Comfort or Growth

Comfort or Growth: are you going for one or the other? I am not so naïve as to believe that we all fall entirely into one of the two camps, but I do wonder if we all can’t align ourselves more with one or the other as a life goal, as a way we organize ourselves, lean with our values, and tend to base our decisions. Are we striving to be ever more comfortable? To have easier and easier lives, as the rate of our technological development may suggest? Or do we gain pride in life by having to stretch ourselves, by waking up everyday with a hurdle to overcome, a challenge to navigate, defining our sense of self worth with martyr-like work at all hours of our lives?  Is it all about the next gadget or job that will make life more luxurious? or Is it all about how hard we’ve worked and what tasks we have completed?

Or perhaps we find, again, two dialectically opposed concepts that, when lived in some form of balance, provide a deeper level of fulfillment and meaning in life. To strive towards a goal, and pause to celebrate the realization of it… to hike to the top of the mountain, breathe deeply and take in the view… to work long hours on projects, and then turn off the screens when on vacation… to communicate openly with our partner, exposing our hurt, anger, and vulnerability, and then to be able to share in a deeper love when the conflict has momentarily resolved.

Perhaps the true essence of comfort for which we strive is not in luxury, but rather in being able to rest after work, to pause and experience the benefits of the growth we have pursued, to see the distance traveled and marvel at it while we rest our tired feet in the cool clear stream. 

Life will not get easier, but we may get better at living it.

As you pendulate between comfort and growth, I invite you to ask yourself to which side of the spectrum you tend to gravitate. Maybe you drift towards one over the other most days, maybe it depends on the season or the area of your life. Perhaps with this awareness you may practice choosing your actions a bit more intentionally, so that you can:

  • Cherish a moment of closeness with your children without running out the door to work
  • Recognize all that you have accomplished in this life, this year, this week, this day! rather than seeing the never-ending list of to-do’s
  • Focus on the beauty of the world around you rather than thumbing your way through endless screens of other people’s lives
  • Get outside
  • Remember that you can do much more than you think possible
  • Feel the accomplishment that is SWEAT!
  • Experience the fulfillment of completing a goal
  • Celebrate someone else’s completion of a goal without comparing yourself to them
  • Start noticing what the other person is doing well rather than all of their flaws
  • and more....

Two questions for today:

  1. When was the last time you worked hard at something, something you really weren’t so sure you could do, and felt the satisfaction of completion? (this could be in the area of your job, physical ability, relationship, spirituality, community, etc).
  2. When was the last time you paused to enjoy the present moment? (with a loved one, a delicious meal, time away from work, unstructured time outside, pursuing a hobby, etc.)

We would love to hear from you and your experiences of comfort and growth!