Next week marks the 7th year I have been at my current place of employment. It’s funny because I took the job thinking it would only be temporary and yet 7 years later here I am. Let me make something perfectly clear 80% of the time I hate it. I mean I really hate it. And I am taking steps to change this, but in the mean time I work where I do because it’s good money and benefits and it allows me to do the things I love without worrying about the bills.
I’m excellent at my job. I get “exceeds” on all of my yearly reviews I’ve been promoted and gotten my fair share of raises over the years. I get praises every day from my supervisor. I am the person everyone goes to for “the answers.” I’m not saying all of this to pat myself on the back. I’m saying this because I have worked hard to get where I am. I’ve had to learn to succeed in something that I have no invested interest in. I’ve operated for the past 7 years in the discomfort zone. Everyday I am ripped from my bed and thrown into an environment that feels unnatural for 8 hours a day. It feels foreign and extremely uncomfortable. This is probably not any different then half the people reading this. If you’re lucky enough to love what you do then I congratulate you because most of us aren’t that fortunate.
Now I may dislike my job, but I am the first person to admit that without my job I would not be the person I am today. In the past 7 years I have learned a lot and grown both personally and professionally. And this is because of discomfort. It saddens me that society now a days is always looking for the path of least resistance. I love comfort as much as the next person. After all it’s comfort. It’s designed for you to like it. But comfort is not all it’s cracked up to be. If you don’t leave the comfort zone every once in a while you will never grow as a person. Remember when you were little and you didn’t want to do something and your mom would say “It builds character.” Well she was right. It does build character. Going outside your comfort zone teaches you about yourself and your capabilities. Going outside your comfort zone challenges you. Recently I completed a huge project for work. I was given the task of getting this project done without being given any real tools or advice on how to do it. A couple of years ago if this had happened I would have run and hid in the bathroom for a few hours and cried at the thought of tackling something like this. I was not happy about this project, but I knew no one cared whether I was happy about it or not. It needed to be done and I was the person who had to do it. So I did it. When I finished the project it was the first time I felt really proud about something at work. I was proud because I was faced with a challenge, a challenge that literally gave me anxiety to tackle, and I met the challenge. I still didn’t care about the project itself. I cared about the fact that it taught me about myself.
So why am I telling you this? It’s like I said before, now a days everyone is looking for the path of least resistance and I just want to tell you that that path leads to no where. It’s a dead fucking end. Without challenges you will never have successes. You will never know what you are capable of. You will never change and grow. I think maybe that a good analogy about life is to think of it like a baseball game. Comforts are the bases of life. It’s good to touch down on those bases every so often, but if you aren’t busting your ass between those bases then eventually you’re going to be out.
I love comfort. Comfort has its good points. Comfort is friends and family. Comfort is high carbohydrates, a good pair of sweat pants and cat naps. Comfort is music and fun. Comfort is relief. But comfort, like everything else, has its dark sides. Comfort can also be stagnation, restriction, ignorance, laziness and in the case of too much high carbohydrates, a fat ass. Comfort can also be a mask. Comfort can be fear in sheep’s clothing.
I urge you to embrace discomfort. You wont like it. You’ll never learn to like discomfort, but learn to embrace it and over come the challenges that it presents to you. It’s not enough to just make yourself uncomfortable. Putting your hand in boiling water is uncomfortable, but doing that wont get you anywhere. Find the experiences that make you uncomfortable and learn from them. And when you can take anymore your sweat pants, the new episode of Pretty Little Liars and the pint of rainbow sherbet will be waiting for you.