Pain is the catalyst for growth. Discomfort is the catalyst for change.

The ever-popular phrase “No pain, no gain” continues to be thrown around when things start to become an inconvenience. But why is that? Why is it that “beauty is pain” and “there is no victory without sacrifice?”

Because everything worth having requires loss or discomfort. Whether it’s sleep, money, food or a relationship, everyone has one thing holding them back from becoming something greater. Something that would push them beyond their imagination if they could weather the hardship. A good artist can become world-renowned if they get over the fear of criticism and share their art with the world. A person with great ideas could go on to be a famous speaker if they get over their aversion to public speaking. There are a great number of amazing people in this world, however, not many people are willing to push through; and that’s why it’s difficult to reach their full potential. Pain precedes payoff, so in order to get there, you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Aiming to be uncomfortable is no natural state for people. We constantly strive to find places where we belong, where everything we know is normal and routine, where we don’t have to worry about things – where we feel most comfortable. I struggle with stepping out of my bubble and branching out for new things, which is fine. I’m not going to delude myself into thinking that I’m someone that I’m not, and neither should anyone else. But I’m trying to be my best self, and the only way to get there is to expose myself to the fire and take on what the world is throwing at me.

So, here are some tips that I try to do every day so that I can become a little more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Tip 1: Do something new every day that pushes you out of your comfort zone

Old ways don’t just keep doors shut, they prevent new ones from opening. Growth is going to be awkward. It’s going to thrive on our discomfort, and we need to take it in stride. Wake up early for once. Go introduce yourself to people. Listen instead of talking. Do something spontaneous. It doesn’t matter if you’re an extrovert or introvert, there is something that you’ll find discomfort in. Find a friend that is your complete opposite and hang onto them. What is the point of friends if not to make each other better and to build each other up?

Tip 2: Learn to say yes or no

Yes and no are two, if not the most, important words in any language. First, by saying yes, you open yourself up to life’s opportunities. If you are a hermit and your first instinct is to say “no” to every question that requires you to leave your room, start saying “yes” because it will open up a whole new world of activities and fun. If you’re like my sister, a people person, learn to say “no.” Going out and having fun with friends is great, and even necessary at times, but so is spending time with yourself. The more you understand yourself, the more comfortable you’ll be in your skin, and the more likely you’ll be up to trying new things.

Tip 3: Be scared, but do it anyways

This whole piece is staying within the realm of legalities and safeness, but if all your bases are covered and it won’t hurt you or others, the worst thing that will hold you back is fear – fear of the unknown, fear of ridicule, fear of rejection. It’s okay to be afraid of new things, just don’t let it keep you from achieving what you want. So, be scared. Have your voice shake and your knees wobble. Just keep walking until those things stop being an issue. Then, move on to the next goal.

Tip 4: Remember that you only have one life to live

No, this is not some “you only live once” speech. This is about remembering that we are humans, not cats, and that we don’t have the luxury of nine lives to get it right. I am a firm believer that the day we stop trying new things and loving life the way we want to is the day we die. So, do things that you would want to do if you only had one more day to live. Do it again the next day, the day after that and the day after that. Soon, finding ways to be uncomfortable will be like breathing.

As you go through life, keep these tips in the forefront of your mind. Ask yourself, “How can I be uncomfortable today?” and then do it. In a year, month or even a week, you’ll start to see changes happening to either you or your surroundings, and then you’ll ask yourself, “Why didn’t I do this earlier?” Step out of your comfort zone. You might just learn a thing or two.

Photo Credit: Andi Risk