“It takes many hours to make what you want to make. The hours don’t suddenly appear. You have to steal them from comfort. Whatever you were doing before was comfortable. This is not. This will be really uncomfortable.” – Derek Sivers, Where To Find The Hours To Make It Happen
This phrase, stealing hours from comfort, was plucked from a blog post Sivers wrote last October and highlighted yesterday by Seth Godin, borrowing for one of his own blog posts. And so I pay it forward here. For there’s genius in the phrasing, isn’t there? We all have the same amount of hours in the day, and those who do exceptional things with their lives do so by stealing hours otherwise spent on comfortable things like binge-watching Ozark or SV Delos YouTube videos (guilty x 2). In the meantime the great novel in your head slides sideways into the abyss. The language you might have learned remains a mystery to you. The belly gets soft. The community volunteers carry on without you. The work is accomplished by others, and we look on in awe at what they achieved.
And the answer, of course, is to be less comfortable. To challenge yourself more. To do the work that must be done to get from this place of relative comfort to a better place of greater meaning and contribution. To stop scraping by at the bare minimum and double down on your effort. For all that is worthwhile in this world requires an investment in time and a healthy dose of discomfort to earn it. But we have to remind ourselves of this daily, because comfort is a dangerous temptress. And before we know it the days, weeks and years fly by and the dreams remain only dreams. So toughen up, buttercup! A bit less comfort is the answer to the question of where will you find the time?
As Jackson Browne sings, I’ve been aware of the time going by… and so I’m trying to invest my time in less comfortable things. Hiking with intent, writing more, working more focused hours in my career, and slowly chipping away at expanding the possible of today. But I’m still too comfortable. When there’s so much more to do in the time we have left, isn’t it essential we get to it already? And in some ways the pandemic offers us a reason to make profound shifts towards the uncomfortable. To break from the routine and tackle the meaningful. A catalyst for change just in the nick of time – in this, our critical moment. For if not now, when?