Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Philosophy lesson: Discomfort

True on many levels... not just physical. I think it speaks to values like discipline, perseverance, and the power of the human spirit.

From Dean Karnazes, an ultramarathoner....

"Western culture has things a little backwards right now. We think that if we had every comfort available to us, we’d be happy. We equate comfort with happiness. And now we’re so comfortable we’re miserable. There’s no struggle in our lives. No sense of adventure. We get in a car, we get in an elevator, it all comes easy. What I’ve found is that I’m never more alive than when I’m pushing and I’m in pain, and I’m struggling for high achievement, and in that struggle I think there’s a magic.

... there are three reasons why you and I should embrace discomfort, whether we deliberately choose it, or it simply happens to us.

  1. Comfort is overrated. It doesn’t lead to happiness. It makes us lazy—and forgetful. It often leads to self-absorption, boredom, and discontent.
  2. Discomfort can be a catalyst for growth. It makes us yearn for something more. It forces us to change, stretch, and adapt.
  3. Discomfort is often a sign we’re making progress. You’ve heard the expression, “no pain, no gain.” It’s true! When you push yourself to grow, you will experience discomfort.
The bottom line is this: you can either be comfortable and stagnate or stretch yourself—become uncomfortable—and grow. You may think that comfort leads to happiness. It doesn’t. Happiness comes from growth and feeling like you are making progress."
Dean Karnazes who wrote the above knows a little about discomfort. He ran fifty marathons in fifty states on fifty consecutive days! Sounds impossible, but true. He also ran 135 miles nonstop across Death Valley in 120 °F temperatures, and a marathon to the South Pole in −40 °F weather. He runs 100-170 miles per week.

For me... resistance today, stairs tomorrow, speed on Fri. I'm going to use next week as a recovery week and am planning just 2 running days. Weight is on target: 141.4.

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