Pursuing the Excellent Life
Jan. 9, 2023

Comfort is the enemy (Five-Minute Flourishing)

We all want to be comfortable, but in some ways comfort is the enemy of progress in growth. In this short episode, Craig discusses why becoming too comfortable can actually hinder your flourishing.

Live Well and Flourish website: https://www.livewellandflourish.com/

The theme music for Live Well and Flourish was written by Hazel Crossler, hazel.crossler@gmail.com.

Production assistant - Paul Robert


LWF - 5MF Comfort Is the Enemy - Transcript

 Craig 00:00 

Welcome to Live Well and Flourish, the podcast that helps you live an excellent life. I'm your host, Craig Van Slyke. Today I'm bringing you the first of a new kind of episode, which I'm calling 5 Minute Flourishing. These are gonna be short, focused episodes. I'll release them in between the regular episodes. They'll be a little more off the cuff, a little less produced. But 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. 

 So this first episode of 5 Minute Flourishing, I want to talk to you about a saying I've had for a number of 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. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Barnum doesn't have the best reputation, but it doesn't change my belief that becoming too comfortable is detrimental to your growth and to your flourishing.

 Craig 01:04 

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

 Craig 01:56 

This podcast is a good example of that. When all this started, I knew pretty much nothing about podcasting, I'm sorry, audio editing. Why is that hard to say? Audio editing, scripting, 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.

 Craig 03:09 

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. 

 Craig 03:53 

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 episode. I'd love to hear what you think of these shorter episodes. 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, talk to you 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 livewellandflourish.com and I'll talk to you next time.