“It’s amazing how much you can learn and grow if you’re open to it. I think so many times we let those opportunities pass us by because we’re either too comfortable to get off our butts and make a change, or we’re too busy to even notice the growing experience right in front of us.” I wrote this in a previous post but I want to expand on that thought a bit.
I currently find myself in a very uncomfortable place. The months leading up to this thru-hike have not been easy. I just want to to turn these sharp stones I walk on into soft sand, to crush the looming mountain in favor of flat ground, to climb out of this suffocating hole and breathe fresh air. I want to be comfortable again.
Because being uncomfortable is fucking hard.
But I am beginning to believe that these moments in our lives exist to push us out of complacency. It’s so much easier to sit back, relax, and watch life go by without acting. I’m not talking about taking sabbaticals, or time off, or anything like that. I’m a huge believer in that. And I’m not even saying that we have to be in an uncomfortable place in life to first learn and grow.
When I look back on the last few years, though, I can see how I didn’t take many steps to grow and I stalled. Or at least I saw the discomfort on the way to necessary change and shied away from it. Now I find myself in a place that’s forcing me to grow.
It’s wither and die or fight hard to grow roots.
Being uncomfortable heightens our awareness, forcing us to stop and look at where we find ourselves. We evaluate and figure out what to do in order to move forward, and in some cases simply survive. We are actively seeking progress.
A few weeks ago, I was talking with my friend Josh about all this. He called this a “wilderness” experience. He also pointed out that a wilderness experience almost always came right before a breakthrough. The intensity of life pushing you forward to where you need to be. He encouraged me, saying he sees a lot of potential in my situation. It can be hard for to see that when you’re in the fog of the moment, but I hold onto his words tightly. Ironically, I am about to literally enter the wilderness for the next five months.
The Appalachian Trail will certainly be uncomfortable. I will be wet, hungry, cold, tired, hungry, lonely, sore ... And did I mention hungry? I can’t say I’m looking forward to that, but those uneasy moments will intensify the joy and force me to live with eyes open to the growth opportunities everywhere. I am certainly excited about that!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Have you found an uncomfortable place in life has lead to incredible growth?
I am a filmmaker. I am an adventurer. I believe in children. My friends are obsessed with my beard. I am obsessed with beer. I want to embrace and fully live this life I’m blessed with. I want to be known as someone who loves deeply.
On May 16, 2017 I set out on my dream, the adventure of a lifetime: a 2,189.8 mile trek of the Appalachian Trail. I want to push people to live their dreams and pursue their passions.