Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is hard.
While we tend to experience our comfort zone as nice and fluffy (albeit a bit boring), leaving it can feel like trying to steer a small boat in the middle of a storm, all while being lost in the middle of an ocean.
Is it therefore a wonder people avoid feeling uncomfortable?
Of course, there are many benefits we can gain when we embrace the discomfort and leave our comfort zone.
For instance, I’m currently in the midst of a 30-day challenge where I post one full article each day.
Doing this has definitely pushed me outside my comfort zone but it has also given me self-confidence, direction, and even helped me get into a state of flow.
If you’re currently feeling uncomfortable, I’ve gathered 11 encouraging quotes from highly successful people. Their advice can help you get through the experience.
First, though, let’s look at a few questions that people often have about the advice to "get comfortable being uncomfortable."
Questions about embracing discomfort:
What does “get comfortable being uncomfortable” mean?
It means that you’re getting used to being in situations that are outside of your comfort zone. You might even actively pursue activities that put you outside of your comfort zone.
Is being uncomfortable a good thing?
Yes, it definitely can be! Being uncomfortable is part of what’s required to grow so if people don’t experience that feeling at all, they’re probably stagnating.
At the same time, not every discomfort is a good thing. I personally think you should step outside of your comfort zone in the pursuit of something you actually want, not just for the sake of being uncomfortable.
So, for instance, if you really want to be a singer in a band but feel uncomfortable about your voice, I think it’s worth it to push through that resistance. If, however, you feel uncomfortable about singing but have no desire to sing publicly, why would you put yourself through the discomfort?
Instead, find a goal that really lights you up and that’s outside of your comfort zone! There are only so many hours in the day so it makes sense to choose wisely.
Who said "get comfortable being uncomfortable"?
I have heard this from many different sources.
Personally, the first time I came across the saying “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” was in a Jillian Michaels exercise video (and yes, I was feeling pretty uncomfortable by the time she said it)—but that doesn’t mean that she originated it.
For instance, BrainyQuote attributes: “Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable” to Peter McWilliams.
The U.S. Navy Seals reportedly also have this as a saying.
There’s also a TED talk by Luvvie Ajayi with the title:
Quotes and advice to help you embrace discomfort:
1. Remember that you won't always feel uncomfortable about the same things because your comfort zone will expand
This quote by athlete Alex Honnold reminds you that your comfort zone isn't static:
“My comfort zone is like a little bubble around me, and I've pushed it in different directions and made it bigger and bigger until these objectives that seemed totally crazy eventually fall within the realm of the possible.”—@AlexHonnold
3. Have big goals and let them drive you forward through the discomfort
This quote by swimming legend Michael Phelps encourages you to have goals that stretch you:
"I think goals should never be easy, they should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time."—Michael Phelps @MichaelPhelps
4. Know or find your why as it can get you through almost every experience
With this powerful quote, the late psychotherapist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl reminds you about the importance of finding meaning in your experience:
“Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.” – Viktor Frankl
5. Practice doing uncomfortable things
This quote by the late First Lady and Human Rights Champion Eleanor Roosevelt reminds you that the more you practice doing things that are outside of your comfort zone, the better you will get at embracing discomfort:
“Do one thing everyday that scares you. Those small things that make us uncomfortable help us build courage to do the work we do.”– Eleanor Roosevelt
6. See your discomfort as a necessary part of growth
With this quote, motivational speaker T. Harv Eker reminds you to see your discomfort as a sign that you're growing:
“The only time you are actually growing is when you are uncomfortable.”– T. Harv Eker (@T_Harv_Eker)
7. Consider the long-term negative consequences of staying in your comfort zone
In this quote, psychotherapist Amy Morin reminds us to consider the negative consequences of avoidance:
Choosing to avoid uncomfortable feelings offers immediate short-term relief, but avoidance can lead to long-term consequences.–Amy Morin (@AmyMorinLCSW)
8. Make your comfort zone more uncomfortable as this will make the alternative more appealing:
With this quote, the late actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee encourages you to use the discomfort of your status quo to push through discomfort:
"God, make me so uncomfortable that I will do the very thing I fear."–Ruby Dee
9. Realize that everyone feels uncomfortable at times and that you're not alone
This quote by musician Moby reminds you that everyone around you also deals with discomfort and that it's part of our shared humanity:
"Everyone feels awkward, everyone feels uncomfortable, everyone gets older, everyone gets lonely, everyone gets sick, everyone eventually dies."—Moby (@thelittleidiot)
10. Use humor to make the experience lighter
This quote by musician Dolly Parton reminds us that humor can make anything a bit easier to bear:
"I'm comfortable in my own skin, no matter how far it's stretched. Ha ha."—Dolly Parton (@DollyParton)
11. Stop procrastinating and just do it now
This quote by businessmen Dave Morin reminds you to act now because uncomfortable things get harder the longer you wait:
"There are a lot of things that are uncomfortable and hard to do, and the longer you put off those things, the harder they get."—Dave Morin (@davemorin)
Ultimately, I think the secret to a good life is finding the right balance between comfort and discomfort.
Someone who's never uncomfortable doesn't grown, and someone who's always uncomfortable might not get to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Of course, our natural tendency is to avoid discomfort. The quotes and advice shared above can help you lean into the discomfort so that you can have the life you most want.
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