Are You Happy? Or Are You Just Comfortable?

I heard of a definition of average as being the best of the worst and the worst of the best. It’s right in between. Many people have average homes, average cars, average marriages, average jobs, average bodies, and average lives. They don’t strive for a better life because that would involve taking risks and coming out of one’s comfort zone. Well, listen carefully:

Success is not built on convenience. Success is doing what the average person doesn’t even think about doing.

So often, many of us choose a job, a home, and a partner, because it’s just convenient and comfortable. Maybe the job is close to home. It may not be the job you really want but it’s conveniently close by. Perhaps the home is not in an area you really want to live in. But it’s less expensive and conveniently close to work. So you go with that. Maybe the partner is not the best partner you can have. But because you’ve been in the relationship for years and don’t want to “start over” again, it’s convenient to just stay comfortable and where you’re at.

Don’t confuse comfort with happiness, however. We will never know success in all aspects of our lives if we continue to do things that are convenient.

For example, if there’s a friend you haven’t seen in a long time and she lives a few hours drive away from you, the average person would probably not drive up to see the friend because it’s inconvenient. Oh, there’s the time factor, there’s gas to be purchased, there’s mileage added to the car, you have to take time off from work, etc.

But if we think of all these reasons not to go visit a beloved friend, think how selfish we are. And it’s all because we want to do things that are convenient for only us. We neglect to think of the other person.

So drive up there, surprise your friend, and make that person’s day. Your friendship will not only be sustained, but it will develop and grow. Your friend will always remember you having come out of your way to take time out for her.

Allow me to illustrate a personal example from my mother. My mom is an avid ballroom dancer and competes in several amateur competitions a year. Recently, she was helping out a classmate be a better dancer. The classmate wanted all the short cuts possible without putting in any real effort and many hours practicing. He didn’t want to have to wait to learn the waltz; he wanted to learn it in one hour!

But for my mom, it took her five weeks to learn the waltz, and that was just learning the steps, not counting many more months perfecting them. Sure, she wanted to learn it as fast as possible but that would not have been practical nor would she have remembered the moves. She did not do what was convenient for her. She did what was necessary to succeed.

And so you must, too. You must do what is necessary to succeed. Otherwise, just settle for the status quo and be done with it. When you wake up miserable day after day, year after year, don’t say you didn’t see it coming.

Start taking steps to achieve your dreams, whatever they may be, and keep in mind that comfort does not equal happiness.

View Comments

  1. Jonathan Chan says:

    No pain, no gain. Anything that are worthy won’t come easy. Hard work, a committed heart, going out of the way, do some extra-ordinary things, bear the inconvenience…. the road to succuess is paved with these.

    Again, similar to running =)
    It’s absolutely difficult to bear when running in a race but we are damn so tired, stomach is hurting, legs are getting sore, and starting have no breathe…
    There are many reasons to quit, and it’s so uncomfortable!!!

    But then, if we deal with the uncomfort, and finish the race – it’s hard work, but the result is rewarding, and it’s a “success”
    Success – not only in terms of finishing the race, but the ability and mental toughness to overcome the “uncomfort” and finish the race.

    Same for – saying “I am sorry” and saying “I am wrong”. It actually take toughness, humbleness and courage to say these words. It’s “uncomfortable” to say these words – but in order to become a successful person, he/she needs to learn how to say these words.

  2. Steve Austin says:

    To amplify the comparison, I find it useful to not confuse happiness with fulfillment, the latter being of the higher order (in my present outlook).

    As a pedantic nitpick, I think median might be a better term to use here than average (which sounds so continuously statistical, apart from the discrete embodiment of “the median”). ;-)

    I enjoyed Chan’s comment, and reminds me of a mantra I only half-jokingly circulate amongst my circles: Survival Is Victory! It sounds glorious at first, then a bit unambitious, but in the final treatment it’s what mostly matters. Survival on one’s terms, measured using one’s instruments.

    • Steve, I like that last sentence, “Survival on one’s terms, measured using one’s instruments.” And your mantra holds true in many people’s lives. Survival is, to them indeed, victory. Our society, self-constructed and external barriers, culture, habits, history, and the like, can really make it difficult to “survive” in this day and age.

      So when people finally reach a Friday after a long week at work, they think or say aloud, “Whew! Survived another week!” This statement/thought is more prevalent than we think. Thanks for your insights!

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