Discomfort is the root of growth

Published 7:00 am Friday, November 14, 2014

Mark Twain once said that he never let his schooling interfere with his education. I’ve always loved that quote because he used so few words, yet he said something so poignant.
His words are open to interpretation, but I’ve always believed this was his subtle way of advocating people to push themselves in life and to think outside the box. Of course, there are valuable things that can be learned in school, but experience is life’s greatest teacher, and you won’t get any worldly experience if you stay locked up in your own corner of the world.
Personally, I don’t think people can truly learn anything deeply intuitive about themselves when they are comfortable. I’m not talking about memorizing multiplication tables or dates in a history book, but genuine responses to adversity or change.
There’s a reason many people don’t put themselves out there – it’s hard. It’s scary, and sometimes it can hurt.
The fact that change and adversity are hard and scary is the reason you should experience them, and I think that’s what Twain was trying to say in his original quote. Logically, we will resist things that sound uncomfortable. The logic we often use to talk ourselves out of new things is the schooling Twain is referring to, while the education is the heart.
Sometimes you’ll get the urge to do things that might not make sense to your parents, or your friends or even yourself. Don’t let anything talk you out of that feeling – there are always a million reasons not to do something.
I started playing racquetball recently, and I was terrible at it. I got beat relentlessly by every player at my gym for months, until finally, I’m decent. I love it now, and I can’t imagine a time in my life where I won’t be playing.
Everything you might love and be good at someday, you’ll be terrible at when you begin. Just do something your schooling wouldn’t lead you to do.
As said in my favorite movie, “O’ Brother Where Art Thou?”: “It’s a fool that looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox