A New Perspective
There was a stage in primary school, where I was so utterly content with my life that I hadn’t ever come to consider the notion of mobility outside of my little city. I hadn’t considered ever leaving Sydney. It encouraged a great lifestyle and it seemed big enough to feel exciting. I had people surrounding me who loved and nurtured me; and I had two beautiful little dogs who never left my side. I was beyond comfortable.
A number of years later, when I started Art School, my little bubble was burst. I was getting itchy feet and had started dipping my toes into the thrill-giving globe-trotting lifestyle. It wasn’t until I had met my sculpture lecturer, Richard Goodwin. He would always give soul inspiring lectures but one thing he urged me to challenge myself with was discomfort. He believed we thrived most when we were being challenged.
I had always prided myself in being independent, driven and adventurous. I would fearlessly embrace the unknown, jump into the deep end, run wilding into the darkness; yet here I was too self-consumed to plan my life beyond Sydney. I certainly was not going to be spending my whole life in Sydney.
This prompted me to plan a year-long backpacking trip. The plan was to visit places I had never seen, with people I had never met, to do things I had never done. I didn't really have much of a plan beyond this, I just figured things always fall into place. This one step has sparked a thousand more. It has taught me to say yes, to embrace challenge, and to look at life with a smile. I ended up stepping of the train in Chicago and feeling overwhelmed by a feeling no other place has given me. Within the first few weeks I had made many friends who would become family to me. I had picked up some work and I was accepting invitations which had me going to new events almost every night.
I have learnt from all of these adventures that seeking discomfort is healthy. It has taught me life lessons I could never have learnt in a classroom and it has given me a sense of pride in knowing I can harness my strength to overcome difficulty.
Today, people so often shy away from discomfort because they are afraid of failure. As adults, we forget that our whole childhood was stained with failure and perseverance; and that is how we managed to master something. I will never say that any of this has been easy. But this is exactly why I do it. Every obstacle I encounter serves as a reminder to learn, adapt and develop.
As I start harnessing my practice with a new found love for discomfort, I encourage all of you to assess your own scale of discomfort. To take a new approach to something, to learn a new skill, to experience something that makes you quiver. And to endure those clumsy beginnings!! You will feel so satisfied when you get to the end.
Let me know how you plan to see discomfort in the comments below!