What happens when you are comfortable?
You are comfortable… Nothing needs to change… you are just there…
(Nothing, niente, nichts, rien, 아무것도, 没什么, لا شي,何も)
If you can make sense of this picture you know what it is to be uncomfortable. and I made this article to be, intentionally, uncomfortably, out of focus. This is my father who is visually impaired with a 50 inches TV serving as a screen, and a 600x magnification. And I like to use his examples to show you that the process of uncomfortability is more useful than we imagine.
1. We are aware that something is wrong.
What we expect is not happening, and we do not know how to react to it. Either because we have not experience it, or because we are still thinking this is not going to happen. Uncomfortable can be a step in Kuhn’s paradigms breaking but most likely it carries on a profound sense of self-doubt: Can I make any sense of it? Can I do something about it?
2. We react to the awareness: do I agree, disagree?
Actually this same principle applies to all of the communication we receive. Yes, that 2-ears 1-mouth thing is not really about slowing down to listen but to realize that when we are receiving a piece of information we have a dual conversation: the one that gets in and the ones that circles in our head ‘about’ what we are receiving. We carry this dual conversation along when we are faced with the uncomfortable: do I agree, do I disagree?
3. We produce an answer: do I ignore it? do I act upon it?
This is so true to people who are faced with ethical dilemmas or everyday life mini-choices: do I help that person cross the street? do I tell my uncle? do I speak up to my boss? the biggest realization I have is that ignoring what creates discomfort does not solve an issue. An ignored problem does not become invisible but invincible. And the longer we we wait to tackle it, the more it will grow or the weaker we feel to manage it.
4. We plan executing the answer: how do I de-risk an answer?
Who can help? what is the path of least resistance? De-risking an answer is one of the most fascinating processes that we can learn. The culture in Silicon Valley is specially good at de-risking. We de-risk by breaking goals into actionable steps, and adjusting after evaluation the results of each step. By the way, we do the same when we chose not to take action and wait the effect of not taking action.
5. We evaluate the reaction: do I create a change? or do I change?
How is the new balance restored? Ever wonder how absurd dreams get into realities? it is most likely that we do not react. Slow changes can become the norm until someone -uncomfortably enough- points out that we need to change… and hopefully, we get enough people becoming the change instead of changing themselves.
So next time you are uncomfortable, or someone points out their “uncomfortability” cherish the moment for the future is most likely to improve. I never knew of progress being made comfortable.
yours in evolution,