If you look up adversity in the dictionary, its definition is: a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune. I see adversity as becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Why is it that we have become so content with being comfortable? Short answer: It is easy. We are so afraid of being uncomfortable that we seek comfort around every corner. We do not want to miss a meal, be too cold, too hot, the list goes on. We never want to experience a moment of discomfort, but there is a sort of magic or a superpower in learning to be comfortable with uncomfortable. Through discomfort is where we really find out about ourselves.
That is what I really like about ultra-running, pushing yourself beyond anything you previously thought possible, turning the impossible into possible. I never thought I’d be running anything but my mouth, I was never a fan of running anything over 100 Meters, because well it sucked to go any further than that, and well I didn’t need to breathe for those few seconds. Now I look forward to my long runs of 5,6,7 hours. I now feel that anything under an hour is just a waste of time. Man have I come a long way.
It has been through this continual discomfort of pushing myself to run longer and do more and more difficult challenges that help me to continue to grow as a person. Trust me I want to be comfortable too, but now I know that once I push through the uncomfortable, I have created a new set point of what comfortable really is.
That defining moment for me came when I got to the top of my first 14,000-foot peak Grays Peak in Colorado followed by Torreys Peak after. That was two peaks in one day for my first ascent of a 14000-foot peak. I am not going to lie, there was a lot of hard work that when in to preparing to get to the top and back down safely, and when I got to the top I cried like nobody’s business. It was one of the greatest feelings I have ever had, especially considering I thought I would never be able to really enjoy hiking because of the medical issues I had.
I guess what I am trying to say is next time you are feeling a little uncomfortable, embrace it and persevere through it. You will come out the other side knowing you have a new comfortable.
Two of my favorite quotes come from Ken Chlouber, the Leadville 100 Founder: “Make friends with pain and you’ll never be alone.” And “You are better than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can.”
So, quit trying to be so damn comfortable all the time and face some adversity, and grow as a person.