We only truly develop by committing ourselves to actions which are uncomfortable. At this point a man’s imagination will run wild with associations which draw pictures of speaking to large crowds, jumping out of planes and other cliché examples. In actual fact, what is uncomfortable lies far more with quite simple, practical behaviours which may at times seem so small, insignificant and arbitrary that we usually overlook them altogether. For example, a man walks and talks fast, and to have him struggle with these manifestations by intentionally slowing down the pace of his stride and the speed of his chatter will with consistent practice bring about an unexpected dose of discomfort. Or for a clever chap with a finesse in proving his point and being right, regardless of its validity, to intentionally hold his tongue.
Our strengths are often the topic of celebration. We are to glean upon the skills that we are naturally endowed and encouraged to develop these specific muscles all the way to the white flag of victory lane. It is so well-ingrained to work in this sort of direction that it appears counter-intuitive to, for instance, be urged to sacrifice this strength altogether in favour of developing our weaknesses in their stead. For this is the way to grow and become balanced in the genuine sense the word implies; that by intentionally letting go of what we are good at, we are given the space and opportunity to treat those qualities which are sorely lacking.
The popular slogans that are intended for the masses tend to look good in their outer facade and feign the idea that development can be fun and exciting, but these types of extreme experiments in favour of potent thrills are short-lasting. So too is the hint that constantly changing from one thing to another, in the hopes that the new will drive away the boredom of the old, will reap eternal happiness. An authentic regime for growing in character and balancing the soft spots which make a man both predictable and ‘rough around the edges’ is to act and do what he usually avoids for the sake of comfort and pleasure. However much we ascribe to the idea that change is constant and that we only grow by stepping into our comfort zone, the test begins when we are put into situations and scenarios which are tedious, awkward and tense by the fact that they are unaccustomed to our routines.
Most of us live the greater portion of our lives on the sidelines, ascribing to great thoughts and nodding our heads when we hear of exceptional cases where men and women sacrificed and suffered for the sake of a worthy cause or aim, but when it comes to a practical method of becoming a better, or shall we say more ’rounded’, person, we often stick to our habits and drink from the cup of forgetfulness should we be tempted to realize our true position. One must wonder what it would be like to be a man who is indifferent to the actions he is called upon to do, ignoring completely the critics, victims and saboteurs in his head which pop-up and appear, trying at all cost to avoid the chore or task at hand.
It would indeed be liberating to be free of those imposing thoughts and feelings which simply keep us exactly as we are, standing where we do, lacking the momentum to move our entangled feet. Keep your attention to your thoughts and examine the forces within you, for they will surely arise as you read these words and even more notably when you attempt to change your essential modes of behaviour in favour of the reverse or opposite of what you typically do. Change is heated by the friction of demanding for yourself an improvement in general development, where the sights of life are tainted less and less by the skewed lens of an unbalanced mind, heart and body. It is towards the aim of working on yourself as if you were a piece of clay, without mistakenly taking the current mould as holy, that we are granted the chance to be more.