Discomfort. It says something - but most people misunderstand what it’s saying. There is no adaptation without discomfort - or to put it another way - we don’t change for the better when we insist on remaining comfortable.
What Does Discomfort Say?
To most people, discomfort says “Stop what you’re doing! This is hard!”
But for people who are dedicated to finding a way to improve, discomfort says “Ok - this is hard now, but if you keep at it, it will become easy.”
There is a really basic principle of physical adaptation - usually applied to exercise and working out. It’s called super-compensation, and all it means is this:
When you put your body under training stress, say you do heavier squats at the gym or run 5km as hard as you can, you cause some breakdown in the muscle tissues and you stress the central nervous system. Now, because we are very adaptable creatures, when my body repairs itself, it doesn’t just repair itself to the state it was before, it over-compensates by making itself stronger - building stronger muscles in neural connections.
The same is true for anything we engage in. So when we are uncomfortable, it’s out body’s signal to adapt and get better.
There are some obvious ways to increase ‘discomfort’ given the example above:
You can run longer, faster, add hill repeats if you want to become a better runner.
Or you can lift heavier weights if you want to get bigger and stronger.
Now think about the things you want to improve from a productivity standpoint or a leadership point of view. If you want to be more present, then don’t check your phone for one hour at a time If you want to be more productive then set deadlines every day that stretch you a little. If you want to give more control to your staff, then pick one thing to delegate every single day.
The main thing is it has to stretch you - even a little bit. If you do the same thing every day you stop adapting. But if you create even mild discomfort, you will start to make some progress.