“Those things that hurt instruct”
~ Benjamin Franklin
nherently, we love to grow. As a matter of fact, we were built to grow, develop and mature into usefulness. Have you ever studied a child? Ever seen how she yearns to speak, walk, stand on her own and eat from her own plate? That is how we were all created.
Now, the paradox though is that once we grow up, we still are interested in growth, but the inertia of comfort normally hinders us. This is what I mean: I have not seen anyone who is not inherently interested in their growth and development. At the same time, I have never seen an individual who is not seeking comfort. Now, the problem is that comfort and growth do not go hand in hand.
So the conundrum is that we seek comfort when we are constricted and in the process, we grow. However, that growth comes to a standstill and at times we retrogress…because we are comfortable!
Take a look at your life for a minute. Is there a time you grew tremendously while in great comfort? I bet there is none. However, the moments of your great discomfort have probably contributed to your greatest growth moments. Bob Marley said,
“At times we do not know how strong we are until being strong is the only option we are left with”
Most importantly, we realized that the things we fail to do are mostly because of excuses. An uncomfortable situation makes us shed off all the reasons and excuses why we couldn’t do something. In fact, [ictt-tweet-inline]all excuses are always a fortress around our comfortable cocoons that we do not want interfered with.[/ictt-tweet-inline]
In the landmark book “The Road Less Traveled”, Morgan Scott Peck shares exciting insights about problems:
Yet it is in this whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning. Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure. Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom. It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually. When we desire to encourage the growth of the human spirit, we challenge and encourage the human capacity to solve problems, just as in school we deliberately set problems for our children to solve. It is through the pain of confronting and resolving problems that we learn. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those things that hurt, instruct.” It is for this reason that wise people learn not to dread but actually to welcome problems and actually to welcome the pain of problems.
At the beginning of the new year many people set out to clarify the objects of their desires. Some call these goals, and others call them resolutions. There is a huge difference between those two. However, the greater category that brings resolutions and goals in perspective is the difference between growth aspirations and comfort aspirations. If your list of resolutions and goals has more of comfort aspirations than it has growth aspirations, you might be starting on the wrong footing.
Needless to say, chances are that to attain the comfort aspirations, you will of course have to go through discomfort to get them. Jim Rohn said it well:
“Success is attracted by the person you become”
If you were looking for comfort, I am here to discourage you a little bit. I need to highlight something small about discomfort. First it is a fact of life. It will come your way whether you like it or not. Second, the visionaries of this world have learnt to impute discomfort on themselves in order to attain growth and comfort at the same time. This is called discipline. Others call it training. You know what, the results or rather the benefits of discipline are closely the same as those you get from hardship in life. Mohammad Ali said it best:
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”
Those who discipline themselves
Have you noticed that when there is food on the table, clothes on your backs and fuel in your car, you tend to get laid back and drop your guard?
A person living in utmost comfort does not have their heart pricked for reaching out to grow. Inherently, there seems to be no reason to grow in order to buttress the comfort.
In a moment of stress and distress, one is forced to grind out alternatives. In the process, they tend to come up with ways and mean of solving their conundrum. However, in a moment of comfort we tend to feed coziness and laziness. There lacks urgency in our spirits over anything at all.
That is why it is important to press upon ourselves projects, things that are greater than ourselves even in those moments of comfort. Comfort in itself is not bad…however, it has the chances of limiting our growth and development if it is the end of our pursuits in life.