Listening to the radio the other day I heard someone on CBC say that discomfort causes change. I am not sure who it was or what program it was but boy did that sound bite get me thinking. I started to think about all the major changes in my life and if they were in fact as a result of discomfort. And to my surprize, every single one was. Here are some examples:
- leaving a full time, salaried position for a 2 day a week contract – a result of personal growth discomfort – I was bored and uncomfortable with the lack of challenge in my job.
- leaving one full time job for another – a result of financial discomfort – I loved the first job but could no longer stand the financial discomfort it put me in.
- training for a marathon – as a result of discomfort in how my body felt – I needed to find some type of physical activity that would make me feel healthier and stronger. There was also an element of being uncomfortable with the fact that so many people around me had done a marathon and I hadn’t.
So, it got me wondering, how many other people are making changes as a result of feeling discomfort? And what level of discomfort do we need to experience before we will actually create change?
I had a tooth that the dentist needed to fix. It needed to be fixed for almost 10 years. But because it wasn’t painful, because it didn’t cause me any discomfort I did nothing about it. Until the day I woke up with an extreme amount of pain in that tooth. Once experiencing that discomfort it only took a matter of hours for me to get into the dentist to get it fixed. If you are struggling with physical activity or eating well do you need to actually develop a disease or condition before the discomfort is severe enough to motivate you to change?
Think about the things in your life that you would like to change. What kind of discomfort do you need to experience in order for you to make those changes a priority, for those changes to now seem like they are something you must do? Really think about that for a few moments, how bad do things need to get? Get specific, actually close your eyes and see yourself in that place. How does your body feel, what is the quality of your life? Now, consider a level of discomfort that is less extreme. Could you use that level as your warning signal? If you reach this less extreme level of discomfort that is your alarm telling you to get up and do something about it.