Saturday, September 15, 2007

Embrace discomfort...sez who?

I was looking around the house for something to inspire me to write and I found a Word document I had created by cutting and pasting an article from the is the section that grabbed me initially when I saw the article in a magazine:

Embrace discomfort—at least temporarily.
Change is hard, but perpetual dissatisfaction is no picnic either. "You won't make any real progress unless you're willing to be temporarily uncomfortable," says Robert Leahy, PhD, a clinical professor of psychology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and author of The Worry Cure. "Taking one step backward from your easy life is the first step forward." You may even learn that what you thought would be excruciating (putting your house up for sale, having a one-on-one with your boss or partner) isn't nearly as unpleasant as you thought.

This is so true of me--I try to avoid anxiety by delaying uncomfortable activities or decisions--but writing a simple blog entry became this early morning quest to find the authorship of this quote. I didn't identify the source on my Word document so I did a Google and Yahoo search for "embrace discomfort", looked through 250 options they listed; went on to at least a dozen quotation websites, searching for any quotes using the words "embrace" and "discomfort"; I even went to some Bible sites after thinking it might be some quote from Paul but no luck.

No one takes credit for putting these two words together but it was interesting to see who uses the expression:

  1. Self-help websites
  2. Yoga websites
  3. Business/Motivational websites
  4. Exercise/Sport websites
  5. Health websites
  6. Ecological websites
  7. Christian websites

So, the expression has expanded to beyond what how I initially understood the term to now include all forms of change in ones physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual life, ones business practices or ones lifestyle. It now refers to any aspect of our life that we are seeking to change whether it is altering ones corporate culture or sales methods, changing how or where we shop, losing weight, getting in shape to run a marathon, learning to love our neighbor, pushing through the pain to achieve a yoga position, or starting to date again after a divorce.

It's fascinating to me that somewhere, at some point, some unknown minister, self-help guru, or motivational speaker put these two words together and created an entire philosophy that covers all aspects of ones personal and professional life. How does that happen? It's refreshing in this day and age that a phrase can be popularized like that without someone "branding" or trademarking it.

I never did find the source of this quote listed above until I went back to my original document and did a search for a more obscure term (the last name of one of the authors cited). It turns out that the original piece was from Prevention magazine at the beginning of the year and came from a series of articles about making changes in ones life (link included).

My search for inspiration ended up becoming a futile search for an author and it is somehow comforting to me that there are some newer expressions or sayings that we can still say were written by "Anonymous".