Every Tuesday and Thursday at 8:30 a.m. I find myself in the 12 foot diving well of my university’s pool with my head under the water, doing what they call “drown-proofing”.
I’ve always been decently comfortable in the water. I’ve never felt like I would be at risk of drowning and find swimming incredibly relaxing. As a trained lifeguard I feel as though I know water safety pretty well. So when signing up for classes this semester, I said “what the heck” and enrolled in a class called survival swimming. While I am learning very valuable survival skills, I am learning far more about myself. Every day my teacher gives us a break from the water and has us sit on the pool deck as he gives us life advice. These little life lessons apply not only in our survival swim class, but also in our daily lives. One of my favorite messages that he preaches often is learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
This message has really stuck with me throughout the semester. No one likes to live outside of their comfort zone. There is reason that it is called a “comfort zone”. We, as humans, strive to exist in a bubble where we feel safe. Where we cannot be hurt or disappointed. We find routine and stick to that. Its just part of our psychological makeup. And while everyone’s comfort is different, we all look for those places.
The truth of the matter is, we need to live outside of zone, or at least venture out there every once in a while. Putting ourselves in uncomfortable situations is where we learn the most about who we are and what makes us tick. Its where we discover the true strength and power of our being. We realize that we are far more capable than we think we are and we can endure far more discomfort than we think we can. You may not think you can climb that mountain, or sail that ship, or succeed in that career, but you would be surprised how far you are actually able to go.
Here’s the thing about comfort. Being comfortable never lead to life changing experiences or priceless memories. If you never put yourself in moments of discomfort, when the moment arises that forces you to become uncomfortable, you won’t know how to respond. You will break down and be defeated with ease. A smooth sea never made for a skilled sailor. So, go on that trip that you’ve been dreaming about for months, chase after your dream job even if it isn’t as stable or well paying, take the leap of faith either in or out of a relationship or friendship. Those short moments of discomfort make the successes even greater.