A few weeks ago, I took a trip to Arkansas.
Since I didn’t know the area that well, I decided to do my half marathon training in the hotel gym instead of outside. Like most hotel gyms, they had a large list of disclaimers on the wall, but the last sentence on the sign stuck out to me:
“At first sign of discomfort, discontinue use.”
Now, granted, the hotel has to legally protect themselves, but that sentence is ridiculous. Do you know when I tend to experience discomfort? Every time I exercise. It turns out that not running 9 miles is more comfortable than running 9 miles. If at the first sign of discomfort, I discontinued use, I’d never exercise.
The sad thing, though, is that a lot of times we look at our dreams the same way. We buy the myth that, when we figure out our passion or our calling, it will be easy. It will flow like water and will be so natural that we don’t even notice what hard work it is.
But that is a lie.
Figuring out your dream is not the end of your discomfort. It is all too often the beginning of real, true, deep discomfort. Hard work doesn’t cease when you start chasing a dream. It begins.
And a lot of us don’t know that. So when our dream hits a bump in the road, when the first chapter of our book feels impossible, or the first quarter of our new business is difficult, or the first semester of grad school is a nightmare, we discontinue use.
We move on to something different. We quit. We think we must have found the wrong dream. Maybe there’s a different one that will never be hard or demanding or sweat and stress inducing.
Here’s the truth:
At the first sign of discomfort, keep working on your dream.
At the second sign of discomfort, keep working on your dream.
At the 100th sign of discomfort, keep working on your dream.
Comfortable dreams make for boring lives.
Right now, writing my book is uncomfortable to me. Are you experiencing any discomfort in your dream?