“Practice voluntary discomfort”

I am in the middle of a two-week “Alive” challenge and I want to share this specific reading as a post since it is a great practice for the upcoming week. For some, living a good life is one without reliance on anything external. When simple comforts and luxuries become a dependency, a good life becomes fragile. For example, when a comfy mattress has the power to make or break your day, you are fragile. Throughout our lives, every circumstance comes with [at least] two options, and we should choose the option that challenges you the most instead of steering away from the way of least resistance. Choose the more challenging way no matter how much discomfort we may endure.

Now more than ever, we are witnessing and/or experiencing how relying on external comforts—the freedom to walk in the park and hang out with friends, the ability to work at a coffee shop, the knowledge that our jobs are more or less safe in a healthy economy—can leave us “weak”. You can bemoan the loss of your creature comforts, or you can thank the world for showing you how temporary they can be, and prepare yourself for future trials to come.

This week, practice some voluntary discomfort (e.g. sleep on the floor) and think about how to prepare yourself for a potential disaster if you lost all your comforts and all you had was [X]. Sleep on the floor. Jump into a cold shower.

Whatever you do, take ownership where you can. Choose the more difficult option. Seek out challenges. Lean into it. Iron sharpens iron, after all. You’ll be better for it—not only for the improvement that comes from the challenge itself, but for the willpower you are developing by choosing that option on purpose.

When you have choices, choose whatever will challenge you the most. Choose the one that allows you to take the reins in any situation.

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