Updated: Aug 19
Americans want challenges, our greatest moments were us collectively facing adversity. Lewis and Clark walked across the United States. George Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas to fight the British. Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, we won the World Wars. We landed on the godamn moon. We stood together after 9/11 and killed Bin Laden.
Now that adversity has morphed into something more dangerous, comfort. That comfort has led to divisiveness. Because if Americans don’t have anyone to fight, we fight each other.
Earlier humans lived far harder, shorter, and more violent lives. We had to rely on our neighbors to survive but now we need our neighbors for nothing, not even to borrow sugar or milk anymore. We live in air conditioning, with Netflix and UberEATS. Previous generations endured the elements, told stories around campfires, and every meal took work.
Veterans are fortunate, we are exposed to a measure of hardship most people aren’t. I
remember not having running water and having to wash my clothes by hand when deployed in Afghanistan. I saw people who had never had electricity in their entire lives, never experienced modern medicine, and never travelled more than a few miles from their village. In Afghanistan I was forced to push myself mentally and physically, living the horrors of war and going near my breaking point. There were times when we all felt we couldn’t take another step, but we did it anyway. Those experiences and witnessing the reality of the third world made me extremely grateful for the life I have and grew up with.
But most Americans aren’t exposed to the hardships associated with war, most Americans have no concept of storming beaches at Normandy or marching up Hamburger Hill. The opportunity to push yourself physically and mentally is something we all need.
America has gotten fat and depressed because we view comfort as the goal when it should be the enemy. Why do you think rich kids are always the worst? Because they have only known comfort. It’s time we teach ourselves and our kids that away from comfort is where growth happens. Getting “outside your comfort zone” is more an inspirational quote on Instagram than something actually happening. Now most Americans would rather watch someone try to survive the wilderness from a recliner than try to survive outside ourselves.
Our drive thru culture has run against our values. America was forged rolling our sleeves up and embracing sweat and hardship, fighting for our freedom. Now most American hands are manicured, covered in hand sanitizer, and clutching an iPhone.
We need to find ourselves some challenges, maybe those aren’t fighting the Taliban but challenges just have to big enough to change us. It can be a challenge to lose ten pounds, to be a better person, to go back to school, to open a business, or just to drink enough water in a day. We can take on a lot more than we think we can, and it’s time we get motivated to pursue challenges instead of avoiding them.
Go Get Uncomfortable
- Go jump in a freezing lake
- Ask someone out of your league on a date
- Go run a marathon
- Ask for a raise
- Change your environment
- Do a 30-day challenge
- Go yell at someone who deserves it
- Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it
- Go camping
- Force your lazy ass out of bed earlier
If you have any ideas on getting out of your comfort zone, or want to let us know how you get uncomfortable- let us know or comment. Share this article to encourage others to get out of their comfort zone.
-as always, let valor not fail