Let the Sleeper Awake!: Change and Discomfort is Growth
“A Person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing him to grow. Without Change, something sleeps inside us and seldom awakens. The Sleeper must awaken.” — Duke Leto Atreides
There is so much depth and insight in Frank Herbert’s classic Sci-fi book “Dune.” This quote happens as the Atreides family is about to leave their watery paradise of Caladan for the water parched but rich desert planet of Dune. This was one of the most profound quotes for me which I didn’t really understand or appreciate until much later in my life.
I think we all end up following comfortable routines in our lives. For me, growing up in a very pleasant suburb of Vancouver, Canada, I never expected that I would leave the city let alone the country as a young boy. Life was safe, good & comfortable. Thankfully my parents encouraged me to go take that high school trip to Japan in 1989. My life was never the same again. Imagine going from a country of less than 25M people at that time to visiting a 30M person metropolis of Tokyo that was in the tail end of an economic boom.
My eyes were opened and my perspective expanded dramatically. I was never the same person again. I also attribute my deep love of travel and exploration to this trip. Probably also why Japan still holds a very deep place in my heart.
Humans are wired to dislike change. This goes back to our caveman days where making big changes to our lives could lead to our deaths through starvation or being eaten by sabretooth tigers. The cautious ones lived to pass down their genes, the less cautious did not live to do so. But this was hundreds of years ago. We are in a very different time where the world is changing very quickly and the risks of being eaten or starving have gone down dramatically. In fact, if you aren’t able to adapt to change you risk falling behind in your career and life.
Complacency kills literally. Humans were made to be challenged. I find that when you get too comfortable you literally stop growing both mentally and physically. At the gym, it’ s why you keep adding on weights and why it’s a good thing your muscles are sore after.
Stress is actually a good thing assuming you understand that this is the body giving you signals to step up and overcome. In our present world, a healthy paranoia coupled with a sense of adventure is important.
Change is hard. Discomfort is hard. But as Tim Ferriss says:
“The more you schedule and practice discomfort deliberately, the less unplanned discomfort will throw off your life and control your life.”
And the best way to do this is to change your environment. Travel or take a new role at your company. Or join a new company or maybe even start your own.
Basically if you are not doing something uncomfortable mentally, you probably are not growing, evolving or learning. So let the sleeper in you awake.
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