rashid elhawli

Why ‘getting comfortable being uncomfortable’ is misleading

The phrase ‘get comfortable being uncomfortable’ is out of touch with reality. Let me explain.

The expression by its very definition goes against what it means to get out of your comfort zone. When we are told to get out of our comfort zone, it is to reach the boundary between inner peace and anxiety. You are to push yourself to the point where you induce an anxious state that through experience you have learned to qualm.

Case in point

The greatest example highlighting what’s been said above is that of public speaking. I remember reading a ridiculous stat that said something like 75% of Americans are petrified of public speaking. I’m sure the figures are similar in other parts of the world.

When getting up to speak publicly, everybody feels a little queasy, knots in their stomach and to a certain extent, has a mini-anxiety attack. This is an uncomfortable situation for the vast majority. However what differs whether you drown in sweat and panic or rise to the occasion and nail it, is mindset and experience.

Experienced speakers go through the same pre-talk nerve wreck stage, but they have been through it so many times they can skip the pre-game nerves. They develop coping mechanisms allowing them to take it all in their stride. Some may hold their hands together while others walk across the stage.

Where’s this going I hear you ask? Time to bring it altogether.

Bring it in

Public speaking is something people often feel very uncomfortable doing. It represents an uncomfortable state of affairs that brings many to their wits end. It is not dissimilar to transcending an individual’s comfort zone and moving into the world of discomfort. As children we did this on a regular basis as it was necessary for progression from one phase of human development to the next.

As a child you experienced many moments of anxiety and embarassment. Difference is, you did not worry about how you looked going through these phases. You accepted this as the standard or didn’t think of what the standard was at all.

As adults, we are more in tune with our emotional side and find it increasingly difficult to deal with the blows to our self-esteem. In turn, we can develop ways of coping with these feelings when they arise, just like the public speaker. Every person will find a unique way of doing this, or hear it from someone and find it works for them.

If there’s anything I can contribute it’s to be that child again, only this time a wiser version.:)



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