The Power of Discomfort: Why Embracing Challenges Can Lead to a Better Life

In the book Comfort Crisis, Micheal Easter argues that our modern, comfortable lives are actually making us unhealthy and unhappy. He makes a strong case for embracing discomfort and provides plenty of examples of people who have found success by doing so.

It's a well-known fact that comfort can be a crutch. We all know people who, whether out of laziness or fear, never leave their comfort zones. And while it's easy to label them as "lazy" or "fearful," the truth is that most of us are guilty of the same thing from time to time.

Easter challenges the reader to rethink their definition of comfort and what it really means to be comfortable. He argues that our obsession with comfort has led to a society that is uncomfortable with discomfort and that this is having a negative impact on our mental and physical health.

We are moving about 14 times less than our ancestors. We spend 95 percent of our time indoors, and spend 11 hours and 6 minutes a day engaging with digital media. So we went from never having these digital media in our lives to now it’s essentially become our lives. And that’s had consequences for our attention, or awareness, how we spend our time and also our interactions with others. Things have really changed, and we’re too comfortable now.
– Michael Easter

We cling to our comfort zones because they're familiar and safe. But as the author points out in his book, that safety can actually be a curse. Because when we're too comfortable, we stop growing and evolving as people. We become stagnant, and eventually, our lives start to feel meaningless.

Michael Easter reviews the many dangers of comfort and the negative effects it has on our lives. Easter argues that we should ditch the unnecessary comforts in our lives and embrace a more traditional lifestyle.

We are living progressively sheltered, sterile, temperature-controlled, overfed, under-challenged, safety-netted lives.
– Michael Easter

The book is full of research and real-life examples that support Easter's argument, making it a convincing read. There are plenty of examples of people who have found success by embracing discomfort. Take, for example, the NBA's top exercise scientist who uses an ancient Japanese practice to build championship athletes. Or the neuroscientist who has found that nature tests our physical and mental endurance in ways that expand creativity while taming burnout and anxiety.

How to embrace discomfort

If you're looking to change your life for the better, Easter provides a blueprint for leveraging the power of discomfort. Here are a few of his suggestions:

  • Reconnect with the natural world. Spend time in nature and challenge yourself physically.
  • Be mindful of your mental health. Don't be afraid to seek help if you're struggling.
  • Embrace new experiences. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Doing physically hard things is an enormous life hack. Do hard things and the rest of life gets easier and you appreciate it all the more.
– Michael Easter

Michael Easter's book, Comfort Crisis, makes a strong case for embracing discomfort in order to live a better life. His examples of people who have found success by doing so are compelling and provide plenty of food for thought. If you're looking to change your life for the better, this book is definitely worth a read!


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