Embracing “Comfortable Uncomfortability”

We are all guilty of is this:

Residing within our comfort zones. 

The problem is not that comfort zones exist, but that these zones are where we migrate to, and often, make the conscious choice to stay.  I’m guilty of this at times and I feel that this is one of the biggest roadblocks, not only in the martial arts world, but the world in whole.

I first started to ponder this question seriously was when I was in college.  I had purchased Anthony Robbin’s Personal Power cd series and was surprised to find out why I would have trouble becoming a millionaire (when I joined “The real world.”)

Not only did I (negatively) associate “being rich” with being stereotyped and constantly hounded for “hand-outs” but I felt that people would think that I came about my wealth dishonestly.  I personally felt (and sometimes still do) that people of monetary means must step on and swindle from others to get the “leg up.”  Goal-setting, neuro-association, and motivation aside…

a huge component to success (in anything), comes down to being comfortable stepping outside our comfortability.

In business, this may making “cold calls,” speaking in front of crowds doing or client follow-ups.  In your work-outs, it may take the form of “that class that you heard will kick your ass.”  In your personal life, it might be telling someone that you love them.  Whatever it is, we need to recognize that embracing “the different,” the often “uncomfortable” option can create tremendous psychological growth.

An abundance of psychological growth can lead to only this: greater personal power and freedom.

Our limitations (for the most part) are mental limitations, emotional limitations causing inflexibility in life and our relationships.

Exercising and building on this skill, like anything else, will get easier with practice.  Let’s start today.  Do that “one last rep” that your body felt it couldn’t do.  Say yes, to a task/challenge that you’ve been wanting to meet.  If it’s a large task, create a step-by-step process that will outline your path to success.  I’m ready… I hope you are!

Coach Michael Joyce

Golden Thread Workshops / ChenCenter

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

3 Responses to “Embracing “Comfortable Uncomfortability””

  1. When your space is evaded, whether it’s a private environment like someone snooping through your valuables, of psychological, like someone yelling at you on the phone, there is a certain process your psyci enters. This is worth studying because it’s important to discipline yourself to think rationally in every circumstance. Your brain can be 4 sections. The reptilian which insites your fight or flight, mammalian or your emotions, cognitive reasoning, and muscle memory.
    So this is what happens: say your happy. All your physiological needs are met. You have food, shelter, friends, direction in life, and you truly enritch your soul with new wisdom. Your using your cognitive reasoning. This part of your brain uses the most energy and as is very slow, cause it’s so powerful.
    Someone begins to envade your space: your brain switches from reasoning to mammalian, because it has a faster and uses less energy, giving your body more energy. Or in otherwords you begin to become emotional.
    As the invasion increases to include physical harm : your brain continues until it decides whether fight or flight is needed. This is why when your a kid shadows at night look like monsters. The part of your brain working at that moment is really simple and processes as little information as possible, but it’s really fast, and you can decide to run away really fast, consequently.
    So enters muscle memory : it’s also really fast, uses little energy, and still allows cognitive reasoning to function. When you train martial arts this is what happens. You body repeats training allowing your mind room to breath and adjust behaviors appropriately.
    To summarize. When you imagine about situations, your still training muscle memory. Like going over a kata in your head. You can prepare your reactions at your space being invaded by imagining how you should react that is more prosperious for you and the other person. This also allows cognitive reasoning to decide whether it’s just someone just blowing off steam or pocketing a knife.
    Keith Carter

  2. And that is the hardest training regime of all.

  3. Excellent article! I’m always working to build a comfort zone, only to come upon a new uncomfortable situation to overcome. Endless cycle for me, holding a comfort zone seems futile. Kieth-I’ve always been a firm believer in developing and maintaining muscle memory because of the physical body’s intelligence can form a sound foundation for the reptilian, mammalian and cognitive reasoning. The latter 3 can definitely go haywire.

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