Most people don’t know much about the process of actually committing to their life dreams and goals, because the majority of people don’t keep most of their agreements. They add a silent, unconscious modifying phrase to all their commitments: “…as long as it’s not uncomfortable.”
What they don’t realize is that discomfort is one of the values of commitments, one of the reasons for making a commitment in the first place. Within us is an automatic goal-fulfilment mechanism. When we commit to something, we are telling the goal-fulfilment mechanism, “I want this.” The goal-fulfilment mechanism says, “Fine, I’ll arrange that.” And it does. Among the things it uses – individually or collectively are:
- It looks to see what the lessons are that we must learn in order to have our goal, then it arranges for those lessons. Sometimes, these lessons come in pleasant ways (we notice an article on what we need to know in a magazine; a conversation with a friend reveals something to us; a song on the radio has a line that tells us something important). At other times, the lessons are unpleasant (someone we must listen to – a boss, for example – tells us “in no uncertain terms” what we need to know; or we get sick, and the doctor tells us what we need to do “or else”).
- The goal-fulfilment mechanism sees what is in the way of us having what we want, and removes it. Again, sometimes this can be pleasant (if the goal is a new car, someone offers us a great price for our old car), or unpleasant (our car is stolen, damaged or breaks down altogether).
In order to have something new, our comfort zone must be expanded to include that new thing. The bigger the new thing, the greater the comfort zone must expand. And comfort zones are most often expanded through discomfort.
When people don’t understand that being uncomfortable is part of the process, they use the discomfort as a reason not to do. Then they don’t get what they want. We must learn to tolerate discomfort in order to grow.
This process of growth is known as “grist for the mill.” When making flour in an old stone mill, it is necessary to add gravel to the wheat before grinding it. This gravel is known as grist. The small stones that make up the grist rub against the grain as the mill wheel passes over them. The friction causes the wheat to be ground into a fine powder. If it wasn’t for the grist, the wheat would only be crushed. To grind wheat fine enough for flour requires grist. After the grinding, the grist is sifted out, and only the flour remains.