The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success

GOLD! My Candid Personal Story on Why You Can Never Take It Easy (An Ode to Discomfort)

Remove ads while supporting the Unscripted philosophy...become an INSIDER.

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,093
20,644
4,304
On July 7, 1978, exercise fanatic Dave Kekich was working out in the gym like any other day. While training, he suffered a freak spinal cord injury. At the age of 35, it left him paralyzed from the chest down ever since.

His injury cost him everything.

He couldn’t engage in his favorite physical activities anymore. He suffered from serious depression. He lost a thriving business.

He spend the next two decades searching for a cure to be able to walk again, to no avail. He eventually devoted his life to identify and fund the world’s most promising anti-aging research, technologies, products and services.

Joe Polish from the Genius Network asked Dave to compile his life lessons. The resulting document, titled Kekich's Credo, offers 100 “success secrets” that have guided Dave’s life.

In the opening rule, he says:

People will do almost anything to stay in their comfort zones. If you want to accomplish anything, get out of your comfort zone. Strive to increase order and discipline in your life. Discipline usually means doing the opposite of what you feel like doing. (…)

In the fourth rule, he says:

(…) Life’s easy when you live it the hard way… and hard if you try to live it the easy way.

How I Went From Easy to Hard to Easy and Why "Easy" Doesn’t Work

I'm about to tell you a little bit of my life story and share more than I feel comfortable sharing. The reason why I'm doing it will be obvious by the time you finish reading this post...

The first time I read Kekich’s Credo, the two observations above resonated with me so much that I got addicted to making my life harder. I continuously expanded my comfort zone. I pushed my body physically and challenged my mind regularly, too. I treated it like the most important job in the world.

I learned how to overcome debilitating shyness through learning how to talk with women, public speaking, and performing some silly feats in social settings. This also helped me develop confidence in my business skills.

I overcame my fear of heights through rock climbing, hiking in high mountains, flying in a hot-air balloon and even skydiving. I was scared SHITLESS when doing the latter.

jump1.jpg
ABOVE: I'm not sure what was scarier. Sitting in a tightly-packed old rattling airplane with the door open as it gained altitude or jumping out of it? Both were a total horror. But I'm still glad I did it.

I overcame my fear of the unknown by traveling to exotic destinations like Oman, Kyrgyzstan, and Morocco, as well as climbing expeditions in Europe, and experiencing some crazy adventures there.

IMG_0283.JPG

ABOVE: Multi-pitch climbing in Italy. We got lost during the route and had to climb through some sketchy terrain. Previously, I wouldn't even be able to stand on top of a cliff, let alone climb it.

I overcame my fear of open water by learning how to swim (now I’m a swimming coach), surf and even scuba dive. I was scared SHITLESS to do the latter, too.

sc.jpg

ABOVE: My first scuba dive. It took me ages to gain courage to tumble backwards from the boat. I was THIS close to not doing it and just giving up. But that would set a bad precedent. And I wouldn't get to see another world.

I even overcame my deep hatred of cold weather and practiced winter swimming and surfing in temperatures as low as 3 degrees Celsius / 37 Fahrenheit.

ic.jpg

ABOVE: Right before cold water immersion. Nothing to feel more invincible than suffering from extreme cold. The ice cut my feet but I didn't feel it since they were numb lol.

I got good at feeling comfortable despite discomfort, learning difficult things and engaging in physically- and mentally-demanding sports and various seminars like krav maga in terrorist situations:

18268559_1119608318145156_91156645023632207_n.jpg

ABOVE: Hostage situation simulation during a krav maga seminar. No better way to learn how to feel comfortable with discomfort than zip-tied, with a garbage bag on your head.

Eventually, with all the above things going on, I achieved my biggest life goals. And over time, I started taking it a little easier.

“It’s time to chill out,” I told myself. “Constant stress isn’t good for you,” I thought. After all, I had paid the dues already. You want to become financially independent to enjoy life, not to keep pushing.

I didn’t entirely rest on my laurels. I still pushed myself in sports. I still learned new things. But I was no longer as rigorous about it as before. I more often took the easy way out. I avoided discomfort when it could have helped me grow.

I started rationalizing why I wasn’t doing certain things by telling myself things like:
  • It's not my strength.
  • It's too stressful.
  • I’m past doing these things.
  • I should be kinder to myself.
  • This isn’t pleasant.
I made myself more comfortable, thinking this would help me live a stress-free life.

The joke is that a stress-free life is NOT the one where you don’t have stress. A stress-free life is the one where you can HANDLE whatever stress life throws at you. And the best way to learn how to handle stress is… you guessed it. Expose yourself to it, not hide yourself from it to “chill out.”

This applies BOTH when you’re pursuing your big goals as well as when you achieve them and can afford to "relax."

Ultimately, if you don’t know how to handle stress, you’ll STILL find a way to be stressed out—even when you cash out, move to a tropical paradise with swaying palm trees, free drinks, and a leisurely pace of life.

This doesn’t mean that if your daily job was living hell for you, now you should go back to it just to experience stress. It doesn’t mean that chronic stress is good for you. It doesn’t mean that you should purposefully destroy your life or keep suffering from terrible live conditions to have more stress. It doesn’t mean that life can’t be fun and needs to be filled with torment, either.

What you want in your everyday life is stress that’s voluntary, manageable and aligned with your goals. For entrepreneurs, this may mean exposing yourself to rejection, waking up early, pushing yourself physically, or studying difficult things. All. The. Time. Not just when you’re new to entrepreneurship but even (if not more so) when you gain more experience and assume you know it all.

Exposing yourself to this stress, voluntary or not, won’t be all roses, but it will make you sharper. And it won’t destroy your life quality. Quite the opposite. Constant growth keeps us vibrant, enthusiastic, and energized. Stagnation leads to boredom, apathy, and exhaustion.

I Finally Realized My Mistake


A few months ago I got interested in meditation. This led me to spirituality. This led me to becoming more aware of my everyday thoughts.

I recently noticed some alarming thoughts poisoning my mindset. I started justifying not doing things outside of my comfort zone with statements like: “I shouldn’t stress out so much again” or “I don’t like it.” But as I stopped interacting with discomfort as much as before, not only did I become complacent. I also started losing self-confidence. I also started making more excuses.

I was growing soft and weak thinking I was doing myself a favor.

To give you some examples…

I stopped tracking my caloric intake. This made me less aware of the amount of food I was consuming. My excuse was that it was stressful to deny myself food, let alone track it. As a result, I gained unwanted weight. One day as I looked at myself in the mirror, I absolutely hated how I looked. And that’s coming from a guy who’s obsessed about sports.

I stopped waking up at 5:30. Instead, I set the alarm for 6:30 only to hit snooze and get up an hour later. After all, it was stressful to wake up so early. And, I told myself, “I don’t have to wake up so early anymore. I’ve done that already in the past and paid my dues.” But in reality, because of sleeping late and getting up groggy, I was wasting my favorite part of the day.

I stopped exposing myself to adverse conditions. I taught myself that it was okay to back out when things got uncomfortable. Previously, I’d push even if it was extremely uncomfortable. Later, when I became supposedly "successful," I was fine giving up. Can you see what kind of a bad precedent it sets?

Inevitably, these weak behaviors affected my entrepreneurial life, too.

I started rationalizing my lazy business decisions by saying that, for example, I didn’t like social media so I shouldn’t use it to grow my business. Or that if I wasn’t good at something, I shouldn’t do it. (But I shouldn’t find another person to do it, either, because I wasn’t good at finding people to help me.)

As you can see, that's a perfect recipe for a vicious cycle.

Whatever new things I wanted to start, I had crippling doubts. Why? Because I was no longer comfortable feeling discomfort and doing it anyway. It had been a long time since I took expanding my comfort zone seriously.

That's when I realized something had to change.

I forgot what got me here: living my life the hard way.

I started counting calories again. I’ve already lost some weight and am on track to reach my goals by the summer. I feel better knowing I control my diet again, even though it’s not “stress-free” to weigh my food and track my caloric intake.

I started getting up at 5:30 again. The night I decided to start waking up early again, I naturally got up the next morning before the alarm clock. The firm decision alone was enough to bring back my old instincts. I now feel way better the moment I get up because I score a big win right when I start my day. Waking up at 5:30 after 8 hours of sleep gives me more energy than waking up at 7:30 after 9-10 hours of sleep. The harder option is easier.

I started exposing myself to adverse conditions again and pushing myself more physically. I now feel more confident in my abilities again, just because I’m yet again willing to endure discomfort if it means growth.

I started taking new risks in business and exploring new opportunities I didn’t feel comfortable with before. I feel like a complete beginner now and that’s great because it means I’m learning.

I have plans to do other new uncomfortable things like sleeping alone in the woods, mastering handstands (work in progress), as well as get good at marketing (my big weakness in business).

I also decided to publish this in-depth post along with some personal pictures even though I was nervous to do it. I knew that the message was more important than my discomfort so I had to put it out here.

Note that none of these things mean that my life is now terrible and filled with suffering. That's not what I'm proposing at all. My life is again filled with productive, fun challenges that may not always be pleasant but that are always rewarding. Before, when I was enjoying my hard-earned success thinking I was the shit, I was closed to these opportunities. I thought that since I was experienced, I was “better than that.” Now I'm just back to humbly inviting discomfort in my life and letting it be my teacher.

Deterioration or Growth—Your Choice


You may not enjoy suffering as you expand your comfort zone. But it’s this discomfort that pushes you ahead. It’s this discomfort that makes life interesting and creates rich experiences. Name one achievement in your life that makes you proud and I’m pretty sure it involved a lot of discomfort.

As Farnam Street’s article on entropy emphasizes, “for a change to occur, you must apply more energy to the system than is extracted by the system.” When you fail to apply continuous energy to improve your life, it inevitably goes toward disorder and disrepair.

Of course, over the long term we can’t prevent entropy as we have this thing called death. But why not pass through the time between your birth and death in a fun, rewarding, and meaningful way?

Whether you’re only beginning or are already a seasoned entrepreneur, remember that this journey never stops. Discomfort is the name of the game.

Life lived the hard way is what makes it engaging, satisfying, and also great for those around you as you inspire them with your strength and grit.

As for Dave Kekich, my other favorites of his are #27 and #62. I’ll let them speak for themselves:

27. The choice to exert integrated effort or to default to camouflaged laziness is the key choice that determines your character, competence and future. That critical choice must be made continually - throughout life. The most meaningful thing to live for is reaching your full potential.

62. If your purpose of life is security, you will be a failure. Security is the lowest form of happiness.

So there you have it, my ode to discomfort. Let it always be present in our lives regardless of our level of "success," for it makes life worth living. :)
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

Santi M

See you on the fastlane
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jul 22, 2018
149
197
154
Fastlane
This gotta be GOLD. Thank you very much, these are the life lessons that you don't learn at school.
 

Mike Partee

(Formerly UnrealCreative)
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Sep 20, 2016
874
4,042
996
24
San Juan
This absolutely, positively, MUST be marked GOLD.

Such an important lesson @MTF, thanks for sharing.
I've had to learn this lesson the hard way, too.

The odd thing about hard things is that by avoiding them . . .
. . . You're actually choosing for things to be HARDER in the future!

I recently heard about someone who decided that every time they hit a big new milestone,
that they'd restart the 75 Hard program to deliberately never slip into complacency again.

It's sort of like a corrective measure against what you're talking about. Knowing that you'll 'dip' after some success, deliberately 'buy into' the dip and set yourself up to get uncomfortable.

Not to mention doing hard shit makes you feel alive! :)

Great post. @MJ DeMarco
 
Last edited:

Aldrino

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jun 4, 2020
16
23
17
I knew that the message was more important than my discomfort so I had to put it out here.
Huge thanks @MTF for posting your story! Will definitely get back to this post when I don't feel like pushing forward.

You brought clarity to a lot of fundamental issues here. Quoted what speak to me the most:
But why not pass through the time between your birth and death in a fun, rewarding, and meaningful way?
Life lived the hard way is what makes it engaging, satisfying, and also great for those around you as you inspire them with your strength and grit.
62. If your purpose of life is security, you will be a failure. Security is the lowest form of happiness.
 

Ocean Man

Life-long learner.
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Sep 26, 2018
606
1,210
365
United States
Of course, over the long term we can’t prevent entropy as we have this thing called death. But why not pass through the time between your birth and death in a fun, rewarding, and meaningful way?
This post speaks volumes, thank you, @MTF. I think a lot of what you mentioned like tracking your calories and/or waking up early is related to discipline. Something that's very important.
 

GPM

Platinum Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Oct 25, 2012
863
3,672
885
Canada
Wow! This post kicked me in the a$$.

I loved it! Keep growing my friend, keep growing
 

Timmy C

I Will Not Stop!
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jun 12, 2018
1,891
3,938
878
Melbourne, Australia
On July 7, 1978, exercise fanatic Dave Kekich was working out in the gym like any other day. While training, he suffered a freak spinal cord injury. At the age of 35, it left him paralyzed from the chest down ever since.

His injury cost him everything.

He couldn’t engage in his favorite physical activities anymore. He suffered from serious depression. He lost a thriving business.

He spend the next two decades searching for a cure to be able to walk again, to no avail. He eventually devoted his life to identify and fund the world’s most promising anti-aging research, technologies, products and services.

Joe Polish from the Genius Network asked Dave to compile his life lessons. The resulting document, titled Kekich's Credo, offers 100 “success secrets” that have guided Dave’s life.

In the opening rule, he says:

People will do almost anything to stay in their comfort zones. If you want to accomplish anything, get out of your comfort zone. Strive to increase order and discipline in your life. Discipline usually means doing the opposite of what you feel like doing. (…)

In the fourth rule, he says:

(…) Life’s easy when you live it the hard way… and hard if you try to live it the easy way.

How I Went From Easy to Hard to Easy and Why "Easy" Doesn’t Work

I'm about to tell you a little bit of my life story and share more than I feel comfortable sharing. The reason why I'm doing it will be obvious by the time you finish reading this post...

The first time I read Kekich’s Credo, the two observations above resonated with me so much that I got addicted to making my life harder. I continuously expanded my comfort zone. I pushed my body physically and challenged my mind regularly, too. I treated it like the most important job in the world.

I learned how to overcome debilitating shyness through learning how to talk with women, public speaking, and performing some silly feats in social settings. This also helped me develop confidence in my business skills.

I overcame my fear of heights through rock climbing, hiking in high mountains, flying in a hot-air balloon and even skydiving. I was scared SHITLESS when doing the latter.

View attachment 37810
ABOVE: I'm not sure what was scarier. Sitting in a tightly-packed old rattling airplane with the door open as it gained altitude or jumping out of it? Both were a total horror. But I'm still glad I did it.

I overcame my fear of the unknown by traveling to exotic destinations like Oman, Kyrgyzstan, and Morocco, as well as climbing expeditions in Europe, and experiencing some crazy adventures there.

View attachment 37811

ABOVE: Multi-pitch climbing in Italy. We got lost during the route and had to climb through some sketchy terrain. Previously, I wouldn't even be able to stand on top of a cliff, let alone climb it.

I overcame my fear of open water by learning how to swim (now I’m a swimming coach), surf and even scuba dive. I was scared SHITLESS to do the latter, too.

View attachment 37809

ABOVE: My first scuba dive. It took me ages to gain courage to tumble backwards from the boat. I was THIS close to not doing it and just giving up. But that would set a bad precedent. And I wouldn't get to see another world.

I even overcame my deep hatred of cold weather and practiced winter swimming and surfing in temperatures as low as 3 degrees Celsius / 37 Fahrenheit.

View attachment 37808

ABOVE: Right before cold water immersion. Nothing to feel more invincible than suffering from extreme cold. The ice cut my feet but I didn't feel it since they were numb lol.

I got good at feeling comfortable despite discomfort, learning difficult things and engaging in physically- and mentally-demanding sports and various seminars like krav maga in terrorist situations:

View attachment 37806

ABOVE: Hostage situation simulation during a krav maga seminar. No better way to learn how to feel comfortable with discomfort than zip-tied, with a garbage bag on your head.

Eventually, with all the above things going on, I achieved my biggest life goals. And over time, I started taking it a little easier.

“It’s time to chill out,” I told myself. “Constant stress isn’t good for you,” I thought. After all, I had paid the dues already. You want to become financially independent to enjoy life, not to keep pushing.

I didn’t entirely rest on my laurels. I still pushed myself in sports. I still learned new things. But I was no longer as rigorous about it as before. I more often took the easy way out. I avoided discomfort when it could have helped me grow.

I started rationalizing why I wasn’t doing certain things by telling myself things like:
  • It's not my strength.
  • It's too stressful.
  • I’m past doing these things.
  • I should be kinder to myself.
  • This isn’t pleasant.
I made myself more comfortable, thinking this would help me live a stress-free life.

The joke is that a stress-free life is NOT the one where you don’t have stress. A stress-free life is the one where you can HANDLE whatever stress life throws at you. And the best way to learn how to handle stress is… you guessed it. Expose yourself to it, not hide yourself from it to “chill out.”

This applies BOTH when you’re pursuing your big goals as well as when you achieve them and can afford to "relax."

Ultimately, if you don’t know how to handle stress, you’ll STILL find a way to be stressed out—even when you cash out, move to a tropical paradise with swaying palm trees, free drinks, and a leisurely pace of life.

This doesn’t mean that if your daily job was living hell for you, now you should go back to it just to experience stress. It doesn’t mean that chronic stress is good for you. It doesn’t mean that you should purposefully destroy your life or keep suffering from terrible live conditions to have more stress. It doesn’t mean that life can’t be fun and needs to be filled with torment, either.

What you want in your everyday life is stress that’s voluntary, manageable and aligned with your goals. For entrepreneurs, this may mean exposing yourself to rejection, waking up early, pushing yourself physically, or studying difficult things. All. The. Time. Not just when you’re new to entrepreneurship but even (if not more so) when you gain more experience and assume you know it all.

Exposing yourself to this stress, voluntary or not, won’t be all roses, but it will make you sharper. And it won’t destroy your life quality. Quite the opposite. Constant growth keeps us vibrant, enthusiastic, and energized. Stagnation leads to boredom, apathy, and exhaustion.

I Finally Realized My Mistake


A few months ago I got interested in meditation. This led me to spirituality. This led me to becoming more aware of my everyday thoughts.

I recently noticed some alarming thoughts poisoning my mindset. I started justifying not doing things outside of my comfort zone with statements like: “I shouldn’t stress out so much again” or “I don’t like it.” But as I stopped interacting with discomfort as much as before, not only did I become complacent. I also started losing self-confidence. I also started making more excuses.

I was growing soft and weak thinking I was doing myself a favor.

To give you some examples…

I stopped tracking my caloric intake. This made me less aware of the amount of food I was consuming. My excuse was that it was stressful to deny myself food, let alone track it. As a result, I gained unwanted weight. One day as I looked at myself in the mirror, I absolutely hated how I looked. And that’s coming from a guy who’s obsessed about sports.

I stopped waking up at 5:30. Instead, I set the alarm for 6:30 only to hit snooze and get up an hour later. After all, it was stressful to wake up so early. And, I told myself, “I don’t have to wake up so early anymore. I’ve done that already in the past and paid my dues.” But in reality, because of sleeping late and getting up groggy, I was wasting my favorite part of the day.

I stopped exposing myself to adverse conditions. I taught myself that it was okay to back out when things got uncomfortable. Previously, I’d push even if it was extremely uncomfortable. Later, when I became supposedly "successful," I was fine giving up. Can you see what kind of a bad precedent it sets?

Inevitably, these weak behaviors affected my entrepreneurial life, too.

I started rationalizing my lazy business decisions by saying that, for example, I didn’t like social media so I shouldn’t use it to grow my business. Or that if I wasn’t good at something, I shouldn’t do it. (But I shouldn’t find another person to do it, either, because I wasn’t good at finding people to help me.)

As you can see, that's a perfect recipe for a vicious cycle.

Whatever new things I wanted to start, I had crippling doubts. Why? Because I was no longer comfortable feeling discomfort and doing it anyway. It had been a long time since I took expanding my comfort zone seriously.

That's when I realized something had to change.

I forgot what got me here: living my life the hard way.

I started counting calories again. I’ve already lost some weight and am on track to reach my goals by the summer. I feel better knowing I control my diet again, even though it’s not “stress-free” to weigh my food and track my caloric intake.

I started getting up at 5:30 again. The night I decided to start waking up early again, I naturally got up the next morning before the alarm clock. The firm decision alone was enough to bring back my old instincts. I now feel way better the moment I get up because I score a big win right when I start my day. Waking up at 5:30 after 8 hours of sleep gives me more energy than waking up at 7:30 after 9-10 hours of sleep. The harder option is easier.

I started exposing myself to adverse conditions again and pushing myself more physically. I now feel more confident in my abilities again, just because I’m yet again willing to endure discomfort if it means growth.

I started taking new risks in business and exploring new opportunities I didn’t feel comfortable with before. I feel like a complete beginner now and that’s great because it means I’m learning.

I have plans to do other new uncomfortable things like sleeping alone in the woods, mastering handstands (work in progress), as well as get good at marketing (my big weakness in business).

I also decided to publish this in-depth post along with some personal pictures even though I was nervous to do it. I knew that the message was more important than my discomfort so I had to put it out here.

Note that none of these things mean that my life is now terrible and filled with suffering. That's not what I'm proposing at all. My life is again filled with productive, fun challenges that may not always be pleasant but that are always rewarding. Before, when I was enjoying my hard-earned success thinking I was the shit, I was closed to these opportunities. I thought that since I was experienced, I was “better than that.” Now I'm just back to humbly inviting discomfort in my life and letting it be my teacher.

Deterioration or Growth—Your Choice

You may not enjoy suffering as you expand your comfort zone. But it’s this discomfort that pushes you ahead. It’s this discomfort that makes life interesting and creates rich experiences. Name one achievement in your life that makes you proud and I’m pretty sure it involved a lot of discomfort.

As Farnam Street’s article on entropy emphasizes, “for a change to occur, you must apply more energy to the system than is extracted by the system.” When you fail to apply continuous energy to improve your life, it inevitably goes toward disorder and disrepair.

Of course, over the long term we can’t prevent entropy as we have this thing called death. But why not pass through the time between your birth and death in a fun, rewarding, and meaningful way?

Whether you’re only beginning or are already a seasoned entrepreneur, remember that this journey never stops. Discomfort is the name of the game.

Life lived the hard way is what makes it engaging, satisfying, and also great for those around you as you inspire them with your strength and grit.

As for Dave Kekich, my other favorites of his are #27 and #62. I’ll let them speak for themselves:

27. The choice to exert integrated effort or to default to camouflaged laziness is the key choice that determines your character, competence and future. That critical choice must be made continually - throughout life. The most meaningful thing to live for is reaching your full potential.

62. If your purpose of life is security, you will be a failure. Security is the lowest form of happiness.

So there you have it, my ode to discomfort. Let it always be present in our lives regardless of our level of "success," for it makes life worth living. :)
Thanks for this mate.
I needed it.
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,093
20,644
4,304
Thank you @MTF for posting such a profound lesson and sharing personal stories, I needed it. I really needed this at this moment of my life. Thank you!

Glad to hear it resonated with you!

This gotta be GOLD. Thank you very much, these are the life lessons that you don't learn at school.

Thank you. Life is definitely the best teacher.

This absolutely, positively, MUST be marked GOLD.

Such an important lesson @MTF, thanks for sharing.
I've had to learn this lesson the hard way, too.

The odd thing about hard things is that by avoiding them . . .
. . . You're actually choosing for things to be HARDER in the future!

I recently heard about someone who decided that every time they hit a big new milestone,
that they'd restart the 75 Hard program to deliberately never slip into complacency again.

It's sort of like a corrective measure against what you're talking about. Knowing that you'll 'dip' after some success, deliberately 'buy into' the dip and set yourself up to get uncomfortable.

Not to mention doing hard shit makes you feel alive! :)

Great post. @MJ DeMarco

Thank you. And usually these things change relatively slowly over time so it's not that easy to spot when you slip into complacency. For example, if you get into the best shape of your life and then chill out a little, you most likely won't realize the slippery slope until a few months later. Then you need at least a few months to get back to where you are. I like the idea of preemptive corrective measures.

Huge thanks @MTF for posting your story! Will definitely get back to this post when I don't feel like pushing forward.

You brought clarity to a lot of fundamental issues here. Quoted what speak to me the most:

Glad to hear you find it helpful. Thanks for sharing your favorite quotes!

This post speaks volumes, thank you, @MTF. I think a lot of what you mentioned like tracking your calories and/or waking up early is related to discipline. Something that's very important.

Definitely. Tracking calories is fitness-focused but waking up early is a good example of cultivating self-discipline that's applicable for most people (excluding those who genuinely don't perform best in the morning).

Wow! This post kicked me in the a$$.

I loved it! Keep growing my friend, keep growing

Glad to hear it resonated with you.

Thanks for this mate.
I needed it.

Thank you for sharing this. That's exactly why I had to publish this post.
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

redshift

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Sep 4, 2018
98
340
167
Great Post and well said! I follow the same perspective as well. As of now I've mainly been focusing on getting out of my comfort zone in business rather than jumping out of planes, but only a matter of time I suppose haha.

A lot of this has to do with momentum, which can definitely be a two edged sword. It can either lift you up or drag you down. It's better to grow and be the person who can handle whatever comes next instead of closing down and hiding from whatever happens as you mentioned. This was the biggest lesson I learned from spirituality as well.

Having gone through all this insight, how much do you feel this change is impacted by the weather ? In the meditation thread, you had in a way predicted this post would happen a few months back and that you'd be waking up before 6am without an alarm once the sun is back :) Curious if you have changed your perspectives on winter as well now and how you plan to handle the next one ?
 

TinyOldLady

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Oct 27, 2017
129
289
176
Germany
Wow, @MTF, after all the hiding you have finally posted pictures of yourself on a public thread! This gesture has more impact on me, than all the text (though the text is awesome!! Respect!)
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,093
20,644
4,304
A lot of this has to do with momentum, which can definitely be a two edged sword. It can either lift you up or drag you down. It's better to grow and be the person who can handle whatever comes next instead of closing down and hiding from whatever happens as you mentioned. This was the biggest lesson I learned from spirituality as well.

Definitely. In a way, spirituality equals mental toughness.

Having gone through all this insight, how much do you feel this change is impacted by the weather ? In the meditation thread, you had in a way predicted this post would happen a few months back and that you'd be waking up before 6am without an alarm once the sun is back :) Curious if you have changed your perspectives on winter as well now and how you plan to handle the next one ?

Weather helps for sure. But I only very recently started waking up at 5:30 again while there was already some light at 5:30 two weeks ago (and then I still slept until 7-7:30).

I don't plan to spend the next winter in a cold country. That's my plan to handle it lol. I'm no longer as bothered by it as before but it still interferes with me being able to engage in my favorite activities.

Wow, @MTF, after all the hiding you have finally posted pictures of yourself on a public thread! This gesture has more impact on me, than all the text (though the text is awesome!! Respect!)

Ha thank you.
 

Togata

New Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Mar 22, 2021
9
7
17
Incredible post @MTF , what a great way to start your day with this lecture.

thank you one more time!
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,093
20,644
4,304

Black_Dragon43

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Apr 28, 2017
613
1,677
478
Eastern Europe
Nice, awesome @MTF! Very powerful story right here, thank you so much for sharing it with us. It seems that it's the difference between the fixed mindset and the growth mindset... basically when you start thinking of your abilities as fixed, then you stop growing in those areas. You stop going through the pain that is required for growth, through the effort. And you end up missing out on discovering your real potential, and who you can really be.

The GOLD is more than well deserved here.

I have a question for you:
A few months ago I got interested in meditation. This led me to spirituality. This led me to becoming more aware of my everyday thoughts.

I recently noticed some alarming thoughts poisoning my mindset. I started justifying not doing things outside of my comfort zone with statements like: “I shouldn’t stress out so much again” or “I don’t like it.” But as I stopped interacting with discomfort as much as before, not only did I become complacent. I also started losing self-confidence. I also started making more excuses.
How did meditation relate to yourself becoming weaker? Did it contribute to it initially? Did it help you become aware of it? Did it help you overcome it, and become disciplined again?
 

edgonic

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Apr 30, 2021
7
5
14
On July 7, 1978, exercise fanatic Dave Kekich was working out in the gym like any other day. While training, he suffered a freak spinal cord injury. At the age of 35, it left him paralyzed from the chest down ever since.

His injury cost him everything.

He couldn’t engage in his favorite physical activities anymore. He suffered from serious depression. He lost a thriving business.

He spend the next two decades searching for a cure to be able to walk again, to no avail. He eventually devoted his life to identify and fund the world’s most promising anti-aging research, technologies, products and services.

Joe Polish from the Genius Network asked Dave to compile his life lessons. The resulting document, titled Kekich's Credo, offers 100 “success secrets” that have guided Dave’s life.

In the opening rule, he says:

People will do almost anything to stay in their comfort zones. If you want to accomplish anything, get out of your comfort zone. Strive to increase order and discipline in your life. Discipline usually means doing the opposite of what you feel like doing. (…)

In the fourth rule, he says:

(…) Life’s easy when you live it the hard way… and hard if you try to live it the easy way.

How I Went From Easy to Hard to Easy and Why "Easy" Doesn’t Work

I'm about to tell you a little bit of my life story and share more than I feel comfortable sharing. The reason why I'm doing it will be obvious by the time you finish reading this post...

The first time I read Kekich’s Credo, the two observations above resonated with me so much that I got addicted to making my life harder. I continuously expanded my comfort zone. I pushed my body physically and challenged my mind regularly, too. I treated it like the most important job in the world.

I learned how to overcome debilitating shyness through learning how to talk with women, public speaking, and performing some silly feats in social settings. This also helped me develop confidence in my business skills.

I overcame my fear of heights through rock climbing, hiking in high mountains, flying in a hot-air balloon and even skydiving. I was scared SHITLESS when doing the latter.

View attachment 37810
ABOVE: I'm not sure what was scarier. Sitting in a tightly-packed old rattling airplane with the door open as it gained altitude or jumping out of it? Both were a total horror. But I'm still glad I did it.

I overcame my fear of the unknown by traveling to exotic destinations like Oman, Kyrgyzstan, and Morocco, as well as climbing expeditions in Europe, and experiencing some crazy adventures there.

View attachment 37811

ABOVE: Multi-pitch climbing in Italy. We got lost during the route and had to climb through some sketchy terrain. Previously, I wouldn't even be able to stand on top of a cliff, let alone climb it.

I overcame my fear of open water by learning how to swim (now I’m a swimming coach), surf and even scuba dive. I was scared SHITLESS to do the latter, too.

View attachment 37809

ABOVE: My first scuba dive. It took me ages to gain courage to tumble backwards from the boat. I was THIS close to not doing it and just giving up. But that would set a bad precedent. And I wouldn't get to see another world.

I even overcame my deep hatred of cold weather and practiced winter swimming and surfing in temperatures as low as 3 degrees Celsius / 37 Fahrenheit.

View attachment 37808

ABOVE: Right before cold water immersion. Nothing to feel more invincible than suffering from extreme cold. The ice cut my feet but I didn't feel it since they were numb lol.

I got good at feeling comfortable despite discomfort, learning difficult things and engaging in physically- and mentally-demanding sports and various seminars like krav maga in terrorist situations:

View attachment 37806

ABOVE: Hostage situation simulation during a krav maga seminar. No better way to learn how to feel comfortable with discomfort than zip-tied, with a garbage bag on your head.

Eventually, with all the above things going on, I achieved my biggest life goals. And over time, I started taking it a little easier.

“It’s time to chill out,” I told myself. “Constant stress isn’t good for you,” I thought. After all, I had paid the dues already. You want to become financially independent to enjoy life, not to keep pushing.

I didn’t entirely rest on my laurels. I still pushed myself in sports. I still learned new things. But I was no longer as rigorous about it as before. I more often took the easy way out. I avoided discomfort when it could have helped me grow.

I started rationalizing why I wasn’t doing certain things by telling myself things like:
  • It's not my strength.
  • It's too stressful.
  • I’m past doing these things.
  • I should be kinder to myself.
  • This isn’t pleasant.
I made myself more comfortable, thinking this would help me live a stress-free life.

The joke is that a stress-free life is NOT the one where you don’t have stress. A stress-free life is the one where you can HANDLE whatever stress life throws at you. And the best way to learn how to handle stress is… you guessed it. Expose yourself to it, not hide yourself from it to “chill out.”

This applies BOTH when you’re pursuing your big goals as well as when you achieve them and can afford to "relax."

Ultimately, if you don’t know how to handle stress, you’ll STILL find a way to be stressed out—even when you cash out, move to a tropical paradise with swaying palm trees, free drinks, and a leisurely pace of life.

This doesn’t mean that if your daily job was living hell for you, now you should go back to it just to experience stress. It doesn’t mean that chronic stress is good for you. It doesn’t mean that you should purposefully destroy your life or keep suffering from terrible live conditions to have more stress. It doesn’t mean that life can’t be fun and needs to be filled with torment, either.

What you want in your everyday life is stress that’s voluntary, manageable and aligned with your goals. For entrepreneurs, this may mean exposing yourself to rejection, waking up early, pushing yourself physically, or studying difficult things. All. The. Time. Not just when you’re new to entrepreneurship but even (if not more so) when you gain more experience and assume you know it all.

Exposing yourself to this stress, voluntary or not, won’t be all roses, but it will make you sharper. And it won’t destroy your life quality. Quite the opposite. Constant growth keeps us vibrant, enthusiastic, and energized. Stagnation leads to boredom, apathy, and exhaustion.

I Finally Realized My Mistake


A few months ago I got interested in meditation. This led me to spirituality. This led me to becoming more aware of my everyday thoughts.

I recently noticed some alarming thoughts poisoning my mindset. I started justifying not doing things outside of my comfort zone with statements like: “I shouldn’t stress out so much again” or “I don’t like it.” But as I stopped interacting with discomfort as much as before, not only did I become complacent. I also started losing self-confidence. I also started making more excuses.

I was growing soft and weak thinking I was doing myself a favor.

To give you some examples…

I stopped tracking my caloric intake. This made me less aware of the amount of food I was consuming. My excuse was that it was stressful to deny myself food, let alone track it. As a result, I gained unwanted weight. One day as I looked at myself in the mirror, I absolutely hated how I looked. And that’s coming from a guy who’s obsessed about sports.

I stopped waking up at 5:30. Instead, I set the alarm for 6:30 only to hit snooze and get up an hour later. After all, it was stressful to wake up so early. And, I told myself, “I don’t have to wake up so early anymore. I’ve done that already in the past and paid my dues.” But in reality, because of sleeping late and getting up groggy, I was wasting my favorite part of the day.

I stopped exposing myself to adverse conditions. I taught myself that it was okay to back out when things got uncomfortable. Previously, I’d push even if it was extremely uncomfortable. Later, when I became supposedly "successful," I was fine giving up. Can you see what kind of a bad precedent it sets?

Inevitably, these weak behaviors affected my entrepreneurial life, too.

I started rationalizing my lazy business decisions by saying that, for example, I didn’t like social media so I shouldn’t use it to grow my business. Or that if I wasn’t good at something, I shouldn’t do it. (But I shouldn’t find another person to do it, either, because I wasn’t good at finding people to help me.)

As you can see, that's a perfect recipe for a vicious cycle.

Whatever new things I wanted to start, I had crippling doubts. Why? Because I was no longer comfortable feeling discomfort and doing it anyway. It had been a long time since I took expanding my comfort zone seriously.

That's when I realized something had to change.

I forgot what got me here: living my life the hard way.

I started counting calories again. I’ve already lost some weight and am on track to reach my goals by the summer. I feel better knowing I control my diet again, even though it’s not “stress-free” to weigh my food and track my caloric intake.

I started getting up at 5:30 again. The night I decided to start waking up early again, I naturally got up the next morning before the alarm clock. The firm decision alone was enough to bring back my old instincts. I now feel way better the moment I get up because I score a big win right when I start my day. Waking up at 5:30 after 8 hours of sleep gives me more energy than waking up at 7:30 after 9-10 hours of sleep. The harder option is easier.

I started exposing myself to adverse conditions again and pushing myself more physically. I now feel more confident in my abilities again, just because I’m yet again willing to endure discomfort if it means growth.

I started taking new risks in business and exploring new opportunities I didn’t feel comfortable with before. I feel like a complete beginner now and that’s great because it means I’m learning.

I have plans to do other new uncomfortable things like sleeping alone in the woods, mastering handstands (work in progress), as well as get good at marketing (my big weakness in business).

I also decided to publish this in-depth post along with some personal pictures even though I was nervous to do it. I knew that the message was more important than my discomfort so I had to put it out here.

Note that none of these things mean that my life is now terrible and filled with suffering. That's not what I'm proposing at all. My life is again filled with productive, fun challenges that may not always be pleasant but that are always rewarding. Before, when I was enjoying my hard-earned success thinking I was the shit, I was closed to these opportunities. I thought that since I was experienced, I was “better than that.” Now I'm just back to humbly inviting discomfort in my life and letting it be my teacher.

Deterioration or Growth—Your Choice

You may not enjoy suffering as you expand your comfort zone. But it’s this discomfort that pushes you ahead. It’s this discomfort that makes life interesting and creates rich experiences. Name one achievement in your life that makes you proud and I’m pretty sure it involved a lot of discomfort.

As Farnam Street’s article on entropy emphasizes, “for a change to occur, you must apply more energy to the system than is extracted by the system.” When you fail to apply continuous energy to improve your life, it inevitably goes toward disorder and disrepair.

Of course, over the long term we can’t prevent entropy as we have this thing called death. But why not pass through the time between your birth and death in a fun, rewarding, and meaningful way?

Whether you’re only beginning or are already a seasoned entrepreneur, remember that this journey never stops. Discomfort is the name of the game.

Life lived the hard way is what makes it engaging, satisfying, and also great for those around you as you inspire them with your strength and grit.

As for Dave Kekich, my other favorites of his are #27 and #62. I’ll let them speak for themselves:

27. The choice to exert integrated effort or to default to camouflaged laziness is the key choice that determines your character, competence and future. That critical choice must be made continually - throughout life. The most meaningful thing to live for is reaching your full potential.

62. If your purpose of life is security, you will be a failure. Security is the lowest form of happiness.

So there you have it, my ode to discomfort. Let it always be present in our lives regardless of our level of "success," for it makes life worth living. :)
Thank you so much for posting this. I think what you are saying is so true. I am not as far on my journey, but I know that I feel the most confident (and my best) when I embracing discomfort and hard living. Ironically, in retrospect, I have also found that such times are the least stressful because, as you said, you are prepared to handle whatever is thrown at you. Striving for comfort makes us fragile.
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,093
20,644
4,304
The GOLD is more than well deserved here.

Thank you.

How did meditation relate to yourself becoming weaker? Did it contribute to it initially? Did it help you become aware of it? Did it help you overcome it, and become disciplined again?

Meditation didn't make me weaker, it made me aware of the thoughts that were in fact silly justifications.

I try to watch my thoughts as often and as much as I can. I realized that when I was thinking of new projects (particularly things outside my comfort zone) I was using these silly excuses as legitimate reasons why I shouldn't do something.

As you know, the mind gives you the thoughts it was conditioned to believe. Meditation/spirituality helped me see that me "taking it easy" contributed to conditioning my mind to choose the easy choices (making my life hard over the long term).

Or in other words, meditation helped me not believe the stories I tell myself.

Thank you so much for posting this. I think what you are saying is so true. I am not as far on my journey, but I know that I feel the most confident (and my best) when I embracing discomfort and hard living. Ironically, in retrospect, I have also found that such times are the least stressful because, as you said, you are prepared to handle whatever is thrown at you. Striving for comfort makes us fragile.

100%. You're doing it right. :)
 

Black_Dragon43

Gold Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Apr 28, 2017
613
1,677
478
Eastern Europe
Thank you.



Meditation didn't make me weaker, it made me aware of the thoughts that were in fact silly justifications.

I try to watch my thoughts as often and as much as I can. I realized that when I was thinking of new projects (particularly things outside my comfort zone) I was using these silly excuses as legitimate reasons why I shouldn't do something.

As you know, the mind gives you the thoughts it was conditioned to believe. Meditation/spirituality helped me see that me "taking it easy" contributed to conditioning my mind to choose the easy choices (making my life hard over the long term).

Or in other words, meditation helped me not believe the stories I tell myself.



100%. You're doing it right. :)
That’s awesome, I like this more active side of it. Personally, I think that the beginning of a spiritual journey depresses action, but as you get a clearer idea about it, namely that meditation is supposed to be the exact opposite of AVOIDANCE, then you actually get better at taking action in accordance to your values. But it is a process in my experience.

Have you read Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile? He goes over this concept that you’re discussing very well in the book, and relates it back to Stoics who practiced voluntary discomfort. He calls Stoics “Buddhists who say f*ck you to fate” . Funny but I think it highlights the Western/Eastern divide quite well, since the Western mind does have a tendency towards much greater practicality/pragmatism.
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,093
20,644
4,304
That’s awesome, I like this more active side of it. Personally, I think that the beginning of a spiritual journey depresses action, but as you get a clearer idea about it, namely that meditation is supposed to be the exact opposite of AVOIDANCE, then you actually get better at taking action in accordance to your values. But it is a process in my experience.

I did go through the depressive phase of it. Only when I heard from fellow practitioners that it was still okay to engage in life that I now see how I can combine the spiritual side with the "worldly" life.

Have you read Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile? He goes over this concept that you’re discussing very well in the book, and relates it back to Stoics who practiced voluntary discomfort. He calls Stoics “Buddhists who say f*ck you to fate” . Funny but I think it highlights the Western/Eastern divide quite well, since the Western mind does have a tendency towards much greater practicality/pragmatism.

I think I tried but I absolutely can't stand his convoluted hard-on-purpose writing style.
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

volodya

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Mar 15, 2018
111
139
133
Vancouver, BC, Canada
This is such an awesome thread, one day it can turn into a book on living life.

Most of your examples @MTF were stepping out of comfort zone for things you find scary, and there is a thrill after accomplishment. And your other comments and thread on meditation is kind of the opposite. It’s about finding the calm and living in the now. Most of our life happens somewhere in between the extremes.

Extremes push out boundaries and redefine what’s possible, in fact extremes can remove some boundaries. Endurance sport races tend to do that for me and meditation tends to shift my mind back into focus on what’s truly important, gives me a little more mind energy and clarity. It’s a personal thing.

Yet again, most of life happens in between those extremes. We built relationships, businesses, families, hobbies, houses...

It’s hard to describe to non-parents how much harder it is to find patience for a young crying child than it is to keep going during an endurance race. Or to find the right nurturing language during a hard business negotiation (when every fibre of your body wants to scream in frustration). Finding a way to help a homeless person when you are wondering if he’s going to take your $5 and get more drugs. Those other aspects of life that we rarely talk about are all part of living hard. The comfortable thing would be to lose your composure, act out or do nothing when you should be helping others. The hard living is doing the right thing.

Simple to understand and yet hard to do (pun intended). Most of living a good life is simple to understand (eat well, exercise, be kind to others, add value etc.) and it is hard to do at the right time.

That’s why I find your post so profound @MTF , there is more depth to it, a lot more depth for me. Thanks again for posting.
 

teambret

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Apr 26, 2021
6
5
14
Utah
great write up! Thank you for sharing. This is a good reminder for all of us.
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,093
20,644
4,304
Most of your examples @MTF were stepping out of comfort zone for things you find scary, and there is a thrill after accomplishment. And your other comments and thread on meditation is kind of the opposite. It’s about finding the calm and living in the now. Most of our life happens somewhere in between the extremes.

On some level both of these things are the same. In both, you want the complete experience as it unfolds right now. Doesn't matter if it's climbing a mountain and wanting to remember the adventure rather than worry about stuff back home or meditating and wanting to sit in peace rather than planning what you'll do later.

The comfortable thing would be to lose your composure, act out or do nothing when you should be helping others. The hard living is doing the right thing.

And that's where spiritual stuff helps a lot as it helps you notice the emerging emotions and stop them from wrestling control over you. If we immediately associate with these thoughts we make our lives harder, even if it feels "nice" at the time (acting out gives a perverse sense of feeling nice).

Very well written man, great points too! Thanks for sharing :)

Thank you for reading!

great write up! Thank you for sharing. This is a good reminder for all of us.

Thank you for your kind words.
 

MJ DeMarco

Administrator
Staff member
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jul 23, 2007
31,650
119,025
3,751
Fountain Hills, AZ
This is a great post, and actually has some relevance to me. If I'm being honest with myself, I've lived an awfully comfortable life that last ten years. I'm happy of course, but I know I've declined a lot of opportunities simply because I didn't want to be bothered as I focused more on low-drama, or I simply told myself, "You don't need to do that."
 

MTF

Never give up
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 1, 2011
4,093
20,644
4,304
This is a great post, and actually has some relevance to me. If I'm being honest with myself, I've lived an awfully comfortable life that last ten years. I'm happy of course, but I know I've declined a lot of opportunities simply because I didn't want to be bothered as I focused more on low-drama, or I simply told myself, "You don't need to do that."

I can feel that. I think there's no reason to add drama to your life to grow, though.

I'm learning how to use social media to grow my business now. Social media can generate a lot of drama. But it's up to me if I need to expose myself or react to it. I got annoyed today by a random shadow ban from Instagram but that's just another opportunity to learn how to be chill even when things don't go well.

Edit: I take it back. After the first full day working with social media it's actually very easy to get exposed to drama on social media even if you don't want to. And this may actually be a good example of stress you don't need for anything, same as you wouldn't break a leg just to learn how to live with a broken leg lol.

As for an awfully comfortable life, you're still writing new books and experimenting with new types of them plus managing this forum extremely well (this is a very tough daily job I'd say), so there's still some discomfort involved. But I guess if you've declined at least some incredible opportunities because you didn't want to be bothered, then maybe there's some improvement to be had here. Or maybe not. It's all a person thing. I do better when I'm challenged but I wouldn't do well if I were stretched way above the limits.
 
Last edited:

volodya

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Mar 15, 2018
111
139
133
Vancouver, BC, Canada
We oscillate between wanting comfort and then getting insufficient fulfillment and wanting achievements that come from a lot of discomfort.
Happiness is about growing, so I guess living the hard way is more likely to make you happy.
 

Aleeysha

New Contributor
Apr 6, 2019
3
6
13
On July 7, 1978, exercise fanatic Dave Kekich was working out in the gym like any other day. While training, he suffered a freak spinal cord injury. At the age of 35, it left him paralyzed from the chest down ever since.

His injury cost him everything.

He couldn’t engage in his favorite physical activities anymore. He suffered from serious depression. He lost a thriving business.

He spend the next two decades searching for a cure to be able to walk again, to no avail. He eventually devoted his life to identify and fund the world’s most promising anti-aging research, technologies, products and services.

Joe Polish from the Genius Network asked Dave to compile his life lessons. The resulting document, titled Kekich's Credo, offers 100 “success secrets” that have guided Dave’s life.

In the opening rule, he says:

People will do almost anything to stay in their comfort zones. If you want to accomplish anything, get out of your comfort zone. Strive to increase order and discipline in your life. Discipline usually means doing the opposite of what you feel like doing. (…)

In the fourth rule, he says:

(…) Life’s easy when you live it the hard way… and hard if you try to live it the easy way.

How I Went From Easy to Hard to Easy and Why "Easy" Doesn’t Work

I'm about to tell you a little bit of my life story and share more than I feel comfortable sharing. The reason why I'm doing it will be obvious by the time you finish reading this post...

The first time I read Kekich’s Credo, the two observations above resonated with me so much that I got addicted to making my life harder. I continuously expanded my comfort zone. I pushed my body physically and challenged my mind regularly, too. I treated it like the most important job in the world.

I learned how to overcome debilitating shyness through learning how to talk with women, public speaking, and performing some silly feats in social settings. This also helped me develop confidence in my business skills.

I overcame my fear of heights through rock climbing, hiking in high mountains, flying in a hot-air balloon and even skydiving. I was scared SHITLESS when doing the latter.

View attachment 37810
ABOVE: I'm not sure what was scarier. Sitting in a tightly-packed old rattling airplane with the door open as it gained altitude or jumping out of it? Both were a total horror. But I'm still glad I did it.

I overcame my fear of the unknown by traveling to exotic destinations like Oman, Kyrgyzstan, and Morocco, as well as climbing expeditions in Europe, and experiencing some crazy adventures there.

View attachment 37811

ABOVE: Multi-pitch climbing in Italy. We got lost during the route and had to climb through some sketchy terrain. Previously, I wouldn't even be able to stand on top of a cliff, let alone climb it.

I overcame my fear of open water by learning how to swim (now I’m a swimming coach), surf and even scuba dive. I was scared SHITLESS to do the latter, too.

View attachment 37809

ABOVE: My first scuba dive. It took me ages to gain courage to tumble backwards from the boat. I was THIS close to not doing it and just giving up. But that would set a bad precedent. And I wouldn't get to see another world.

I even overcame my deep hatred of cold weather and practiced winter swimming and surfing in temperatures as low as 3 degrees Celsius / 37 Fahrenheit.

View attachment 37808

ABOVE: Right before cold water immersion. Nothing to feel more invincible than suffering from extreme cold. The ice cut my feet but I didn't feel it since they were numb lol.

I got good at feeling comfortable despite discomfort, learning difficult things and engaging in physically- and mentally-demanding sports and various seminars like krav maga in terrorist situations:

View attachment 37806

ABOVE: Hostage situation simulation during a krav maga seminar. No better way to learn how to feel comfortable with discomfort than zip-tied, with a garbage bag on your head.

Eventually, with all the above things going on, I achieved my biggest life goals. And over time, I started taking it a little easier.

“It’s time to chill out,” I told myself. “Constant stress isn’t good for you,” I thought. After all, I had paid the dues already. You want to become financially independent to enjoy life, not to keep pushing.

I didn’t entirely rest on my laurels. I still pushed myself in sports. I still learned new things. But I was no longer as rigorous about it as before. I more often took the easy way out. I avoided discomfort when it could have helped me grow.

I started rationalizing why I wasn’t doing certain things by telling myself things like:
  • It's not my strength.
  • It's too stressful.
  • I’m past doing these things.
  • I should be kinder to myself.
  • This isn’t pleasant.
I made myself more comfortable, thinking this would help me live a stress-free life.

The joke is that a stress-free life is NOT the one where you don’t have stress. A stress-free life is the one where you can HANDLE whatever stress life throws at you. And the best way to learn how to handle stress is… you guessed it. Expose yourself to it, not hide yourself from it to “chill out.”

This applies BOTH when you’re pursuing your big goals as well as when you achieve them and can afford to "relax."

Ultimately, if you don’t know how to handle stress, you’ll STILL find a way to be stressed out—even when you cash out, move to a tropical paradise with swaying palm trees, free drinks, and a leisurely pace of life.

This doesn’t mean that if your daily job was living hell for you, now you should go back to it just to experience stress. It doesn’t mean that chronic stress is good for you. It doesn’t mean that you should purposefully destroy your life or keep suffering from terrible live conditions to have more stress. It doesn’t mean that life can’t be fun and needs to be filled with torment, either.

What you want in your everyday life is stress that’s voluntary, manageable and aligned with your goals. For entrepreneurs, this may mean exposing yourself to rejection, waking up early, pushing yourself physically, or studying difficult things. All. The. Time. Not just when you’re new to entrepreneurship but even (if not more so) when you gain more experience and assume you know it all.

Exposing yourself to this stress, voluntary or not, won’t be all roses, but it will make you sharper. And it won’t destroy your life quality. Quite the opposite. Constant growth keeps us vibrant, enthusiastic, and energized. Stagnation leads to boredom, apathy, and exhaustion.

I Finally Realized My Mistake


A few months ago I got interested in meditation. This led me to spirituality. This led me to becoming more aware of my everyday thoughts.

I recently noticed some alarming thoughts poisoning my mindset. I started justifying not doing things outside of my comfort zone with statements like: “I shouldn’t stress out so much again” or “I don’t like it.” But as I stopped interacting with discomfort as much as before, not only did I become complacent. I also started losing self-confidence. I also started making more excuses.

I was growing soft and weak thinking I was doing myself a favor.

To give you some examples…

I stopped tracking my caloric intake. This made me less aware of the amount of food I was consuming. My excuse was that it was stressful to deny myself food, let alone track it. As a result, I gained unwanted weight. One day as I looked at myself in the mirror, I absolutely hated how I looked. And that’s coming from a guy who’s obsessed about sports.

I stopped waking up at 5:30. Instead, I set the alarm for 6:30 only to hit snooze and get up an hour later. After all, it was stressful to wake up so early. And, I told myself, “I don’t have to wake up so early anymore. I’ve done that already in the past and paid my dues.” But in reality, because of sleeping late and getting up groggy, I was wasting my favorite part of the day.

I stopped exposing myself to adverse conditions. I taught myself that it was okay to back out when things got uncomfortable. Previously, I’d push even if it was extremely uncomfortable. Later, when I became supposedly "successful," I was fine giving up. Can you see what kind of a bad precedent it sets?

Inevitably, these weak behaviors affected my entrepreneurial life, too.

I started rationalizing my lazy business decisions by saying that, for example, I didn’t like social media so I shouldn’t use it to grow my business. Or that if I wasn’t good at something, I shouldn’t do it. (But I shouldn’t find another person to do it, either, because I wasn’t good at finding people to help me.)

As you can see, that's a perfect recipe for a vicious cycle.

Whatever new things I wanted to start, I had crippling doubts. Why? Because I was no longer comfortable feeling discomfort and doing it anyway. It had been a long time since I took expanding my comfort zone seriously.

That's when I realized something had to change.

I forgot what got me here: living my life the hard way.

I started counting calories again. I’ve already lost some weight and am on track to reach my goals by the summer. I feel better knowing I control my diet again, even though it’s not “stress-free” to weigh my food and track my caloric intake.

I started getting up at 5:30 again. The night I decided to start waking up early again, I naturally got up the next morning before the alarm clock. The firm decision alone was enough to bring back my old instincts. I now feel way better the moment I get up because I score a big win right when I start my day. Waking up at 5:30 after 8 hours of sleep gives me more energy than waking up at 7:30 after 9-10 hours of sleep. The harder option is easier.

I started exposing myself to adverse conditions again and pushing myself more physically. I now feel more confident in my abilities again, just because I’m yet again willing to endure discomfort if it means growth.

I started taking new risks in business and exploring new opportunities I didn’t feel comfortable with before. I feel like a complete beginner now and that’s great because it means I’m learning.

I have plans to do other new uncomfortable things like sleeping alone in the woods, mastering handstands (work in progress), as well as get good at marketing (my big weakness in business).

I also decided to publish this in-depth post along with some personal pictures even though I was nervous to do it. I knew that the message was more important than my discomfort so I had to put it out here.

Note that none of these things mean that my life is now terrible and filled with suffering. That's not what I'm proposing at all. My life is again filled with productive, fun challenges that may not always be pleasant but that are always rewarding. Before, when I was enjoying my hard-earned success thinking I was the shit, I was closed to these opportunities. I thought that since I was experienced, I was “better than that.” Now I'm just back to humbly inviting discomfort in my life and letting it be my teacher.

Deterioration or Growth—Your Choice

You may not enjoy suffering as you expand your comfort zone. But it’s this discomfort that pushes you ahead. It’s this discomfort that makes life interesting and creates rich experiences. Name one achievement in your life that makes you proud and I’m pretty sure it involved a lot of discomfort.

As Farnam Street’s article on entropy emphasizes, “for a change to occur, you must apply more energy to the system than is extracted by the system.” When you fail to apply continuous energy to improve your life, it inevitably goes toward disorder and disrepair.

Of course, over the long term we can’t prevent entropy as we have this thing called death. But why not pass through the time between your birth and death in a fun, rewarding, and meaningful way?

Whether you’re only beginning or are already a seasoned entrepreneur, remember that this journey never stops. Discomfort is the name of the game.

Life lived the hard way is what makes it engaging, satisfying, and also great for those around you as you inspire them with your strength and grit.

As for Dave Kekich, my other favorites of his are #27 and #62. I’ll let them speak for themselves:

27. The choice to exert integrated effort or to default to camouflaged laziness is the key choice that determines your character, competence and future. That critical choice must be made continually - throughout life. The most meaningful thing to live for is reaching your full potential.

62. If your purpose of life is security, you will be a failure. Security is the lowest form of happiness.

So there you have it, my ode to discomfort. Let it always be present in our lives regardless of our level of "success," for it makes life worth living. :)
Great read! Especially loved the reminder about taking on VOLUNTARY stress. Makes so much sense to learn how to face discomfort at your own command, so that you are better prepared for it when it comes from external sources later on. With the pandemic making life simpler and easier, I've been debating lately if there was any purpose in continuously pushing myself to reach goals (and face rejection...ugh) in my side venture when I am now working from home at my day job and hardly ever facing real challenges. This post gave me some helpful new insight.
 

Mutant

Silver Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
Jan 8, 2018
248
768
287
London
I also decided to publish this in-depth post along with some personal pictures even though I was nervous to do it. I knew that the message was more important than my discomfort so I had to put it out here.

Wow, @MTF, after all the hiding you have finally posted pictures of yourself on a public thread! This gesture has more impact on me, than all the text (though the text is awesome!! Respect!)


Awesome post @MTF - thank you.

Just wondered what the thinking (or emotion) behind previously not posting personal pics was?
 

Sponsored Offers

  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE Fox Web School "Legend" Group Coaching Program 2021
@Fox It's same with me Did both quiz and application but as yet no automatic confirmation, just...
MARKETPLACE 7 Days To Freedom: From Wantrepreneur/Wage Slave To Freelancer
freelance is cool. but to own a business is like freedom. A newsletter I'm subscribed to gave...
Introducing MJ's Personal Unscripted Network, Join Now for FREE!
If you are in IDEA mode, text "IDEA" to the above number. If you are in LAUNCH/START mode, text...
  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE Lex DeVille's - Advanced Freelance Udemy Courses!
I have a long weekend off work.. bought your "Start a Freelance Business: Take Back Your...
MARKETPLACE Not sure how to start? This free book will teach you how to build a successful web design business
If there’s one thread I see repeated over and over again on the forum, it goes like this: “I...
  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE You Are One Call Away From Living Your Dream Life - LightHouse’s Accountability Program ⚡
Thanks for clearing that up. What do you recommend for those who are still in the process of...



Forum Sponsor

Over 100 Fastlane Students
More Details...

New Topics

Fastlane Insiders

View the forum AD FREE.
Private, unindexed content
Detailed process/execution threads
Monthly conference calls with doers
Ideas needing execution, more!

Join Fastlane Insiders.

Top Bottom