The Benefit of Living an Uncomfortable Life

A while back I was managing a program and someone asked me about a decision I had made. I responded that I was comfortable with what I had decided. I also said I was comfortable with the thousands of other decisions I had made for the program too. 


I’d say less than a minute later I realized how arrogant that sounded. It also wasn’t exactly true since I work hard at being intentionally uncomfortable. 


One of the biggest obstacles on many people’s journey to success is comfort. The split second you are comfortable with where you’re at you’re not there anymore. The moment you’re comfortable with all of your decisions is the same moment your decisions become less effective. In the instant you become comfortable doing something your pursuit of doing it better stops.


If I could give anyone advice to help them be consistently successful I’d tell them to live as uncomfortably as they can stand. Actually it would be to live a little more uncomfortably than they can stand. 


The world is ever changing. The marketplace for every business is morphing in ways unthinkable a couple of years ago. Being comfortable, for even a day or two means risking being left so far behind that you may never catch up.  


Comfort is an expense that no organization can afford. If your goals include growing or even if your goals are merely to survive the next five years then you must embrace discomfort now. Virtually nothing works the way it did even a few years ago and it’s likely that what works this year won’t work next year.


As a leader you must push yourself to uncomfortable places. You must help your people get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You must ensure that they are uncomfortable with the mere thought of comfort. 


Uncomfortable people grow, uncomfortable organizations succeed and their success is lasting. Comfortable people are vulnerable and so are comfortable organizations. They are vulnerable to extinction.


If you’re comfortable saying things like “we’ve always done it that way” then I hope you’re really comfortable because those may be the final words ever spoken on behalf of your once successful organization. 


The benefit of living an uncomfortable life is surviving and even thriving in a world that uses old ideas only as a measuring stick against new ones. 

It’s fine to relax so go ahead and uncomfortably relax because uncomfortable is the new comfortable. At least it is for those people and organizations that hope to still be successful in the months and years ahead.

8 thoughts on “The Benefit of Living an Uncomfortable Life

  1. Steve, thanks for another challenging post and reminder. Comfort is not our friend, but we do chase it frequently. This reminder keeps me focused on my goals instead of my situation. For me, focus on goals is key. When I take my eyes off the goal, comfort becomes my objective.

    Thanks again. Mike…

    1. Hi Mike, your comment about comfort not being our friend makes me think about “comfort food” – that’s not our friend either cause it always seems as if that food is as for us. But now you have made me hungry… maybe a nice comforting Chocolate Chip Muffin will do the trick 🙂 Have a great week Mike!

  2. Steve, I think we as a society define success by comfort. This is not true. Success is defined by what we overcome. That requires being uncomfortable. I actually filter in interviews for what uncomfortable thing the candidate has worked through. The pain of working through discomfort builds character and that is the type of person you want on your team.

    1. I agree Bill. When I was interviewing salespeople and they asked me where their leads would be coming from I asked in return where they though they should come from. If they were not comfortable making uncomfortable cold calls I knew I was interviewing a salesperson who would always have limited success. The more we embrace the feeling of discomfort the greater our chances of lasting success.

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