In today's post I want to talk to you a little about the truth regarding discomfort. Now if we're going to be totally honest with ourselves, it should be pretty clear that it's human nature to seek comfort over discomfort. A bit of that is beneficial I reckon as it's healthier to take refuge in comfort under a roof and out of the weather, than say outside without shelter from the elements and marauders.
However, when taken to the extreme, as is true with most anything, what was good at the right dose ends of being destructive with excess. One could make a reasonable argument that the relative ease with finding comfort and lack of significant hardships in Western society since the ending of the second World War has led to an overall weakening of the individuals in those societies.
What's that old adage?
Tough times make strong men, strong men create easy times, easy times create weak men, weak men create tough times.....and the cycle repeats.
There's little debate about where we're currently at in this cycle.
So it is, the ideas of comfort and discomfort get shrouded with falsehoods and misconceptions, so the truth is seldom spoken of.
Here's the current general consensus from a worldly standpoint.
Comfort = GOOD
Discomfort = BAD
Everything we're pitched in popular culture from movies, music, media, marketing of products and services, pretty much everything is preying upon our yearning for comfort. We want it and we want it fast and often.
How about a little discomfort? Aw, heck no. That's to be avoided at all costs. Right?
A thoughtful, open-minded, and sober evaluation of this should reveal the truth pretty clearly.
Here's the simple statement of truth that should be taught in every school in this land.
There is no growth without discomfort. Period.
Read that again and let it sink in.
I don't care what area of your life we're talking about here. This principal, a universal law, will be applicable.
Let's take fitness and health and wellness, after all that's the theme of this blog and the field that I'm in.
You want to make a CHANGE in how your body looks and feels?
Ok, great, here's where we're going to start....
It's not going to be quick or easy, but I'll go on record to promise you it will be worth it. That is, if you do it the way I teach you through old-fashioned hard work, commitment, and consistent practicing of beneficial habits.
I know, I know, that's the exact opposite of what the world tries to lure you in with and to that I'll only say...CORRECT!
That should be your sign (by the way I recommend you use the same analysis for most other things in life and you'll likely be on the right path).
World's way is X - probably best to do Y.
Ok, back to the fitness and wellness example so you can see this principle clearly at work.
Take the process in which muscle is developed, the technical term being something called "hypertrophy." In order for the muscle to be developed, it must first be broken down. The entire process of hypertrophy with all the amazing workings of the human body, can be summed up with the following.
Muscle is worked under significant demands, which breaks it down, and when conditions are right for repairing the micro-trauma, development occurs.
We could go into all the complexities and fifty-cent words associated with this process, but that's basically it.
The part where your muscle is put under "significant demands" is....wait for it.....discomforting!
But's let's not lose sight of this truth as it's easy to be lured away.
It's not supposed to be easy, if it was easy it wouldn't work. Why not? Because in order for growth, there must be pressured applied first.
Diamonds, muscles, character, you name it.
This is how it works.
Just to be clear, I'm not preaching some meathead mantra of "no pain, no gain" either. I always thought that saying was stupid by the way. Pain is an indicator that something is wrong, it's a red warning light per say. Discomfort on the other hand, though certainly not pleasurable, is part of the recipe for gain. Learn to know the difference. The saying should be "no discomfort, no gain."
Generally speaking, it's a good thing to put yourself in momentary periods of discomfort in the various facets of your life, as that's where the growth occurs.
We don't get better on the mountaintops of life, but in the valleys when we're under pressure, hardship, trials, and difficulties.
Many of you know that I'm a man of faith and I whole heartedly believe this is why a loving Heavenly Father would allow for us to go through some incredibly hard and challenging times. Times we can't make sense of or understand at the moment how anything good could possibly come out of it. I can witness to this, but that's a story for another day.
In summary, don't always look for the "easy way" as it's seldom the best way in the long run. Embrace the discomfort, be it in the gym or in other areas of your life, for that is what makes you better.
Perspective matters folks.
You may get tired of hearing me say that, but I repeat it often so it sinks in.
If you can see the positive side of the discomfort, what it will produce in the future, it can make all the difference with your willingness to go through it. Your human nature will always be looking for the side door, the easy out, but it's a deception.
Take the road less traveled. It will be worth it.
As always if there's any way in which I can be of assistance with your fitness and wellness objectives, I'd be honored and grateful to be at your service. Feel free to reach out anytime.
Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. He has over 24 years' experience with fitness coaching and consulting and specializes in training programs for middle age and mature adults. If you live in the Charleston, SC area you can schedule a no-obligations consultation.
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