The Secret to Growth

Amusement rideGrowth involves discomfort.  Whether it’s appropriate soreness after a workout or pre-speech butterflies, it is often not possible to make progress without experiencing this unpleasant sensation.

Good parents recognize that their children’s health and growth is dependent upon trying healthy foods,  learning new skills and suffering a few uncomfortable moments along the way.  A child cannot learn to walk without falling.  A young adult is not likely to go through his or her first interview without some level of nervousness.

The problem is, particularly as we get older,  that we somehow come to believe that we have graduated from the need to experience discomfort.  We do not go camping because we prefer our own bed.  We do not learn a new language because we do not want to sound  silly.  We do not start a running program because we do not want to be sore. The list continues…

What we fail to recognize is that by seeking to avoid discomfort,  we are crippling ourselves. We may also be damaging our health. We are blind to the  terrible bargain we are making in trading long term health and growth in order to avoid momentary discomfort.  We miss out on so much!  I can’t help but reflect back upon a sign I saw hung to encourage triathlon participants in Ironman Canada. The sign read:  “The suffering is temporary but the satisfaction of completion will last a lifetime.”

It’s time we all embraced discomfort as a healthy indication of expanding our  life experiences and capabilities.


[If you enjoyed this article, please consider reading The Secret to Overcoming Obstacles and 3 Ways to Harness the Power of Stress.]


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