May 04, 2015

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The Virtue of Discomfort

Virtually everything good in life is on the other side of discomfort. Uncomfortable situations create a force field around the life that we want. That’s why when I realize I‘m feeling comfortable, something is wrong. Comfort is only valuable during old age, and even then, I’d argue that it’s not so valuable.

When I say the word discomfort I mean fear, hard work, embarrassment, pain, delayed pleasure etc... Discomfort is all the things that we don’t feel like doing. By doing those things, we progress. And progress, in my opinion, is the single most important factor in happiness. I believe when people wish for comfort, they’re actually hoping for happiness.

So what does this mean?

This means that anyone who can endure discomfort and feel comfortable in uncomfortable positions is going to be the one who wins. They will not only win the happiness race, but they will also win the outward “success” race. External success is not the most important part. Progress and happiness is. Worldly success is just a natural by-product.

In my novel, The Speechwriter, Samuel Math’s main goal is to create a happy State when he’s running Nebraska. He describes this perfectly. He says that happiness must be achieved first – then and only then – may the external indicators (like GDP) be increased.

It’s quite simple and counter-intuitive but when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. When we hear about someone who’s done an extraordinary amount of work, we envy them. In my opinion, the person who can endure and embrace discomfort will win on all sides of the marker.


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