Is discomfort bad?

Is discomfort bad? At first glance, yes it is, but does it prevent you from expanding the many possibilities that you have? It’s human nature to go against your comfort zone, but does this help you?

Questioning your discomfort is a good starting point to see if your uneasy feelings are justified. If not, why not go for it? If so, it might be a good idea to dig deeper about the cause. Perhaps your angst is coming from somewhere else that needs to be explored and examined.

A few years ago, I was approached to do an interview on a radio program. I was flattered, but felt very apprehensive about it because I’d had never done this before. My rational side told me that this was a wonderful opportunity, but my negative side was giving me danger signs not to do it.

On further thought I questioned myself on why I shouldn’t do the interview. My main concern was looking foolish in a public forum. This stemmed from my feelings of inadequacy in grammar school. I decided that I’ve outgrown my childhood feelings and that I would do the best I could and live with the consequences.

The experience turned out very well. I ended up doing nine more forty-five minute interviews. Nothing was lost and I gained more confidence in myself to face other challenges.

Have you gone against your feelings of discomfort? If so, how did you do it and how did it turn out? If not, are you sorry that you didn’t? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.

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2 Responses to Is discomfort bad?

  1. Marcelo says:

    Hi Cliff,

    I have a quite avoidant personality, so i miss many opportunities unfortunately. The ones that come to my mind are the social ones. Many times i missed opportunities to talk to people at parties (attractive girls for instance, even when they look to me sometimes i’m too scared to approach – i’m single btw), and I kinda regret later. It’s not all negative, as sometimes I’m a bit more courageous and can be rewarded for that.

    One positive experience I can remember is being a tutor at university. Before that, the thing that used to scare me the most was public speaking. Class presentations were a nightmare to me. Sometimes I would drop classes just when I knew I would have to be doing a presentation. With time, I started to confronting that fear, and doing occasional presentations when needed. But then came the opportunity to be a tutor (teach classes of about 20 people for younger students) and I accepted it. I was fortunate to have friends in the same situation, teaching for the first time, so we helped each other out a little (even non-HSPs have some issues with presentations). It turned out to be ok. I taught for a whole semester, three times a week for an hour each. It’s true that I was always a bit nervous, but it was enjoyable too. I feel good to help others out, and teaching is like that, we can share our knowledge to make others grow. So I enjoy that part. In the end of the semester, students fill out a teaching evaluation form to “grade” the tutors, and my grades were quite normal. I got both good and bad feedback from students, but on average my grades were the same as my friends’ who didn’t have as big of a problem with public speaking. That’s one experience I will take with me and will always remember whenever I have to make a speech.

    • Cliff Harwin says:

      Thank you Marcelo for sharing your experiences. Good for you for having the courage to teach. It’s opened up a whole new world for you. I’m sure that this will inspire you to take more risks. Each “victory” that you have will make you a more confident person. Perhaps now when you see a pretty girl that you are attracted to, you’ll approach her and start a conversation. Nothing is lost and you have everything to gain. Keep growing and go against your comfort zone. You’ll be amazed about what you can do!

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