Why Discomfort Is Good

When are we going to dismantle the notion of the comfort zone and eradicate it?

The idea in itself means we’re building ourselves within a cozy box. A confinement of routine and familiarity that is detrimental to progress and ultimately growth, in all forms.

Progress and growth come from putting ourselves in new and challenging situations whether it be saying yes to a job in another city, picking up a new hobby, up-skilling through a new course or challenging yourself to take up a new skill or sport.

A breakaway from the ordinary.

By all means, this will be a little uncomfortable, but let’s take a step back and think about discomfort.

Discomfort delivers growth. When your back is up against the proverbial wall, you have no choice but to go through whatever is in front of you using the tools and resources you have to find a solution. This is where progress happens and will always shape you for the better

If we take a look at a few ordinary activities, we see that embracing the uncomfortable and challenging oneself always leads to growth.

   1. Exercise

Every new fitness regimen is built on progression to become stronger. The act of working out is essentially building muscles by pushing yourself to discomfort and more literally, it’s tearing the muscle fibres so the cells grow to repair themselves. They do this by growing back in increased thickness to prepare them for the next time they’re faced with your barbell curling, kickboxing, kettlebell swinging, marathon running adversity.

Our SE Asia tribe testing their physical and mental limits at our fitness bootcamp in Chiang Mai.

Exercise, as physical as it is, is almost equivalently mental. You push yourself to teach yourself that you can achieve something new. Something that you couldn’t have done yesterday or the week before. This progress is exercising your mind and training it to prove to yourself that you can do more, and that mental stamina stays with you.

   2. Learning

Far from one’s personal opinions of how our traditional education systems are run, the basis of school is to expose yourself to new material. Through gradual practice, problem- solving and applicability of solutions, you learn and harness your ability to solve more varied, more difficult and more challenging problems. 

Our Africa tribe getting their creative energy flowing at one of our ideation workshops.

We unlock a new level. Isn’t it strange that after we finish our university (in the majority of cases), we step into the working world and then begin our quest for comfort and routine, that may eventually extinguish that spark of curiosity we once had?

Complacency in a routine with no extra-curricular pursuits and challenges can lull us into a sublime coma. And the scary thing is, we wouldn’t even notice it.

  3. Films

To change tracks altogether, let’s look at films and TV. The basis of most 90 minute movie plots consist of the protagonist(s) realizing there needs to be a change, a challenge to overcome, the need to strengthen personal growth or mend a relationship, or themselves.

And over the course of the movie, we witness their, often triumphant, struggle to tackle this challenge and emerge a better version of themselves at the end.

*Roll credits

They never make a movie where everything stays the same for its entirety, do they?

If this was your movie, and you’re the protagonist, the hero, the heroine of this story, what is a challenge that you are looking to overcome? Where is the growth you’re striving for before the credits roll?

That’s something we should all take a minute to think about

This notion of discomfort breeding growth isn’t new. But it is one that isn’t talked, or shouted about, enough.

Perhaps largely due to the fact that everyone is constantly working towards getting themselves comfortable. A steady job with a steady income to pay the mortgage/rent, to pay the phone bill and utilities, to get that car payment out of the way or to work off student loans. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this pace of life for some, and those are all real-world issues that need to be dealt with constantly. It’s one of consistency and once we get into the rhythm of things it all becomes second nature to us, our routine.

Our programs are designed to push you out of your comfort zone and put you in situations that are challenging to stretch your thinking.

This is your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is one of repetition and predictability. A series of actions that over time, requires less and less effort to maintain as it becomes second-nature to perform.

And? you may ask, a single eye-brow raised.

What of a new challenges?

What about new adventures?

Meeting new people with different perspectives?

What about broadening your mind?

How about taking up a new hobby, and failing at it so you realize you need to commit more time to it?

Saying yes to the unfamiliar?

Stepping out of your comfort zone?

It can be scary. It can be daunting. It can be unsettling. But it can also lead to a new frontier of possibilities that would never have materialized had it not been for a small leap. It’s progression and improvement. It’s self-discovery, which is powerful no matter where you are in life.

T Harv Eker, a philosopher, businessman and motivational speaker, said “Nobody ever died of discomfort, yet living in the name of comfort has killed more ideas, more opportunities, more actions, and more growth than everything else combined. Comfort kills! If your goal in life is to be comfortable, I guarantee two things. First, you will never be rich. Second, you will never be happy. Happiness doesn’t come from living a lukewarm life, always wondering what could have been. Happiness comes as a result of being in our natural state of growth and living up to our fullest potential.”

Each location on our program is chosen to push you out of the ordinary and fuel your hunger for learning, adventure and growth.

At Nomad Academy, we share this mindset of using discomfort to spring-broad into the unknown, to take the reigns of our unpredictable quest for adventure and ride it out to explore new horizons. Of course, we don’t this blindly.

Your experience is shaped and upheld by three things:

1. To learn something new: this is the course you choose in either Data Science, UX Design or the Startup path to get you  the domain expertise for an entrepreneurial career.

2. To immerse yourself somewhere new: this entails visiting three new countries to pull you away from the ordinary and push you into developing yourself.

3. To do it with someone new: This is your Tribe. Your comrades. Your family for the three months, should you be chosen out of thousands of applicants from all around the world.

Our Latin America tribe in one of our workshops focused on developing their improvisation skills.

In a nutshell, the three months you spend with Nomad Academy is designed to shake you to think differently, adapt to new situations and environments and explore the possibility of “what if?

What if you took some time to learn a new skill?

What if you do so while slow travelling and exploring new countries?

What if meet some amazing people, who think completely differently from your circles back home?

What if this interaction sparks a new partnership?

What if this adventure opens your mind to new avenues of thinking, allows you to take the first step in starting your company?

Yes, these are a lot of “what if’s”. And of course, you could also complete these three months and head right back into work. Everyone is going to come in and leave this experience at different stages. That’s the beauty of it.

But you still would have chosen to embark on this journey. And the new experiences, skills and friendships formed is something you would bring back with you.

It’s an alternative to taking that 7-night all-inclusive in the Mayan Riviera. It’s an alternative to backpacking across a continent. It’s an alternative to choosing to stay in the same place.

Our Program Director, Steven, about to take the leap (literally) during our fitness bootcamp in Cape Town.

Take that leap. Embrace the discomfort of being immersed in a new land with new people from around the world to learn something new. Don’t let the obstacles of inconvenience and discomfort stop you. It may be tough and it certainly won’t be easy but you can bet that you’ll come out of it better and bolder.

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