The right kind of discomfort and stress, in the right amount, can help us.
Let's say you're walking past a house on fire.
Do you run inside, on the off chance that someone might be in there? Probably not. You know you'll get burned. Probably, you call the fire department instead.
But let's say you arrive at the house and realise your baby is inside.
You dash inside the house, forgetting about your own discomfort, desperately searching for your child.
When you find your baby, grab her and bring her outside, you're probably suffering burns and smoke inhalation. Do you care much? Not in that moment.
You might not even feel the pain at all, your adrenaline is so high. All you care about is your child.
In that second example, you're willing to tolerate discomfort in the service of a higher purpose—saving your baby.
In fact, evolution has equipped us beautifully with systems (such as endorphins) that help us ignore pain when we're focused on survival or doing something more important.
The morals of the story:
1. Discomfort is subjective.
What we feel will depend on where we place attention. 2. We will need to deal with discomfort.
Life will be uncomfortable. It's non-negotiable. Practising accepting that will be worthwhile.
3. We can deal with discomfort.
Our bodies have the mechanisms necessary for managing and bouncing- back from discomfort. One of those mechanisms is purpose and future- thinking. If we're acting in the service of a strong purpose, we can more easily tolerate the discomfort in the moment.