When things that once challenged us no longer do, we can either choose comfort in routine or growth in new challenges.
There is nothing wrong with comfort in itself.
We all crave it in some way.
After all, growth and progress are not sustainable without some time for rest, recovery, and reflection in our lives.
The problem arises when comfort becomes our standard and we begin avoiding that which makes us uncomfortable, that which is difficult, and that which challenges us to improve.
Comfortability causes us to close our minds to new ideas, experiences, and opportunities because what we are doing seems to be working, or at least it works at keeping us comfortable.
We soon forget the excitement and satisfaction that comes from facing and overcoming resistance, frustration, and failure.
We forget what it feels like to experience the extremes of our joy and our pain, and we settle for the mundanity of that which is merely good enough.
Long periods of comfort in our lives should be seen as a warning sign that we are not pushing ourselves hard enough, that we are not reaching far enough, and that we have ceased striving for growth, improvement, and experience.
There is no reason to put our health, safety, or relationships in jeopardy simply for a new challenge, but, at the same time, we must recognize that most experiences worth having are not easily had.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.
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