We have become too weakSo what can we do about it?
We have become too weak mentally and physically. Hardship that creates tough people has been systematically eliminated from our life and as a result, we struggle with relatively simple tasks and problems in life. This is however the exact reason, why hard times will come and mentally and physically tough people will emerge as a result.
Until the inevitable comes, here is what you can do if you are willing to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Have we become too comfortable?
When we look back on how human society evolved,there has always been struggle involved.
We started in the nature that gave us the opportunity to grow but it has always been accompanied by hardship. Resources and food were scarce and we were in the survival. Only when we found an abundance of resources has our population started growing exponentially. Building shelters provided us with safety and moving to agricultural society provided us with sustained source of food.
We can conclude that the strife for comfort drove our growth, but there has always been discomfort present in our life.
We have reached the point, where we have too much comfort and you might agree with me that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. That is a common pattern in nature. There always needs to be a Yin and Yang, black and white and we always find ways to strive for something better.
For example too much comfort in a relationship results in a lack of passion, which damages relationship.
I will argue that we live too comfortably nowadays and that this is the exact reason why some of us stopped evolving (speaking on a personal level). And when we have a majority of people who stop evolving, the society stops evolving as a result.
Think about it.
What causes you the most discomfort during your typical day?
When you compare your answer to an answer of a person of the Third World Country or if we asked a person several hundreds years ago, the answers would be diametrically different.
Most of the discomfort in our life comes in form of emotional struggle (not speaking about 3th world countries). It is not that we struggle with food scarcity or that we don’t have a place where to live in. You can argue that there are a lot of people who don’t have money for food and/or shelter, which I see as a result of our comfort seeking and inability to do what we are best at – inability to adapt.
“The least likeliest are the most likeliest.” ~J.Combs
At the same time, there is a lot of opportunity for human excellence hidden within struggle. People coming from the worst conditions excel while people coming from good or even ideal conditions (such as myself) struggle. Of course, that only happens when one uses the hardship to one’s advantage. You don’t necessarily need to struggle to make progress, but the extrinsic motivation of survival makes it easier to push yourself 10% more than you would without it. If you experience something like that, you can implement that mindset even when everything is O.K. and integrate it, making it intrinsic.
Essentially, it is the discomfort and hardship that can serve as a catalyst for change. We don’t change unless we feel the need for change.
Life satisfaction is a direct reflection of how comfortable you can be with discomfort.
To wrap this section up, we have become too weak mentally, physically and spiritually as a result of living in too much comfort. The lack of extrinsic motivation is something people miss, especially when accompanied by the also lack intrinsic motivation. Once you adapt to and accept where you are without inspiration to move forward, your life starts to regress. But we can do different things to push ourselves and to grow…
As written in the previous section, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. A great warrior needs to swing his sword from time to time not to get rusty. In other words, what doesn’t grow, dies. That is why pushing your comfort zone constantly is something to strive for.
Good thing is that we can do that easily. For example to build a strong mind does not mean that you need to study a lot or push yourself mentally. Quite the opposite. I found out that pushing myself physically develops my mind even better! That is because I employ exactly same techniques when I train, write or create content.
To paint the picture for you, imagine sitting at a desk at work. You have to do something and you have been putting it off forever. You have no inner motivation nor inspiration to do that task. And you are putting that off until the very last moment or until the “pain is great enough”.
Contrary to that, you might be able to go to a gym and push yourself hard, even super hard! And when you are done with you last set, you might be even desiring to do at least one more rep despite lacking the power to do it.
You can use that inner fire from the gym and apply it to work. It will not be exactly the same, at least not from the get-go, but you will be able to see the difference because you start to think about it in a different way.
And this is exactly why many people, including me like endurance events. It is the feeling of squeezing everything you have in that given moment and applying, pushing yourself through. Just look at the people who run ultra-marathons, iron mans etc. It is full of CEOs, entrepreneurs and accomplished people. Is that a coincidence?
I am not implying here that completing an ironman event will make you successful by itself but the components you need are needed also in business. Grit, consistency, dedication, character, willingness to push oneself one more step, all of the ingredients of success.
To sum it all up, we are too weak, too comfortable, not willing to push ourselves one more step forward, to do one more thing, to find our boundaries. This leaves us disempowered, not knowing what we are truly capable of.
To find that inner fire, you need to practice pushing yourself constantly. I find the physical way of pushing myself easy to practice as it has other benefits to it as well and enables me to clear my mind.
Check David Goggins for inspiration as he is the ultimate example of pushing oneself.
“I believe there is no better way to grow as a person than to do something you hate everyday. For me, the worst feeling in the world is waking up knowing that I have to push myself. I know every morning when I wake up that I am going to be pushing myself through worse pain than I did the day before. That is not a very comfortable feeling. The second I get through running or biking or lifting, I am already dreading the next day. It is a constant cycle of misery that I have been stuck in since I decided to make something of myself. It was much easier to get up in the morning and just hit the weights. I find that when I wake up in the morning and I am so sore I think that I should take a day off, that is when the voice comes and says “what the hell are you thinking? Someone right now is out there suffering and you are thinking about sleeping in, going to the movies, resting, eating, watching the game, and taking a day off???” These are the days I usually have my hardest workouts. Like I said before, I know that a lot of the things I do and say are not what all the trainers and coaches will tell you and for good reason. But, there is not book on how I train. I’m training the mind. I don’t train to win. I’m not training for an upcoming race. I’m training for life. I train to keep going when the body doesn’t want to go anymore. By doing something that you hate everyday, you start callus your mind and realize that everything comes to an end. The feeling you have after you complete it is the feeling of victory. I think that is what we are all looking for in life. Then you realize you have to do it again the next day. That is why I tell everyone that my life has no finish line. Life is about constantly challenging yourself to get outside your comfort zone. Life is unpredictable. There is no way around it. All we can do is just embrace the suck and pain!” ~ David Goggins