Much of our day to day lives revolves around small choices based on comfort seeking. It makes sense on the surface as it is likely deeply ingrained in our evolutionary psyche and is probably required to an extent. Though there are notable exceptions such as "elevator or stairs?", "Dessert or not?" "Carbolicious soft comfort foods or not?" "cable news or not?" "beer or water?" etc.... And most recently for me "stay in a comfortable career track or completely jump ship and start something totally new?" At 51 the obvious choice was to stay where I had been for the past 10 years.
Wisdom has slowly started to teach me what I now call the "dangers of comfort". Though admittedly I have been very stubborn to accept this life lesson. Take your job for example. Once you are established you have a high level of comfort. You have learned all the systems, developed a favorable rapport with all your coworkers and clients, learned and adapted to your workday schedule and lifestyle, found myriad ways to take "shortcuts".... because again as comfort seeking specialists that's what we do. We just won't admit it. To leave this abruptly and start a new job is to throw away a ton of comfort.
With a new job, completely new coworkers, new systems and totally new tasks you reset the comfort clock! You don't really know what to expect next week, next month or in the first year. Your new coworkers are right to be wary of the new guy too. He talks like he is from a single wide trailer in dump truck county Alabama and has undoubtedly never been north of the coastal plain! Probably a racist southern white male! Going from Mac to PC and overly complicated federal systems at every task adds to the slight adjustment discomfort. Roll all this with attempting to ID and count ducks from a plane at 100ft AGL while cruising at around 80-85 knots in a region of the country you have mostly flown over at 30,000ft AGL... well you have set up some discomfort!
Deep inside me I revel in all of this. For I know this was the strong choice. I have set myself up for EXPONENTIAL GROWTH. Anytime I jump off the comfort train and onto the growth train good things come. The farther the leap the greater the reward. Its why I do pull ups. push ups and jump rope. I loathe the pull up bar, so I face it. I feast on the bewildered glances of my new coworkers. I internalize deep comfort when they laugh at me. When I can't tell a coot from a wigeon... when I can't fill out my time sheet, when I don't know our aircraft call sign..... for I know all of this puts me in a great position. A position for exponential growth. And the higher the growth mountain the greater the reward. Had I shown up in a new job and mastered it all in a week with coworkers who are immediately in awe of my prowess and knowledge... undoubtedly I would find little growth. Discomfort creates great growth. I am so grateful to be challenged in so many ways. I am so grateful the majority of my coworkers are not from the south and are all highly skilled with decades of experience at what we do. It will be one to two years down the road until I reside back in that comfort zone... sure I will be glad to be back there, but I will be a little sad too. Once the exponential learning curve flattens the comfort begins.
So for now I will enjoy being the "new guy". I will relish in all the growth, training and trust building. Because life has taught me this stage doesn't last forever and I am a person who has fallen in love with the process. A hunter who loves the hunt, not just the kill. I love the entire process. I used to live for the prize, the accomplishments and do all I could to rush and shortcut myself through the process. Now I treasure every bit of pain, discomfort and unknowing the process brings. I would write more but I have a pull-up bar waiting for me in the hotel gym and then coots, rocks and stumps to classify as mallards! And lots of things to honestly look at and ask "is this the comfort decision or the growth decision?"