Ep 18: Is Comfort Overrated?

We humans like comfort. We believe that making ourselves comfortable is a good way to take care of ourselves and make ourselves feel content. But is this desire truly helpful or is it simply a way to keep ourselves stuck exactly where we are?

Most of us place a certain value on being comfortable. And sometimes, something that is comfortable is very pleasurable (like putting on a favorite cozy sweater or connecting with an old friend). But often, it’s simply familiar (like the way your family celebrates holidays).

By the same token, something that is uncomfortable at first, because it’s unfamiliar, may end up being very rewarding. But if we are unwilling to be uncomfortable, we’ll never find out.

Key Takeaways:

  • Things may feel comfortable simply because they are familiar, and not because they are particularly desirable.
  • Creating change makes things less predictable, and this can feel very uncomfortable. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea.
  • You have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone. But that doesn’t mean being reckless.
  • If your discomfort is really just fear of the unknown or fear or failure, see if you can reframe it as curiosity or excitement.

Lab Experiment:

Get out a piece of paper or a spreadsheet app, make three columns titled: head, heart, and gut. Then think of something you’ve been avoiding because it feels uncomfortable.

  1. First, use your rational brain to consider what good might come from leaning into this discomfort. Once you have exhausted the benefits that might come out of it, do the same for any potential negative outcomes. 
  2. Then do the same thing using the emotional side of your brain. Investigate if this decision aligns with your values, desires, and intentions or is opposed to them.
  3. Then finally, don’t even think: Just write down what hunches or intuitions you have about this situation. Remember that your gut doesn’t mince words – it blurts truths – so that will likely give you your answer.

Even if you don’t find the answer in your gut, you can now use your notes like a “pros and cons” list to weigh your decision to either press forward into the discomfort or bail out and return to the comfortable status quo.