When I was in college I shared an apartment with two other guys. It was an absolute dump. It was hot. It smelled like ass, stale beer, and frozen pizza. The toilet was growing it’s own beard (“No! Don’t clean it! I want to see how big the beard can get. Thanks.”)

My bedroom was the rehearsal space for my band which meant I had to climb over a Neil Peart-sized drum kit just to get to bed every night. We were under constant fear of retribution for the pranks we pulled on others.

Looking back, you’d think we would talk about it like it was WWII Europe. Truth is we had a blast. We laughed so much. We were always creating some kind of an adventure. Each of us lived off a few hundred bucks a month, and even though things were far from perfect, I don’t ever remember feeling “uncomfortable”.

I interviewed Todd Kashdan recently and in his book, The Upside of Your Dark Side he talks about our growing addiction to comfort. In the last few decades, our lives have gotten more soft and fluffy.

The result? We’re becoming more fragile.

Bottom line: As we’ve gotten more comfortable, we’ve begun to believe we can’t survive without our comforts. We’re forgetting how resilient we are. We’re forgetting that we can thrive with much, much less.

But here’s the big thing — This “need” to be comfortable all the time is holding so many people back from the lives they truly want. They’re thinking and playing smaller and smaller.

I talk to guys every week that have money and resources and they’re bored out of their minds and they have plenty of good years left. They’re really not happy, but when we talk about the idea of making a transition into a more fulfilling path they go running for their “blankey”.

These guys are severely limiting their opportunities and their ability to enjoy their lives because they don’t think they can survive if things get uncomfortable for a little while. For them, any kind of decline in their level of comfort — physically, mentally, financially, emotionally — is unacceptable.

And since my years of living in that college dump, my collection of comforts has grown exponentially. I’m aware that I’m becoming more fragile, too! And let me be clear: I’m not saying that I want to go back to living like a cockroach.

But I have to wonder (based on how much fun it was) —

What if being less comfortable really wasn’t all that bad?

What if a willingness to be less comfortable could open the door to a more rewarding, fulfilling and enjoyable life?

And if you didn’t need to be so comfortable all the time, what doors might open for you?


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