Pursuing the Excellent Life
Jan. 29, 2023

Comfort Is The Enemy

Comfort Is The Enemy


Today I'm bringing you the first of a new kind of article, which I'm calling 5 Minute Flourishing. These are gonna be short, focused articles. I'll release them in between the regular articles. I'm doing this because I want you to keep flourishing at the forefront of your mind.


Remember, flourishing isn't a destination, it's an ongoing journey. All right, let's jump in.


I want to talk to you about a saying I've had for several years, "Comfort is the enemy of progress." I've been saying this for a long time, but recently I learned it's actually a quote from P.T. Barnum. God knows where I heard it.


If you get too comfortable, you can become complacent, it can lead to a lack of creativity. Just this general feeling of stagnation. And so there's nothing wrong with comfort, but it can go too far. So, if you always stay in your comfort zone, it's really not gonna be great for your flourishing. If you stick with the old familiar ways of doing things, you won't grow, you won't progress and you won't flourish.


So it seems to me that we should constantly challenge ourselves to try new activities, new ways of doing things, new ideas, new music, new art, new people, you know, whatever. I particularly like learning new skills or gaining knowledge in some new area. I think that's a great way to grow and enrich your life.


This blog is a good example of that. When all this started, I knew pretty much nothing about blogging. Any of it, but I've learned a lot and I've found it to be really stimulating and, in the process, I found a new way to live my purpose of helping others lead successful, meaningful lives.


So, in terms of getting out of your comfort zone, I think exposure to new ideas is especially important. We see things through our own eyes, you know, if you change your perspective, you change your world. And so I think it's really good to try to find new ideas, and new ways of viewing things, challenge your existing beliefs and ideas.


Yeah, this can be pretty uncomfortable, but it's really enriching in the long run. Think about it this way, if you never challenge your existing ideas, how do you know you're right? If you challenge them and you realize you're wrong, well you've learned and you've grown. If it turns out you were right, well then you can just hold that idea or that belief more confidently.


So I want to give in the spirit of full disclosure, a couple of warnings here. The first one is sometimes, and maybe even most of the time, the new thing won't work out, and you'll return to the old and familiar thing. That's okay, but then you've kind of made a conscious choice. You tried something new, you liked the old way better, so you went back to the old way. Okay.


You know, maybe you try a new restaurant, and it just turns out to be terrible, you explore a new idea that turns out to be complete crap. All right. Nothing wrong with that. You've gotten out of your comfort zone. You've become more comfortable with being uncomfortable, if that's such a thing, but I think it is. And you've grown.


The second warning is that you can take this too far. I think about the Aristotelian mean. You don't want to be, the Aristotelian mean is the, is the kind of the midpoint, but don't take midpoint too seriously, too literally. It's kind of that point in between a vice of excess and a vice of deficit. And you wanna be somewhere in between those two. So being too comfortable is bad, but so is being too uncomfortable. You need to strike a balance.


All right, that's it for this post. I'd love to hear what you think of these shorter articles. So please contact me, let me know. The easiest way to do that is to go to livewellandflourish.com and use the contact button.


All right, until next time. Thank you.


Well, that's it. We're just over five minutes. And like I said, I'd love to hear from you. You can contact me at livewellandflourish.com and I'll talk to you next time.



The Live Well and Flourish podcast covers this and other topics that can help you live a flourishing life. Episodes are available at https://www.livewellandflourish.com/ and on all major podcast apps.


If you liked this article, you might want to listen to episode 29, ”Emotional Contagion


Controlling Your Emotions Through Emotional Regulation


The Cage of Your Assumptions



For a deep dive on what it means to flourish, check out episode 8. “Human Flourishing – Living the Excellent Life.”