Our mind is not on our side when it comes to personal growth. It’s as if it tries to sabotage our every effort to move up. One of my favorite authors Steven Pressfield calls it the resistance.
I’ve written quite a bit about resistance already, so I’m not going to delve on it here.
I’m quite sure that growth can only happen through discomfort and even pain – mental as well as physical. If you’re not seeking discomfort, you’re not growing. It sounds scary, but I think it’s true. You may have a different take on it.
We tend to give up as soon as we sense the slightest discomfort. We don’t even realize how easily and quickly we give up simply because we get an impulse from our brain that basically tells us: “Okay, enough now, stop!” And we obey like a servant.
I think there are essentially two parts to growth: seeking uncomfortable situations and then taking the maximum out of them.
Sitting at home is comfortable, but there’s no growth. Going out to socialize can be very uncomfortable for some, but this is also what produces growth.
I still remember the time when I was terrified of nightclubs and social gatherings. I don’t exaggerate when I say “terrified” – it’s quite an accurate description. I then decided to go out and socialize for 3-4 times a week. I did this alone at first. Needless to say, for someone who spent most of his teenage years alone in his room playing video games, this was a quite shocking experience. Do I regret it? Absolutely not.
I’m still not a fan of noisy environments and usually choose a quiet place and reading a book over a social gathering, but I am quite calm in these chaotic environments now. I grew. I’m a lot less reactive.
Another – a more simple – example from my life:
I have been doing pushups almost daily for nearly two years by now. I always did just as much as I felt was comfortable – not as many as I could.
However, I have recently realized that this is not how growth happens. And by growth, I don’t really mean muscle mass as it’s not my main focus. It’s more like a lazy way to stay fit – so that I wouldn’t have to go to the gym. But still, why not take the maximum out of this?
Now, I’m trying to do as many as I physically can – until I fall on the floor.
This applies to everything we do. When we feel the discomfort and our mind telling us to stop, we can tell it “one more”,” 10 minutes more”, “1 lap more”, “1 set more” etc.
Ultimately, these “one more’s” are what actually makes the difference – that move us forward and produce growth.
- “Antifragile” by Nassim Taleb,
- “Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins,
- “Relentless” by Tim. S. Grover,
- “No Excuses” by Bryan Tracy.