Go Towards The Discomfort (It’s A Sign)

… and stop doing things that make sense

John Cutler
5 min readMay 1, 2016

Illustrations by Claire Bowman. Editing help from Kate Maurer.

I woke up yesterday, but felt like I hadn’t slept. A bunch of leftover work week worries bubbled up, stirred up by some good ol’ imposter syndrome (preparing for conferences will do that). Notifications buzzed from my phone in the other room. Sun dripped through the blinds — it was going to be a nice day. Then there was that moment of tension:

Do I get out of my head, go out, see friends, and enjoy the weather (which I know is 100% effective at making me feel better), or do I withdraw and spend the day working and mulling over my angst?

I often opt for the latter, with reliably poor results. Weird, right?

You’ve felt that before. Maybe not with work angst, but with something: picking the healthy food option, choosing to exercise after a long day at work, giving someone a second chance, checking to see if the stranger on the street is OK, or listening when you want to talk. Sometimes it is a simple case of short-term benefit versus long-term gain. At other times these small decisions cut straight to our fears, self-perception, and self-doubt.

Part of the brain is saying “You know the right thing to do! Push through! Take a…



John Cutler

Multiple hat-wearer. Prod dev nut. I love wrangling complex problems and answering the why with qual/quant data. @johncutlefish on Twitter.