It’s probably weird if someone said, “wow, my life is great right now so I need to do something to change it asap” but that’s basically what I’m getting at.
Sounds counter-intuitive right?
Several comments bought up fitness as something great but counter-intuitive. Totally true! Being fit requires some serious soreness, lots of time commitment to nutrition and working out consistently. None of which is comfortable – but should you still do it? Absolutely!
Normal people find good in comfort but the biggest thing I’ve learned in 2018 is how little good comfort actually does. Especially if you’re only in your 20s, 30s, and 40s. The body isn’t tired so the spirit shouldn’t be either!
The latter half of my 2018 has been a mulling of comfort. I sold our Airbnb rental and that freed a few hours. I streamlined some of my duties for the rest of my 2 Airbnbs and puppers daycare so I got a chance to recover from burnout.
Sounds great right? Mini vacation!
Well, not after about 2 months! You can’t go on perma-vacation mode. Then comes dreaded boredom…
Where my husband works, the workplace consensus for a complete “work reset” is about 6 weeks. I found that to be very true. Employees usually need 6 weeks to completely remove themselves from burnout plus recover to a normal state.
It was also around mid-2018 of this year that we hit our first $1 million in liquid net worth. For a lot of people, $1 million dollars is the hallmark of “OK, I can retire early and live relatively prudently from now on.”
It’s an enviable position and we are certainly charmed that Lady Luck has kissed us slightly earlier on at age 27 and 30. Don’t get me wrong on that.
But I noticed it was during all that, the whole “deep life projects” really came out springing and fighting to be heard.
(Refresher course: deep life projects = a focus on mastery, continuing learning, passion, meaning, and celebrating individualistic talents.)
Actually…2018 has been quite exciting. All I have to do is read back on this blog diary and realize I’ve learned + grown a lot.
I’ve got even more to learn! Likeeee, I just learned this: comfort can be bad.
Why Comfort is Bad
Short and sweet: comfort is bad because facing adversity keeps us fighting, growing, learning and forcibly places our trust in others we wouldn’t have given away otherwise.
“The goal isn’t to avoid lifting a finger on this planet, but to dig in with both hands to the wisdom of uncomfortable places.” –Joe Robinson
They say some animals placed into captivity suffer or die earlier from boredom. This puts zoos in a critical position to entertain these intelligent animals with proper surroundings. They’re not used to domesticated comforts coming from a lifetime of struggling in the wild.
When The Frugal Gene started becoming more and more comfortable, I started getting bored.
Boredom turns to apathy and apathy does nothing for growth.
I started piecing other web projects together to shake myself out of my comfort zone and tap into a portion of me that wouldn’t necessarily fit in with the rant spitting, uber personal, frugal loving blog TFG is.
But that’s not to say I don’t adore almost 200 posts written on this blog.
You can see my journey as a person. I’m pretty damn sure I’ve said a couple of embarrassing things within those 200 posts that today I think… “wow, you dumb ass.”
But I don’t take it back.
There’s no regret. It’s all part of my growth as a person of age 25/26.
I’m proud of everything I work on, I can see my own personal growth from just last year alone has been astounding.
It’s amaze-balls O_O!
Every new thing is a challenge. That’s one selfish reason to build more projects and never fully “retire.”
It adds a necessary excitement and purpose back into my rather boring, captive life.
How to Be Uncomfortable
Comfort isn’t always bad. But it’s mostly bad to me because that’s when a lot of amazing people with great potential get…lazy.
I’m afraid my hubby might be such a person although I’m grooming him away slowly as he picks up my infectious drive. —
(Until we become parents one day that is, which is a hugeeee project in itself.)
So how do you fight stagnating comfort once you have encountered it? Don’t worry, it doesn’t happen overnight so just give generous time. You have to find a passion first and then do it scared.
1. Make Measured Risks
Taking up measured risks for most of us is simply becoming financially independent enough to make an untraditional sacrifice or move.
For example, I had to scale back slightly on this blog even though it’s doing well. I love that whatever is in my head is being read by thousands of new people every month. But sometimes, you have to sacrifice a little darling piece in order to move forward.
A good number of you readers already know about what one of my secret projects is 🙂
I’ve been spending a good few hours everyday building it up.
It sounds dorky but I never had so much fun in my life wiggling with this new project.
It’s extremely difficult for me to come off positive, extroverted, and short-versed (instead of the side rants I go on typically on this blog.) Project “M” is more than halfway out of my comfort zone for sure yet I LOVE IT.
One can’t even fathom how happy I am to figure out this entire puzzle. I *love* a good challenge and this is definitely one. After I get a hang of this first project then I can gather my knowledge to build and do something even more challenging!
Don’t get me wrong…almost everything is frustrating as hell. I didn’t exactly make the best decisions from the get-go even with prior experience…
But that’s the best thing: I learned a lot more fudging up!
The more frustrating = the more rewarding. How odd is that?
It’s like a teething baby. High rates of new growth hurt.
Soon a new set of teeth will come in and allow you to bite off new, better, wonderful things.
2. Hack Your Brain
In my sleep, I concentrate on a problem before bed and I can usually retain a portion of consciousness while asleep to analyze and solve that problem before I wake up.
NOT sure if there’s a scientific term for it…is it called…Incubation? Or another form of lucid dreaming?
(*Tries to recall my neuroscience university days…*)
EDIT: I found a Psychology Today article about problem-solving while asleep if you want to learn more.
“We’ve come across many individuals who regularly use lucid dreaming to tackle problems they find difficult to solve in waking life. One professional musician hears rock lyrics when he becomes lucid, which he writes down the next day. And one painter dreams he is standing at a door that separates him from his next masterpiece. After walking through the door, he studies the painting that appears and repaints it later from memory.”
I know if I think about a problem deeply before bed, I will continue solving it in my sleep that I wouldn’t have been able to if I was awake. Pretty neat feature o’ human brain 👍
No matter what I was studying in school, I’ve ever done that before. I never felt the need to disturb my sleep to figure things out in any subject because I didn’t care.
Schooling for me was largely a waste. Yes, I was a good student – honors, dean’s list blah blah blah – but I definitely had no interest in what I was learning.
They gave us set criteria and boxes to learn and study – biology class, psychology, literature, organic chemistry etc. neat little boxes. But life is wider than that.
Self-learning is one of heck of a skill (my public) school didn’t teach. Lucid learning is a kick-ass feature too!
3. Bring Dedication
Most people (especially my ex-workers) were happy with a 9 to 5 work life. Pick up a paycheck, drive home, see their kids (not about the kids) for an hour or two then sleep.
I couldn’t make it past the first week employed without feeling crushed and empty no matter what extracurricular sprinkles I put on my poopy life sundae.
*insert poop sundae image*
I didn’t know what was wrong with me. It was spectacularly startling of a difference between others and myself. I thought there was something wrong with me because I demanded so much more from my life. And I never found anything or had a positive environment that encouraged me, coming from a dilapidated household of bad role models.
Related: The 11 Perks of Growing Up Poor
The past 7 nights of sleeping, 3 of those nights I had problem-solving dreams regarding issues associated with my deep life work and woke up so happy to have solved them! This is what I like to submerge myself in. Not sure what more proof do I require from myself that I enjoy what I do 🙂
There are more backend work and TONS of learning. Oh. My. God. I love learning and growing in this entire journey, it is fascinating. Probably the most fun I’ve had in a while!
Naturally, I’m hoping ALL of my life projects will pay off one day too of course. It doesn’t matter when…I have the rest of my Life (22,000 days!)
It can be when I’m dead/unsuccessful, doesn’t matter! I live on the hope of reaffirmation and interest which drives dedication.
All in all, it’s much better to fall in total love doing something than sitting there with absolutely nothing. Yeah?
4. Learn to Learn (Even if You’re Not “Smart”)
OK, I’m done gloating about how much I love my work.
I know I’m not as smart as 80% of other finance bloggers. Bottom 20%, and that’s being generous with myself. But-but-butttt, I *try* harder to make up for my shortcomings by mixing in creativity and some damn fine luck. Of course, I wish I was smarter/faster learner but I know where I want to go and do with my life which is a huge leg up that most people don’t have.
I’ll never be the smartest person in a FinCon room but that’s good because I can learn from them.
There are a lot of ways a person can step out of their comfort zone and take a risk. Have you ever exchanged or risk something with something else even though it was going just fine? Have you ever solved problems while asleep?