Comfort makes you weak
If you don’t want to be weak, then you must face weakness. This idea is a paradox that most people understand logically, but they miss the nuance and application of how this concept should be applied to their lives.
Let’s start with an easy example and then we will discuss the areas most people struggle with. If you don’t want to be physically weak, then you must exercise, run, swim, fight, and struggle to build strength. You will face weakness consistently, but eventually you will overcome it. If instead you chose to be consistently comfortable, then you will undoubtedly become weak. I’m sure you would agree because this concept is the easiest to explain when talking about health and physical fitness. In fact, many famous motivational speakers preach this concept when discussing fitness.
However, this is an article about the nuance of this paradox, so how does this relate to happiness, wealth, Christianity, relationships, or the battle against depression, anxiety, stress, and chaos?
Jordan Peterson said, “the solution to the problem of tragedy in malevolence is the willingness to face them.” In many ways, you must face what you are trying to avoid in order to build strength to the point where you can overcome and eliminate the chaos or effects that come with it. It is the process of growth. As a result, you will reach a new level and the cycle and struggle continues until death.
I started writing this article on the first day that I arrived in Moscow. I love Moscow. It is definitely one of my favorite cities, but arriving this time felt even sweeter because for the last few months, I’ve been planning and working through the logistics of taking my dog and cat. Certified health certificates, multiple vet visits, approvals, and airline restrictions have made it unnecessarily difficult. There are also no direct flights from America to Russia, so I had to transit through Turkey, which adds another layer of complexity. Traveling with your pets can be frustrating, expensive, and overall stressful. However, it is this very struggle and difficulty that makes it better.
I now know what is required and how to make this trip easier in the future. I may not choose to take them with me on every trip, but I definitely gained a level of strength from the experience. If nothing else, my wife and I gained a new level of confidence in our ability to face complexity and in some part, validation in our ability to achieve a higher level of freedom.
I think there is nothing wrong with being “comfortable”. It is a blessing and should be enjoyed. You can’t have “comfort” without peace, wealth, health, satisfaction, etc. However, all of these ideal states are a result of being uncomfortable. For example, good health requires you to be uncomfortable as you workout and discipline yourself to eat healthy.
Instead of desiring a life of comfort, we should work to have a comfortable vacation or comfortable evening. We should be willing to be uncomfortable all week so that we can take a day off and be comfortable or uncomfortable for a month so that we can be comfortable for a week.
We should earn it.
Comfort is expensive
This idea goes deeper than paying for first class flights or installing a sauna in your home. To earn comfort you must realize that comfort is expensive. It takes a toll on the areas in your life that require discipline. How much does it cost? This is something for you to decide personally.
If you want to lose weight and you feel that you earned the right to eat a cake after a 5 minute exercise, this is your decision. You have the right to make your own decision. However, If you do not get any results for your uncomfortable exercise, then you should increase your discomfort. Choosing to exercise more or pass on the cake is going to help. It’s uncomfortable, sure…but comfort is sometimes too costly.
What is comfortable for you? What is not comfortable?
Some things are not comfortable and don’t produce any value. So be cautious not to consider all things “uncomfortable” as valuable.
The same goes for the fact that not all comfort is bad. If you are uncomfortable doing something, but continue to do it over and over, eventually it will be manageable and possibly comfortable. For example, making sales calls is uncomfortable, but the better you get at it, the more rewarding it becomes. Eventually, you may love it and feel completely comfortable. Maybe you will never feel comfortable, but need to do it for the success of your business.
The point is that you must face weakness, embrace discomfort if it is required and learn to recognize when paying the high price of comfort gets to be too expensive.