We can do hard things.
On the value of discomfort.
Life hasn’t always been this comfortable.
For most of human history, physical discomfort and challenges were baked into daily experience. The concept of a hot shower or a refrigerated meal would have be the most luxurious thing imaginable for the vast majority of humans throughout time. Instead they were bathing in a cold river, building or fixing their shelter, farming their land, or hunting their dinner. Hunger being much more likely than satiety.
Daily life was…hard.
I’m very grateful for the conveniences and unassuming luxuries of being alive today. But a side effect of our modern comforts is that we miss out on the very predictable and tangible benefits that are the result of doing difficult things. Difficult things that don’t involve sitting behind a computer screen or staring at a phone. But when we can find a way to incorporate them into our lives…
We hack our way into the present moment. Difficult things by their nature require all of our attention. In our overly connected world, this ability to tap into the present moment through challenging ourselves is a gift.
We gain confidence. When we do hard things, we’re casting a vote for the type of person we are. I’m a person that can do hard things. This becomes the natural result for our mindset because we have evidence in our daily lives that it’s true.
The rest of life gets easier. If you want time to slow down, sit in a cold plunge for 3 minutes. Devoting just a few minutes per day to intentionally doing hard things raises the bar of what difficult feels like, making most other things seem easier.
We improve our ability to respond to adversity. Moving and testing our bodies builds resilience because we’re putting ourselves in situations where our mind has to stay positive and focused in spite of the difficulty of the moment.
For me, things like fasting, lifting weights, rowing, cold plunges, and breath work are my preferred vehicles for controlled suffering. For others it might be yoga, or walking, or mountain biking, or burpees. The what doesn’t matter as much as The Work.
None of us are superhuman.
But we can all benefit from feeling a little stronger in our bodies and a little stronger in our spirits. Strong in the ways that matter. Strong in the commitment and love we show to ourselves in the process. Strong in the mind and focusing on what’s in our control.
Ourselves. But stronger.
Whenever you’re ready, there’s two ways I can help you: