Learning to be comfortable in the discomfort of breaking the norm!


We are puppets of our habits. Unknowingly, our comfort is embedded in our everyday routines. Any disruption of our norm makes us uncomfortable.

For example, I like to be very busy. If the workload decreases, I quickly get uncomfortable. So to get back to the norm, I start finding work. Similarly, I know people who exercise daily. If they miss out on their exercise, the first thing they want is to get back to the routine.

But, there is so much to learn from the discomfort of unusual experiences. We need some patience to rest in this state and ask a few fundamental questions. Rather than thinking about getting back to routine, there is a value in rethinking to think differently. If we rush back to our norm, we miss out on learning.

I am not ashamed to admit that I lack this patience. So, of course, I am the first to rush back to my routine. But, whenever I stopped and asked myself the right questions, I had some remarkable learning experiences.

So, rather than finding more work, when I asked myself:

  • Why do I want more work? Is it for more money, learning, career, or business?
  • What should I do differently next time, so I do not get into a similar situation again?

There is immense wisdom in answering such questions and changing things with a long-term view of life. All we need is patience to be comfortable in the discomfort of breaking the norm.

Here are a few questions for Project Sponsors to consider:

  • The project has been running fine up till now. However, in the last Project Status Report, the Project Manager has reported that the project is likely to be over budget and may need additional time to complete.
  • After training on the new system, the end-users hated the new solution.

How would you be in the state of patience, and what would you ask yourself in such situations. Remember, your first instinct would be to get things back on track. However, there is value in staying comfortable in uncomfortable situations and asking the right questions for pure learning. There is heaps of value in it!