Why being Uncomfortable is Good for You
Do you know how many times I write those two words "hi you" with zero idea of what is going to follow up on the page? The blankness in front of me is terrifying and the vortex of ideas swirling in my head mocks the emptiness of the page.
Good things can come out of discomfort.
In Oklahoma last week my nephews and niece really wanted to take me out on the raft they built. Now, I have a nephew with budding skills for excellence, but he is 13 and the idea of splashing off a tipsy pallet-wood-raft mounted on five gallon pails, into a muddy pond, was not appealing to me. I'm a softie aunt who only disappoints them if I have too, so I did it. Besides, I suppose it was that incorrigible sense of adventure that pushed me to step into the muddy, leech-infested waters to poke about a pond on a very-hot-day.
That, and a New Year's resolution.
WHY BEING UNCOMFORTABLE IS A GOOD THING
One of the things I resolved in 2017, professionally and personally, was to stop running from awkward or uncomfortable situations. A conversation with a person or group might not be exactly easy, but I would stay and see it out. The blankness of a page was not going to keep me from writing; if necessary, I'd write crap. A friendship might still be in the initial stages of awkward silences vs. comfortable silences, but I was staying put. If it failed, well then I was going to fail as fast as I could to learn from it.
The biggest rewards so far have been serendipitous experiences or friendships that wouldn't have happened otherwise.
- The house concert in Indiana was completely out of my social norm, but I went and had a dreamy time. Socially it was a little uncomfortable, because I had to talk to strangers nearly all evening. I could've shadowed my friends or sat in a corner, both of which my sense of social obligation forbid. I talked to strangers nearly all evening, and had several satisfying conversations and connections with other creatives.
- Another was taking a two month break from a normal job to do some concentrated thinking about what I want to do in life. It has forced me to take out most of the normal chunks of life to gain a clarity of vision that is hard to get while working and playing full time.
- It's also why I've committed to show up to this space every Monday, even though it intimidates me to try to keep writing something weekly that is valuable enough for you to read.
Discomfort is the space where creativity and world-changing concepts and ideas begin. I wrote last week about why we need to be ok with change, and would now like to present the idea that we have to allow ourselves to be uncertain for the sake of building something great. In fact, I am beginning to suspicious that this is what it will take for any of us to live a satisfied life. As much as humans like to know things, it is the pursuit of the unknown that keep us alive, stimulated, and even happy.
No matter what job or life situation I'm in, I'd like to keep challenging myself to create things that go beyond what I'm comfortable with, and am curious to know if any of you want to join in?
My challenge to you is to create something this week that embarrasses you. Do something creatively that intimidates you or makes you feel like a fool. It could be drawing a stick figure with a balloony skirt. It could be a terrible short video. Maybe you've always wanted to take voice lessons. Maybe it's a clothing style quite beyond your normal. Pretend you're a kid and you have to learn something new because everything you do is so new.
Post it to your stories (in a teeny, tiny corner tag me) or message me. I would love to see what you came up with.
This Wednesday I flew out for Norway, and giving myself a few days to settle in I'm going to send out an email at least every other day, just with travel tales, and once or twice a few photos of a new article of clothing that is way outside my comfort zone.
P.s. I pushed out Monday's post early to get the email train started.
Can't wait to see you there! L.