Many of us run away from discomfort. And when we do encounter it, we get tempted to look for shortcuts and easy, unhealthy ways to feel better. Instead of handling the situation at hand, we take the road of instant gratification and choose to do things that bring us immediate emotional relief. Some examples are smoking a few cigarettes, drinking a glass of wine, watching porn, eating a pint of ice cream, binge-watching our favorite shows and/or movies, and impulse-buying on online retailer websites. But they provide only temporary spikes of dopamine and short-term fixes, which when repeated day in and day out often compound to much bigger and permanent long-term problems.
Here’s a secret to living long and healthy lives: delay your pleasures. This is easier than done, but you must let go of those short-term pleasures and practice enduring discomfort to secure long-term wins. You must have a greater purpose — a strong Why — and constantly remind yourself of the bigger picture.
Put yourself in situations that make you anxious and uncomfortable. Work on your monthly budget, sign up for that group exercise class, become an early riser, cut down your smartphone and social media usage. The more you endure discomfort, the more you get desensitized to it, and the more fearless and confident you become when it comes to tackling challenging things. As the modern Stoic Jerzy Gregorek succinctly puts it, “Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.”