I believe that you can have courage or comfort and that no one has ever grown being comfortable.
This is a belief that I have held for the last 5 years of my life, that has driven me to take risks, bet on myself, and push past the limits I had previously self-imposed. In reflection, the choice of courage over comfort has led me to the accomplishments of which I am most proud.
What is courage?
Courage to me is facing the unknown. It is taking the road less travelled. It is feeling through anxiety and pressure, in the pursuit of uncovering something more.
Courage is looking your doubts in the eye and setting your sights past them. It is listening to what you want and not focusing on external validation. Courage is constantly seeking out the best, despite how hard it may be to achieve.
What is comfort?
Comfort to me is settling. It is being okay with complacency. It is giving in to the easy things because the things that push you are scary. It is hiding from your potential.
Comfort is listening to the voices that tell you that your aspirations are risky or difficult. It is deciding that the pain of failure is not worth the chance of success. Comfort is making excuses for why you can’t, rather than seeking out ways that you can.
My favourite quote from Paulo Coelho’s book, The Alchemist is:
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is far worse than the suffering itself and that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in pursuit of its dreams”
Fear is a natural human emotion. It can protect you from danger but it can also paralyze your ability to achieve.
I believe in courage over comfort because I never want to stop growing. I believe that life is all about growth.
What is growth?
Growth is how you nurture yourself, the people around you, and the places you exist.
Life without growth is comfortable but it is a stale state of existence.
Not allowing yourself to grow is self-sabotage in a silent way. This self-sabotage comes to light when one minute you are going through the motions, existing peacefully and the next moment you are questioning your actions and regretting the chances you did not take.
Failure is a difficult emotion to experience, but the most successful people learn to thrive off of failures. They take each disappointment and turn it into a lesson, a chance for learning, and an opportunity for growth.
Rumbling with Failure
People who rumble with failures learn how to bet on themselves. They bet on their ability to improve and achieve.
If you are not willing to bet on yourself, why should anyone else?
Choosing courage teaches you how to learn from your mistakes, push through the discomfort of failure and become a champion of betting on yourself. The greatest result of doing this is that when you open yourself up through courage the world begins to bet on you.
Why bet on yourself?
Taking risky opportunities can lead to a dead-end, or lead to another branch of chances. When you reach out to grab opportunities you experience exponential growth. When you remain in your place of safety, where things remain the same and you can predict outcomes, you unknowingly close the door to branches of chance.
I believe in courage over comfort because I have felt the fear of hanging onto a risky branch, but I have also felt the high of reaching the top of the tree where possibilities and opportunities opened themselves up to me.
It will not always be easy and it will not always lead you where you had hoped, however choosing courage ensures that you never have to look back and wonder “What if?”.
Written by Jessica Orchin
Gasparotto Group helps organizations create cultures that develop highly effective leaders and build strong, resilient teams.