I was born and raised in Oakland, CA but I left right after I turned 18 and haven’t looked back. My brother still lives there at one point he was considering moving in with me in Nashville, TN. So when talking to my dad about it he said, “If your brother is going to move there, make him sleep on the couch because if you make his life there too comfortable he will never move out.” Another time I was talking to him about work and I can’t remember the specifics but his response was basically, you have to be uncomfortable sometimes to get what you want. Sometimes he would even tell me that I had to eat crow, which is exceptionally difficult for me, a person who always feels like their best isn’t good enough. Dad always had these little gems that would ripple into a much louder message throughout the rest of my life.
There is always so much fear in being uncomfortable but so much growth on the opposite end of it. As a kid, I was terrified of everything and I remember talking myself into riding my first roller coaster at Cedar Point. As the moments from when I stepped into the line to climbing to the peak of the roller coaster I questioned myself the entire way. I was riddled with anxiety the entire wait, thinking that I could just opt out but as I took each step in line I tried to push that feeling down more. Once I was buckled in, I thought again “you can get off right now” but I pushed it down again. As the ride started we slowly climbed the first hill and as I heard each click I pushed that fear deep down because now it’s too late. There is no turning back and I have to live with whatever happens next.
As we edged on the peak of the first hill, the most amazing thing happened. That fear was pushed so far down that it almost turned into excitement. At this point I know I am in it and I have to let go of all the fear and anxiety I pushed down. I’m not going to lie, I held on through the first drop but by the time the ride was over I had my hands up and all of my teeth showing out of pure joy. We ran off the ride, I was excited and ready for the next roller coaster.
I tell this story because I just finished Luvvie Ajayi’s Ted Talk about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. That we remain so comfortable in our lives and in the rooms we stand in. That it is our responsibility to continue to push uncomfortabilities because it is not only our responsibility but it will create change in the world around us. Although my Dad never spoke of uncomfortability in the same way as Luvvie, the message remained the same. The message is even the same in nature. There is really no way to say whether a butterfly experienced pain while metamorphosing from a caterpillar. What we know is that it’s no easy task and in order to transform into its final stage it must undergo a gruesome transition. Being uncomfortable even as a caterpillar proves the results are worth it.
As an adult this lesson is especially important. In order to continue to grow you have to push yourself past your limits. David Goggins, a fitness guru, said, “When you think that you are done, you’re only 40% into what your boy’s capable of doing that’s just the limits that we put on ourselves.” Imagine that you have been living your life maxed out at 40%, my Mom would say that’s an F. The question becomes how do I create these discomforts?
Sometimes it’s just purposely doing something you would not normally do. Luvvie said, “Fear has a very concrete power of keeping us from doing or saying the things that are our purpose. And I was like you know what, I’m not going to let fear rule my life, I’m not going to let fear dictate what I do and then all of these awesome things started happening.” She followed it by saying, “Anything that scares me, I’m going to actively pursue it.” Then she spoke about being someone who likes being grounded and not liking to be submerged in water. She said that she went on solo vacations where she zip lined and even went diving. She then mentioned the time she went skydiving and how she felt before jumping but how she felt after jumping and on the way down (That was your cue to listen to her Ted Talk after this). For someone like her who always wanted to have her feet planted on solid ground found growth in doing things outside of her comfort-zone, especially jumping out of that plane.
There are plenty of things that make me uncomfortable and most people wouldn’t know because I simply push the fear down and jump. For me, big changes to my life frighten me, whether it is a job change or even what I am preparing for now, moving. Sometimes it takes me a longer time to jump but I eventually jump. Other times I don’t jump at all but that is where I need to be better. I can’t truly manifest what I am speaking with fear lingering on the end of what I’m saying.
When speaking hard truths or facing hard decisions you have to give up being comfortable. Luvvie speaks about how every time she has to speak a hard truth that it feels like jumping out of that plane. That the fear existed but being comfortable is no longer an option. Whether you are standing up for someone, speaking out against something that is wrong or facing yourself, push yourself out of your comfort zone past that 40% and see where you land on the other side or who you may become when you land.
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