lou bevacqui

The Uncomfortability Problem: How to Find True Wealth


I was talking to a friend of mine after a very difficult, snowy run from the red gates. If you don’t know the red gates, that’s probably because you haven’t run with me before. It’s a special little place in Vermont where the VAST goes up and down a bunch, and it’s definitely difficult to run this kind of trail without chains (microspikes) or snowshoes. Sometimes we take a look at our new shoes.  The occasional new piece of gear.  Compliments may be exchanged.  And although some gear may help us, we both are very aware it will not change the difficulty of what we are going to go and do.

Before our run this morning I had an epiphany, and said “There’s two ways to get better at running. One is to get really good gear that helps with our cold and our form and keeps us comfortable, as comfortable as we can be anyway while we’re doing this kind of stuff. The other is getting more familiar with the uncomfortability that surrounds us. Which one do you think is cheaper?” At this we both laughed, because it was true. We really didn’t need more of anything to get more out of our run and to feel more comfortable doing it. We needed a different perspective. A perspective you only get after being out on this sort of terrain for more than a few runs. This is true for running, but it’s just as true for anything we do in our lives.  Our perspective on something depends a lot more on how happy and content we are with what we’re doing, than how we’re doing it. and what we can buy that may be able to cushion but does not solve the uncomfortability problem.

Let’s be honest. The only reason why we want anything is because of the way it’s going to make us feel. It stands to reason that the things that are less certain can make us feel uncomfortable. To get around the discomfort that uncertainty produces we are going to seek things to make us comfortable. The only way to do this is by growing our tolerance of discomfort, which changes our perspective.  When this happens, things don’t bother us quite as much.  The other option is buying an all-terrain tank that is as plush as a four star hotel room on the inside… Although that would be something to see, it’s not too practical.  It’s not our opinion, but the well-earned perspective that we get from doing something over and over until we’re so familiar with it that it no longer seems to be such a problem to be uncomfortable. At least a certain kind of uncomfortable anyway.

Never has anything been more important when it comes to perspective than our finances. When it comes to material objects, we just can’t seem to get enough–most of us anyway. Often it is new toys. It’s not just children who like new toys, but adults like toys too, whether they are in the form of new cars, new homes, going to Starbucks and getting that extra special caramel latte whatever, blah blah blah. We all know the drill: these things give us fleeting happiness at best. The kind of happiness that only comes when our five external senses are stimulated by things in our external environment. But is that the only kind of happiness we can expect in our lives?  Must we go to an island to find true joy? The honest answer is we won’t find true joy on any island. 

True joy is found in only one place. True joy is the kind of joy we make and create in our own hearts and minds through gratefulness. Through appreciation of what we already have. We gain this appreciation through our perspective. When we practice doing something that is uncomfortable to the point where it no longer seems to be such a problem for us to experience discomfort, we can experience true joy! Because we have built up our ability to tolerate discomfort–actually, I would say we have built our ability to experience less discomfort in our lives because we have honed our experience, our relationship with discomfort to the point where we can appreciate the growth that we can achieve through that discomfort. 

When we have developed this perspective only then can we experience true joy through those things that create comfort (fun time spent with family or good friends), as well as those that stretch us (training for physical challenge, or starting a new job or relationship). True joy comes from the process, the experience, not from the achievement or the outcome!

So, while I am grateful to have microspikes to aid my running, and this rain jacket to keep me dry, I’m most grateful that I have the ability to consistently be out here running the hills at the red gate. I’m grateful for the challenge, both physical and mental, that it gives me. And I’m extremely grateful that I get to share this endeavor with a good friend. In all of this, I’m rich beyond comparison!

What challenges or areas of discomfort enrich your life? Let me know in the comments. 

If you would like to learn tools and skills to help you improve your emotional aptitude, reduce your emotional isolation, lessen your avoidance of shame, fear, and anxiety, and enable yourself to reach your goals, break old habits, or create new ones, I can help. I provide emotional resilience coaching, so you can achieve your goals.  We can meet either virtually or in person at my office in Waterbury, Vermont.  Just click the button or the link below for a free consultation and let’s talk. 

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