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A Comfortable Life Is One of the Worst Feelings in the World
How to escape the comfortable mental asylum
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Now to today’s piece…
Comfort has become the new norm.
Thanks to the bat virus of March 2020, we’ve all got used to staying home and working in our underpants. During this time we got restaurant food, Amazon packages, and groceries delivered to us without doing jack.
All we had to do was sit on the couch, watch Netflix, and wait for the virus to pass.
It did … but it took bloody forever. The after-effects are still lurking around. They’ve created a comfort crisis and it’s quietly ruining our lives.
Comfort is hardcoded into our work lives
No one is bold enough to say this. So I will.
Go to school, go to college, get a cookie-cutter job, and work until retirement is nothing more than extreme comfort.
There’s nothing hard about it. There’s hardly any risk. Your fate is in someone else’s hands. All you have to do is follow orders and not do anything crazy.
This is the problem with the traditional career. It’s full of comfort and no one seems to notice or care. So many 9-5 knowledge workers are living a terribly boring existence and they know it. But they refuse to admit it.
Admitting your life sucks takes guts.
Don’t worry, I fell for it too. I woke up every day to live that comfortable life. I never questioned it because it made me just enough money to pay bills and perhaps see one movie at the cinema a week.
It wasn’t an extraordinary life. But it was a life.
I didn’t question it because it was how everyone else I knew lived. A lie becomes the truth when nobody questions it.
But as I got the courage to have hard conversations with people and dig below the surface-level bullsh*t most people consume their lives with, I discovered none of these people were actually happy.
They all wanted to escape like caged rats. But they didn’t know how. And when someone dared show them how they were skeptical as hell and ignored it.
I eventually had a revelation.
Present-moment comfort leads to incredible discomfort long term.
So I quit my job 18 months ago to see what discomfort feels like. I’m still uncomfortable every single day – and you learn to love it.
Comfort becomes the most uncomfortable hell on earth
On the outside it seems smart.
Why? Comfort looks safe. And what’s safe is often more risky than standing on one leg two inches from a cliff while a tornado passes by.
When you’re comfortable you aren’t making progress. You’re waiting for the next big thing to happen. You’re hoping. You’re expecting to be chosen. You’re relying on dumb luck.
Comfort lacks meaning or purpose. Instead of following your calling and taking a few risks you just settle for the current situation. “It’s not great but it’s good enough,” you say.
Negative thoughts rule your life. The reason we can’t easily escape comfort is because negative thoughts stop us. They tell us lies. They make everything feel like a risk. They amplify our skepticism. They see pyramid schemes where none exist.
Comfort can hide mental illness. I battled mind viruses for years. Instead of admitting the problem, I let comfort be a band-aid. I thought to myself “You were born with these mental health issues Timbo. It’s just how you are. Accept it.”
You’re building a future bank account of regrets. One day you’re going to realize you’ve done nothing interesting. It’s one reason loneliness sets in. In order to attract interesting people into your life you have to be interesting. And you become interesting by doing stuff. When you plateau for so long it affects your ability to socialize. So you transcend deeper into loneliness and hibernate in your bedroom away from the world.
You’re pissing your legacy down the toilet. What will you be remembered for? Sending emails and making a few Microsoft Excel spreadsheets? What a freaking waste of a life.
If all that doesn’t sound like hell, I don’t know what does.
And remember: this is how most people live, drowning in comfort.
More clues you may be stuck in a hidden comfort crisis
You succeed all the time. You can’t remember the last failure or rejection.
Imposter syndrome is non-existent. You always feel like you’re where you belong and everything is fine and dandy.
You know everything. You’re “experienced” and you consider yourself an expert. You’ve got lots of letters after your name and colleges keep taking your money for more degrees.
At the start of every new goal, you’re confident it’ll all work out and be a big success.
On the outside these five signs sound like success. Deep down when you dissect them they’re the signs of a complacent motherf*cker who’s about to get hit by one of David Goggin’s semi-trailers.
The best feeling in the world
(You must experience this before you die.)
You probably know what it is: discomfort.
Discomfort equals growth.
Growth is where all the rewards come from. When we grow we become unrecognizable. We go well beyond our potential and do things that change the world.
It’s the path to the extraordinary life. It’s where there’s hardly any competition and a lot of money, freedom, and happiness for those who want it.
For the last 5 years, I’ve felt imposter syndrome every day.
Can I run a business?
Am I an a**hole?
Do I say way too much online?
Should I stop airing my dirty laundry?
Do people even care?
Where’s all this going?
That’s the self-talk. Every. Damn. Day.
It’s anything but inspirational. There’s inertia each day to start working. I’m surrounded by critics.
Yesterday one of my biggest critics accidentally joined a group chat I’m in.
They’d rather see me get hit by a car holding my 6 month old daughter than live. But I have to be near them and listen to them trash my way of life while saying nothing and being a good little choir boy.
The reason this creates the best feeling in the world is because if you can live with all the discomfort you’ll start to feel unstoppable. You become anti-fragile. It takes a lot to screw up your day and scream mayday.
The simple path to discomfort you can copy
So let’s (hypothetically) say you’ve been living this cocoon life inside a house full of pillow-covered walls. How do you escape the comfortable mental asylum?
Well, you do this:
Admit you’re a comfortable son of a gun. Stop pretending and just say the truth.
Sit with that reality for a week. Notice how it makes you feel.
Write a fear list. These are all the things you’re afraid of or have avoided. Note down every single one, no matter how small.
Execute on one item from your fear list every day. Start with small discomforts then move your way up to big ones.
Keep going until discomfort becomes more fun than comfort.
We’re hardwired to praise comfort.
But everything that’s missing from your life is found in discomfort. It’ll open up opportunities you could never have thought of. In a year of living in discomfort you’ll become unrecognizable.
People will think you’ve gone crazy. They won’t understand you.
In the process, you’ll live an extraordinary life that’ll stop wasting your life. You’ll die with zero. Regrets won’t exist.
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