Personal Development

Discomfort is your friend

Today is day two in a series of posts dissecting Joe Rogan’s speech about discomfort and success. Click here to go to the first post in the series. The video is full of so much gold that I’m taking the next few days to go through it bit by bit. Yesterday, we talked about how act of reaching a goal is much more difficult than the act of maintaining a goal, yet most of us give up because of our fear and associations with discomfort.

My second aha moment of this video comes around 1:52. Joe talks about how often your level of success correlates to how much discomfort you can tolerate, saying “Discomfort is your friend.” The animation by After Skool really sums it up. As your level of discomfort goes up, so does your level of success.

This reminds me of an exercise I read about in “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss. In this exercise, he instructs you to go to a crowded public place and lay down on the ground for 30 seconds or a couple of minutes.

When I first read this exercise, I immediately felt uncomfortable. “No, I don’t want to do that! It’s dirty. People will think I’m crazy. This exercise is stupid.” I dismissed it and moved on. But the whole point of the exercise is to help you push past discomfort. The more you practice being in a situation of discomfort, the more it becomes normal to you.

“Discomfort is your friend.” Meaning, if your goal doesn’t make you sweat, you’re not dreaming big enough. Furthermore,

“You must be willing to do the things today others won’t do in order to have the things tomorrow others won’t have.”  –Les Brown

Are you willing to do the things others won’t do to create the level of success in your life that others will never have? What things are keeping you from making discomfort your friend?


If you haven’t read the first post in this series: Pushing past discomfort

If you haven’t watched the video (or would like to watch it again, like me):

Before you watch the video, be forewarned that the F bomb is used liberally. If kids are around, best to put on some headphones or wait until they’re in bed. If foul language bothers you, you can just skip the video, but that would be a darn shame to miss out on how much great content is packed into a mere seven minutes.

Pushing past discomfort

I recently came across a Youtube video of the comedian Joe Rogan talking about getting in shape (profanity alert). The video is entertaining, but more importantly, it’s chock full of great information.

Over the next few days, I will dissect and reflect on a few key points in this video that created light bulb moments for me. Before you watch the video, be forewarned that the F bomb is used liberally. If kids are around, best to put on some headphones or wait until they’re in bed. If foul language bothers you, you can just skip the video, but that would be a darn shame to miss out on how much great content is packed into a mere seven minutes.


My first aha moment comes at just 33 seconds in. Joe talks about how people fear the discomfort of exercise, but that in fact, exercise is only uncomfortable in the beginning.

I’ve long had this inkling that the journey of getting to a goal is much more difficult and time intensive than the act of maintaining that goal. It may take you hours of hard work to clean your house, but once it’s clean, it takes minutes every day to keep it clean.

Same with exercise. Not only will it take less time to maintain your physical fitness once you have it, but you’ll also enjoy exercising because you are past the point of discomfort.

So often we look at a mountainous goal and think, “Well, that looks too hard” or “It looks like too much work” or (and this is the big one) “I don’t have the time.” But what if reaching and maintaining that goal is actually more time efficient than never reaching it at all?

It takes a heck of a lot of effort to get a heavy boulder (or car) rolling, but once it’s in motion, it takes significantly less effort to keep it going. I’m reminded of the times in my life that for one reason or another, I’ve had to push a car. First, we start by rocking it back and forth. Each time it rocks, the car goes a little bit further until the time when it starts to roll forward. Once it’s rolling, it just takes consistent pressure to keep it going.

What are the areas of your life where you resist even starting the goal because of the association of discomfort? Do you ever quit before you really get going because you assume it will always be that hard?

You can be content while striving to be better

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how being content and striving to be better are not opposites, and yet we often see them that way. You can love your body and have a positive self-image while working on losing weight for your health. You can be happy in your job while looking for new opportunities. You can cherish moments at home with the kids and work towards having a more organized house.

But so often we see things as polar opposites. If we are on a diet, it’s because we hate the way we look. If we want a new job, it’s because we hate where we are currently. If we want a clean house, it’s because we’re fed up with the mess.

Friends, I’m here to tell you (and me) that it doesn’t have to be that way. Love and cherish the season you’re in now. Be grateful for everything that is great in your life. But by all means, go out there and CRUSH IT!

Not only can you be content while striving to be better, you should. Here’s why. When you’re content, you’re more pleasant to be around, happier, and more motivated. An employee who is content at their job is more likely to take on more projects, therefore making that person more desirable to other companies. If you’re happy with your body, you’re more likely to try out new things that can lead to weight loss, like a dance class or a walking club.

By being discontent and fed up with your current life, you might actually be stunting your growth.

Start by counting your blessings. I’ve heard that phrase time and time again, but it hasn’t really sunk in until recently. Gratitude is so important. So many of us skip right past all the little blessings in our lives onto the complaints. But if you are reading this right now, you have a lot to be thankful for. You have access to a computer and the internet. You have free time to read. You have the breath in your lungs.

Count your blessings. Look for opportunities that come your way and pursue them with all the might you can conjure up. Let’s do this!