As an entrepreneur, not only do you have endlessly daunting tasks preceding you, intertwined with plenty of surprises and insurmountable amounts of work, but you are also exposed to a new level of comfort, or rather, lack thereof. Comfort is an emotion and state of mind, which is taken for granted until all control of it is lost.
Without the feeling of comfort supporting you in your daily life, through decision-making and changing of environments, its absence will quickly become the only thing on your mind.
Thankfully, like all things, there’s a way to deal with discomfort that will help you stay focused and on task, while working with minimal setbacks and inefficiencies. Learning to cope with discomfort is one of the most useful abilities an entrepreneur can have -- and being able to squeeze a nickel out of a penny.
It’s about controlling your focus.
If you didn’t notice your discomfort, would you still be uncomfortable? Discomfort isn’t so much a physical state as it is a state of mind. Despite what you may have heard in the past, human beings are not meant to multitask; we don’t come factory-shipped with dual processors. We have one mind and one focus -- that’s basically it. However, our focus does tend to wander and we are forced to bring it back to the present, to concentrate on the tasks and matters at hand, which we believe to be most important.
Discomfort is a matter of focus and interpretation. Many of the situations that make us uncomfortable are only uncomfortable because we believe them to be so. Change your views on what makes you uncomfortable, or redefine comfort entirely and the notion of discomfort will disappear. If there is no way of changing your views on discomfort, then your next best step is to try and ignore it all together by diverting all your attention when you begin to sense it. If we focus our acute concentration on a task, all else quickly falls into the background and nearly out of relative existence.
Our environment can either make things better or a whole lot worse.
If you had to remove 80 percent of your possessions from your apartment and of the material things in your most frequented surroundings, what would it include? The task may seem impossible; you obviously need everything you own, including those three pairs of jeans that haven’t seen daylight in half a decade and that lava lamp that you may decide to take out of storage and plug back in one day.
When it comes to reducing discomfort, efficiency is really key. We only have a certain amount of time and space to live in. The more overcrowded our environments become, the less space we have to move and breathe.
The Pareto Principle of efficiency -- aka the 80-20 rule, or law of the vital few -- would illustrate that 20 percent of what we own produces 80 percent of our desired results in any given scenario. In other words, we get 80 percent of the benefit from 20 percent of the sources we own or work with. This rule has applications in our personal lives, business and even in nature. If you haven’t heard of the Pareto Principle, then I recommend researching for more insight.
For our purposes, I will explain that 20 percent of the factors in our environment account for 80 percent of the usefulness in our environment -- meaning that most of the sh*t we own, we don’t really need. Therefore, you should discard of anything you don’t use regularly, and you will be amazed at how much breathing room you create for yourself. We are visual creatures, highly affected by our surroundings. Even the illusion of more "wiggle room" in our physical environments gives us the feeling of more mental breathing room.
You can’t separate your body from your mind.
There is no doubt that we feel discomfort in our minds; however, because the mind and body are inherently linked together, discomfort in one sense greatly affects the other sense. If you are mentally tired, you will often feel physically tired, and vice versa. If your body feels uncomfortable, your mind will quickly adopt that discomfort as well. This is often hard to recognize because it’s a slow and seamless onset. You often don’t even know how you became so uncomfortable, nor do you know where the discomfort originated.
Be smart and act preemptively. Keep your body in good health and physical shape and you won’t have to fear breaking down due to discomfort. This doesn’t just mean exercise; it also means diet. In order to be happy, your body and mind must be capable of producing certain chemicals and reactions. In order to produce these chemicals, we need to ingest certain nutrients; without them, we will literally be incapable of being calm and happy.
Photo credit: AMC/Breaking Bad