What Makes For A Rich Life? You Might Be Surprised By My Answer
Ever had one of those moments where a life lesson long time coming fits into place? You finally understand the lesson, which now feels like Ohhhh the square peg goes in the square hole. It usually feels like the words melt your mind into a puddle of what once was. The discomfort settles in like a deep pit growing in your stomach. Awkward flashbacks pop into your head of embarrassing encounters. All past experiences you wouldn't even flinch at in your present-day badass self. But to your former self, the experience was crippling. It's a friendly reminder things will get better. Life never gets easier, you just get stronger. It’s what makes for a rich life.
Figuring out what you want to do with your career and life is about as comfortable as a naked sleep on a bed of hay. Constant tossing and turning will only increase agitation. You promise yourself that if you only had one wish, it would be to be find comfort in your life. Is it really so much to ask? Yes, yes it is. I'm not saying to toss the idea of a purposeful career out the window – I think it's the most important choice we make in our lives.
I'm asking you to get comfortable with discomfort. Think about the split second before you took your feet off the ground and started to pedal for the first time. It was downright terrifying! Training wheels or a guiding pair of hands made the task seem possible. My Dad's hands propelled me into the side of a portable at my elementary school. I cried. But I never went back to my old way of living.
Getting hurt, crying, having your heart ripped out, losing your job, losing loved ones, getting embarrassed, looking stupid, being scared, questioning everything, giving up, having one too many drinks, make a life rich in experiences. If you can't remember the last time you felt discomfort, you're dying.
Everything in nature is either growing or dying. But growth only comes from intention. A desire needs to exist for you to be a better person than yesterday. Yet so few of us make the effort to challenge our thinking and adopt new beliefs. I've bumped into people from high school that run on the equivalent of a Windows 95 mindset.
Making the most of your days means stretching beyond what you feel comfortable doing. I had no idea how many things made me uncomfortable until I started a business. The amount you have to do feels like someone asked you to invent a better Tesla. And if you could have the full-scale model to them by next Tuesday, that'd be swell.
The biggest damn life lesson I learned is that fear can be used as a compass. It comes from one of those mind-melting realizations I alluded to earlier. You used to be a hypersensitive preteen with a fragile ego that wouldn't let you leave the house because of a pimple. That same tender ego fuels your fear today. It takes a lot of practice to know when your ego is talking shit, because it’s a voice we’re all used to hearing.
Listen to the ego too often and you start to believe what's being said. Fear for any of us in a first-world country is largely perceived. Not all, but most of us have no reason to believe we're in danger of death from lack of food and shelter. The ego makes discomfort feel like death, but it couldn't be further from the truth. You're working with a two-million-year-old brain. Evolution hasn't caught up to the fact that being mauled by a bobcat and speaking in front of peers at work should not elicit the same warning signals. But when you start to challenge which voice is talking, you can start to kick some serious ass.
You have the ability to rewire your brain, but it takes intention and a willingness to be uncomfortable. All those uncomfortable moments are like the training wheels for life. They stay there until you decide to face your fears. Take a breath and sit with the discomfort. Are you choosing to see it as a lesson for growth or as an excuse to call Uncle and give up? Starting and stopping when things get tough will mean a life stuck on training wheels.
How has the discomfort you felt in the past help you grow? How can you better accept the discomfort you presently feel?
If you're the DIY type, check out my list of favourite podcasts, books, and resources, that cost next to nothing. If you prefer a little guidance, more structure and an easy-to-follow plan to build a happy, healthy, purpose driven life, schedule a call. The choice is yours.