Why Discomfort is Key to Your Personal Growth

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Do you dream of being average?

No. You don’t. You dream of being inspirational, writing your first book, starting a business, travelling around the globe, driving your dream car, owning an oceanfront condo in Maui, and making an impact both professionally and personally.

Those dreams don’t come true without work. Without work that kicks you in the teeth. That makes you cringe at the thought of it.

Dreams don’t come true without some pain.

The Pain

Artists throughout history have consistently courted suffering, instinctively if not consciously, to produce works that explore the darker recesses of the human condition. This was done, in part, because pain is a reality of life for everybody in some form at some time. Pain is something everybody can relate to. And pain makes a person very present.

For such artists, to ameliorate or to deny pain would be to block the creative muses, that which drives them to explore and express. In fact, Germans have a term for this melancholia, “Weltschmerz”, which means “suffering from the world.” Writers, from Lord Byron to Kurt Vonnegut, have used the term to describe the psychological pain encountered along life’s roller-coaster journey. It was not to be avoided: it was to be understood, investigated, employed.

Pain brings dreams to life. The pain of living and breathing outside of your comfort zone, not the kind of pain that hurts you. But the kind of pain that brings growth, evolution, and transformation.

The gorgeous butterfly outside your office window last summer didn’t become a butterfly without bloodshed. That caterpillar created its own deathbed. Only to arise from the bloody mess of death as one of the most beautiful insects in the world.

Just like you. Just like you have to power to do for yourself.

You want to succeed? You have to be willing to bleed. You have to be willing to walk the talk. To make things happen. No matter how scary they are.

Evolution or Obsolescence

Dave and Rich were best friends in high school. Dave was always looking for the toughest skate pipes. Rich was always watching.

He admired Dave’s abilities, but he never tested his own to see if he could keep up. So he sat. And watched.

Pipe after pipe, the air Dave grabbed was unbelievable. His stunts made Rich and their friends look at him like he was superhuman. He didn’t get that way because he didn’t try. Or because he was scared.

Dave was leery, in the beginning, about throwing his body in the air with only hope that he would land on his feet on the board and not on his neck on the pipe. But that fear didn’t stop him. Even when he saw his friends crash and burn, only to be carted away in the back of ambulances, Dave pushed forward. Prepared to carry out his dream, regardless of what he had to do to make it. He tried new tricks. He pushed himself beyond what he thought his body would let him do.

Because to win? Was the ONLY choice he had…

Thousands of hours and dozens of failed attempts later, Dave skated in the competition of his dreams and took the championship. Year after year.

Rich grew up to be the best mail-sorter at the neighborhood bank. Not Dave. Dave grew up to own and run a successful skateboard company. And now he travels the world talking to kids about staying clean and keeping the board alive.

Rich didn’t test himself. He didn’t push himself to be more than he was. So he stayed right where he was. He didn’t grow. He didn’t evolve. He. Became. Obsolete.

Are you Rich or are you Dave this year?

Written by

Keynote Speaker | Mindfulness Maven | Happiness Muse | Author | Diversity & Inclusion Advocate | www.devinchughes.com

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