didn’t mean you made a mistake but that you are strengthening your confidence by withstanding embarrassment?
(To learn more about this, check out Embarrassment Inoculation).
Change your relationship to fear and your life will change.
Your life begins outside of your comfort zone.