Assaulting Reality — How I Started To Find Comfort In The Discomfort

Assaulting anything is an aggressive approach for sure but I choose that word quite specifically. It evokes powerful imagery and when I tell others, their most common reaction is being taken aback.

It started benignly enough though — trying to find comfort in the discomfort as I learned that change is the only constant. These are not new ideas and I have read plenty discussing their existence but not much on how to make that happen. So I thought I’d share the way I went from questioning to assaulting reality.

Some time ago, I knew that I had some very big ambitions about my life and that I would need to work on myself — personally, professionally, and physically to accomplish them. I started studying people that had made significant person changes and where they started rather than what they were doing now. I learned there is a structure in your brain called the basal ganglia. It’s remarkably efficient and takes care of most of your daily habits so you don’t have to go through the mentally taxing process of making a conscious decision about every minute detail of your life like how you brush your teeth or which shoe you put on first.

But this structure is so effective it can accidentally create habits around much more complex systems that can work for or against you. Some people wake up and immediately lace up running shoes while others get home from work and instinctually grab a beer from the fridge.

So I started looking at my daily habits and mentally noting them. I put NO effort into changing them though, just noting their existence. I repeat, NO EFFORT. I stress this because it forced patience into my process and my research told me I would be most successful if I was patient. That patience paid off because tracking my habits became my most prevalent habit.

Deconstructing my thoughts and actions became the norm for me and then I let my curiosity take the reigns. Why do I feel a negative emotion when I see that friend? They didn’t do anything, I just had a different expectation. I sat down to work at my computer but I picked up my phone… that’s not what I’m trying to do so why did I do that? What if I put it in my pocket and listen to music from my computer instead so I don’t look at my phone.

A question here. A little self-experimentation there. Bit by bit the changes stack up and turn into new habits, more healthy and effective habits. As those habits mount, they grow into a whole new life. It’s not a perfect system but I can say without a doubt that it is an ever-improving system and now assaulting my reality on a daily basis is a truly enjoyable experience (even if uncomfortable).

So the next time you see me, please feel free to challenge me. I have plenty of flaws and would love some help improving them.