Monday, 21 January 2013

Healthy Discomfort

As my last post discussed, I gave up Twitter last week.  Today I hit the red button.  In 30 days, my account is gone for good.  How nice of the twitter people to store my account cryogenically for a month in case I wimp out.

I'm starting to realize how much time it actually consumed.  I got really accustomed to a lot of quasi-social interaction in a day.  The bear's not poking me back anymore.  I really got used to that.  I'm trying to minimize the tremors in my hands.

Funny thing though, I've had time to exercise every day since I quit Twitter.  And that made me realize something about becoming a person who is stronger - physically, emotionally or mentally.  When you've really committed to strengthening your muscles, you embrace the pain of exercise.  Your mental self-talk changes and you realize that the discomfort you feel is the very mechanism that will strengthen you. 

I've understood that about exercise for a long time.  But in a lot of other areas of my life, I'm still totally averse to discomfort.  I dread it in relationships.  I fear it at work.

But listening to some cynical music today, I realized it.  You need the discomfort. It's the whole point.  Smokers will never quit smoking till they give themselves permission to be in a foul mood.  They need to expect it, anticipate it.  Even embrace it.  And it's going to happen.  You don't get the reward of health without going straight through the pain of ignoring your craving.  And you don't whistle your way through that process.  The thing that relieved your misery and frustration before? THAT's the exact thing you're giving up.

If I ever want to improve on areas I stink at in life, I need to kill the 'onward and upward' attitude.  I'll still be going that direction, but I need to allow myself to be truly disgusted, frustrated, and angry with myself for behaviour I'm not happy with.

Overlooking that step is like letting a wound scab over before cleaning it out.  The infection is still there, under the closed skin.  It can grow into an abcess and poison your blood.  Just open it up - expose it to the air.  Don't hide it.  Deal with it.  Nut up and clean it out.  Then it can slowly heal.  Properly.

Comfort is the opposite of progress.  Doesn't that suck? It's the same for muscles as for relationships, as for your character.  There's no easy way.  You burn off your character flaws one gruelling sweaty calorie at a time.

Now... can someone post this on Twitter for me?


  1. I have learned and studied a number of different disciplines over the years, and have become incredibly adept at learning.
    The best thing I've learned is the trick to becoming good at something and/or betting yourself is accepting that you're going to suck for a long time. People think they can practice until they don't suck, THEN do or be whatever they want.

    But that's not how life works. You start sucky, and you continue sucky, and you get better, but often you still feel sucky. Takes a long time to really change and really fold something into yourself.

    I think this is similar to what you're talking about, I think - just replace "sucky" with "uncomfortable"! lol

  2. I think you're right. Part of the process is that, as your craft improves, you find new people to mentor you. Or to compare yourself to. So as soon as you start feeling competence, you change your landmarks and feel less adequate again. People will say you're being too hard on yourself, but at the same time, I don't think there's another way, if you're truly keen on getting better at the discipline in question.

  3. I tried to send you a message via Twitter only to wonder why I couldn't find you, then I remembered you left. lol
    I sent it via email, hopefully you get it.

  4. I really enjoyed this post. I believe the only thing holding us back is ourselves, and largely that's due to a fear of some kind resulting in the stoppage of what we'd like to achieve.