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Leaning Into Discomfort

May 2, 2016

 

Life is pretty interesting in that growth comes through some sort of short term discomfort of some form or fashion.  When we grow, we are on some level shedding off old ideas, habits, patterns etc and creating a new way of doing, being, living, and thinking. This by definition creates immediate discomfort.  

 

What is interesting that I have noticed is this discomfort is not naturally where I or anyone else wants to spend their time.  Quite a few people, maybe most people, I know equate happiness with comfort, but in reality it probably is the opposite.  Happiness comes through growth which comes through short term discomfort.  The Navy SEALs figured this out a while ago and obviously engage in daily discomfort.  This can be personified through two of their mottos that I love, "The only easy day was yesterday". and "Get comfortable being uncomfortable".

 

Basically if you are not pushing yourself to discomfort than you are not growing, but just like Navy SEALs a person can condition themselves to expect and embrace discomfort.  Just like talking to anyone that has worked out for a while, they get to a point to where if they are not sore they are disappointed because they feel they have shortchanged their workout.  The discomfort of soreness shows them growth.  

 

Other situations where you are trying to figure out a tough ass problem and you are racking your brain and you feel frustrated and pissed off because you know the answer is there but you can't seem to grasp it, that mental frustration is growth.  Language experts say the best place you want to be with new foreign words is when the new words are on the tip of your tongue, because this is the brain stretching and growing to make new pathways for the new language.  

 

I had large goals in all aspects of my life that would require me to have hockey stick like growth.  So a few years ago in my own life I took a look under the hood to see if I was personifying these Seal mottos of discomfort.   With my goals in mind I had an epiphany and thought to myself, "What if I actually started to lean into discomfort and seek it out".  Not like a masochist trying to hurt myself but consciously choose the hard path where growth was inevitable.   Really look at each day and try and plan at least one point during the day where I would be in discomfort whether it's being overwhelmed or pushed to my limit physically, mentally, or emotionally.  

 

Most people every day do the exact opposite, try to find a way to make each day as easy as possible, but if I choose daily to be in discomfort than every day I should experience a little growth in some form or fashion.

 

Putting that together for a year I will be operating on a totally different level and my comfort level will grow to be other peoples extreme discomfort level.  Operating on this higher level will allow me to achieve and surpass the goals and now set even larger more audacious goals. Rinse, Repeat. 

 

As a firm, raising our discomfort bar is incredibly important and powerful in the space we work, running and trading a private fund.   We see how being able to weather immediate discomfort and choosing growth can be incredibly powerful.  Just like working out, trading can be very simple.  We have  put incredible amounts of work into our strategy which in itself took a lot of growth, but the real discomfort and growth comes from following the strategy religiously through profits AND losses.  

 

Trading, just like working out, is easy to get started. The hard part is sitting through the discomfort of losses (which is the only way to get to large growth) just like you have to go through the soreness and pain to get enormous growth working out.  Most, probably 90%, of people cannot follow a trade plan through the drawdowns (losses), just like most people will quit a workout when it gets hard.  

 

What we do for our partners is utilize our heightened discomfort levels which allows us to continue to follow the plan especially when it gets hard, being aware that the discomfort we feel during the losses is the growth that gets us to our gains.  

Are your days spent seeking out comfort or growth?  The answer can and will change your life.

Best

RM

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