Comfort & Discomfort

I still remember huddling next to the bed, with my knees to my chest and heart pounding. It was not a good feeling - the kind of impending dread of how I am going to find the money to help pay for things around the parents house (counting my blessings that I at least had a roof over my head and warm meals every day), what I would do for my future, and what I wanted to do for my career. This was by no means an example of the worst of human condition, but as a young kid with high hopes, it was daunting. Perspective, perhaps, is the first lesson of hindsight.

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Once the initial feelings of dread passed and the fog cleared a little, something clicked. I needed that money. I put myself out there and got some paid freelance work, all while keeping up with academics and a side job internship. The internship was, of course, mostly unpaid.

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It was uncomfortably tight - mostly late nights of study, coding, and pixel-pushing on top of work that I completed during the day for clients and as an intern. "Hustle", as they call it. But in the distance there was more than just a silver lining - this experience set me up with a perspective on tough situations.

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It was not until I started bouldering again that I was able to put this feeling into a string of thoughts. You see, in bouldering there are many different levels of climbing problems. Ideally you progress, but sometimes there are a few routes that are beyond your current capability. Bouldering is a great activity to train your brain to think about a problem from a different perspective. Weird hand placement? Try going opposite hand first. Unable to reach a hold? Try moving your feet!

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The hardest part is getting on the start of a route marked at a higher level than what is your usual. Your knees or hands will probably shake. You will probably fail it. There was that discomfort again. But if you never got on in the first place? If you stuck to your comfort? You would never know what it feels like to be on that higher level. And you probably never will. If you never get on. If all you ever do is the minimum, the minimum is all you will ever do. Turns out early morning bouldering sessions can become quite the Nirvana of revelations once you are being pushed.

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If all you ever do is the minimum, the minimum is all you will ever do.
Posted Feb 14 2018
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