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#5: Success Vs. Comfort

Updated: Mar 15, 2019

Dear You,

A game show came on after the news this morning.  What an odd and ironic sequence, by the way.  Anyway, I’m way too lazy to get up and get the remote across the room, so I continued to watch it. Other than the fact that game shows are weirdly hard to not get passionately involved in, I also realized that game shows always have two types of contestants: the ones who choose the washer/dryer combo, and those who choose the possibility of something greater. 

We’ll call them Comfort and Impossible, respectively.

The Desire for Comfort is Impossible’s closest companion.  Without it, it would die of thirst.

You either tell yourself a washer/dryer set is all you really need in life and settle for something that's right in front of you, ready to be shipped to your doorstep.  You know you can have it by the end of the day to use for a while—until it breaks and you have to buy the same thing again.  Or you can choose what’s behind curtain #2. 

You can hope for something better—venture past the horizon for want of a better world.  You can choose to have faith in what you can’t see—the Impossible. 

Maybe you’re a photographer and you need to work on getting better at taking portraits in manual mode.  But Netflix just came out with Stranger Things season two, and you should probably save your almost empty gas tank.  Besides, it might rain, and you don’t want your gear to get ruined. 

I get it! I’ve been in this exact scenario more times than I’d like to admit.  I’ve talked myself out of so many things because Comfort was selling something so…comfortable.  And the unknown is the opposite of that! It’s scary and taunting and anxiety-provoking and a million other unpleasant adjectives.  The winner seems so clear. 

But remember one thing:

Ole Chris Columbus didn’t discover one of history’s greatest treasures by sitting inside and waiting for the rain to stop.  He got up, and he just went.  He embarked into a vast expanse without knowing what lies past the point where the sea kisses the sky. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t become the cornerstone of America’s Civil Rights movement by staying home and scrolling through Instagram.  He wasn’t searching for Comfort.  He decided to chase his dream, for which he released Comfort and filled his hands with a heavy hope for the Impossible. 

He turned down the washer/dryer set.

If you’re wondering why you haven’t achieved your goal yet, one thing holding you back could be your value for staying home with Comfort instead of journeying into the unknown (most likely where your success is waiting for you to arrive).

In order to gain the comfort of a stable, maybe even profitable, life, we must be willing to sacrifice the very thing we are in search of. 

Comfort is found when you finally decide to let go of your desire for it.

No man or woman, or animal for that matter, has ever gained the Impossible, comfortably.  No—in fact, the second that they chose to do away with it was also the very moment that the Impossible sauntered into reach. 

Now, you don’t have to go selling everything you own and spend the rest of your days with the forest as your home and squirrels for neighbors.  Not all comfort is evil.  Comfort is good—just not if it’s keeping you all to itself.

Save the Netflix as a reward you give yourself after you’ve gone out practicing with your camera.  Take the chance it might rain, and bring an umbrella.  You’re gonna use the gas anyway so you might as well spend it on a chance to better yourself. 

Turn down the washer and dryer, and go be the best version of yourself.  Challenge your limits.  Take the leap.  You’ll be surprised to see what you’re capable of.

Worst-case scenario, your dreams don’t happen.  But that story is gonna be way better than the one where you’re sitting at home, comfortable on the couch.

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