Making Peace with Discomfort

When we are in a growth cycle, there is necessarily a little discomfort. This seems logical to me, as you welcome in some new energy, and release some old energy. There’s a natural changing of the guard that takes place, once you enter a stage of transformation. When I find myself in a growth phase — where I am learning a new skill or shedding some old beliefs, or both — then I find it helpful to reframe the growth phase as a game.

Here is how:

I make up rules that help me see the transition as something fun. Even if it’s not. If I am trying to learn a new skill, I make up a rule that says, each time I fail, I get 10 points. Each time I try after a failure, I get 100 points. And each time I succeed, I get 1 point.

Lest you think my rules make no sense, let me explain. Success at a new venture is already something to celebrate and feel good about. What I aim to do is make my failures, leading up the success, just as fun as the success itself. Success comes with its own good emotions; failure needs a little help.

This sort of gamification of the growth phase is aided by a little belief work. What I have found is that I personally benefit from practicing a new idea around the absolute perfection of failure.

This sort of gamification of the growth phase is aided by a little belief work.

When I take a step backwards, while I am in growth mode, it helps me to declare, that setback must be for a really good reason. Even if I can’t see it. That setback, I think on purpose, must be setting me up for even greater success down that road. That setback, I tell myself, is just the thing I need to exit the growth mode more quickly.

This game has applications to all sorts of areas of my life. If I am trying a new exercise class, I can use these new ideas. If I have a new job, or new responsibility, I can use these ideas. And if I am in a personal transformation of what I believe, I can use these ideas.

Discomfort is a sign of growth. I remind myself of that all the time. By reseeing discomfort not as a sign of failure, but as a sign of my eventual success, I find myself much more inclined to get back on the horse, try again, and make progress.

Where can you use a new lens to see the discomfort of growth mode? Where can you make a game out of even your biggest missteps? Where can you harvest a new idea and use it to help you sail through discomfort with ease?

Leave a Reply