Comfort by Tom Witkin

Tom Witkin a San Francisco based designer and developer authored the following, but it could apply to any creative aspect of life, not just to any of the arts, but all of life.


Until recently, I felt that I had gotten a little too comfortable. I had grown a little too accustomed to assuming I’ll always be able to dictate the current situation. I had grown intolerant of anything that forced me to change my routine — my tightly held habits. I feared uncertainty.

One of the biggest realizations I’ve made is the need to be uncomfortable. I need to deliberately push myself into uncomfortable territory. I’ve been denying myself from really experiencing what’s around me, all in the name of being comfortable.

Sustained comfort leads to crippling stasis. When the work I do and the life I live is static, I don’t explore new things. I don’t take chances. I don’t venture from what I already know.

Often, what is known isn’t the best for the task at hand. To truly find the best, I need to explore the unfamiliar. I need to enter regions and thoughts that I haven’t dared venture into before. I need to have a willingness to put myself in uncomfortable positions. I need to let myself be in situations where I don’t know what’s going to happen next.

This can be scary. It can be scary in my personal life, where achieving comfort is seemingly the ultimate goal, and in my work, as it’s easy to believe that staying in my comfort zone ensures at least an ok product.

What happens when I do this, though, is an incomplete and less desirable outcome. I’m recreating what’s already been done, gaining no new ground. Instead, I must venture into the unknown. What gets me through isn’t the knowledge that the solution I’m pursuing has already been done, but the confidence in my ability and skills to think of a better solution. What gets me through is the knowledge that I can take what I’m given and make something great. I may pull my hair out along the way, but that’s the point; I need to be pushed into an uncomfortable state to allow the process of succeeding to push me back out.

That’s what makes a great design. That’s what makes a great idea come to fruition. That’s what makes a fulfilling life. When I can accept the fact that I need to be uncomfortable, great things follow.


About Mike

I'm an avid bicyclist, that also enjoys Kayaking, Nature Photography, Cross Country Skiing and Geocaching. There's nothing more boring than sitting indoors in "good" weather.
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