“Comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
It was many years ago when I first heard this phrase. It had been a few months since I had joined BK and I was taking a “design process” one on one session with Frido. He had given me an assignment that correlated with what he had taught me for that day. I went home thinking “ok, I HAVE to get it right the first time.” After all, that was how I was conditioned. Whether it be through my education, background, or my past cutthroat jobs, I was taught NOT to fail. As I was working on the design project, I remember feeling extremely uncomfortable and beyond petrified at the impending fear of failure. Eventually (and painfully) I got through the assignment but the fears didn’t subside. When I met with Frido again to go over what I had worked on, I communicated to him that I wasn’t sure if I did it right. I was so surprised (more like shocked) when he told me that the point was not to get it right the first time, and that I needed to get “comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.” At that time I recall thinking that was one of the strangest things anyone had ever told me.
Fast forward to current day. Honestly speaking, I still think that concept is daunting. In fact, I thought about it just this week as I was working on another design project. I still have a fear of failure and moments where I feel completely stuck and experience brain fog. However, what has changed going through the design process a few times now is, I have accepted a few realities.
It will be uncomfortable… every. single. time.
It is not going to be right the first time - It doesn’t have to be.
I am aware that there will be failure - this actually helps to clarify what to eliminate/what’s not working.
And surprisingly I have been learning to be ok with these truths because it is in overcoming and enabling those obstacles that have led me to reach my creative project goals each time.
It’s amusing to me how concepts taught in the creative world often also overlap with how issues are dealt with in the “real world”. This notion of being “comfortable with being uncomfortable” has also trickled into challenges I have continued to face in my personal life and how I have learned to accept them as they are. In many instances, I have always tried to find a solution that would produce immediate results. I would become disappointed in myself for not being able to give these ongoing trials a closure and it made me feel like I had failed. However, looking back now I actually see how much I’ve grown through the practice of simply accepting being uncomfortable in the moments of change and evolution. I celebrate even the smallest shifts and victories because I know that each tiny step of overcoming, or just simply accepting what is even in stagnancy will help me get to where I want to be eventually. I can now say that “comfortable with being uncomfortable” doesn’t sound so strange anymore whether that be while working on a creative project or simply navigating through life.
“If you don’t fail, you’re not even trying.”
- Denzel Washington
Text and photos by: Eunice
Artifacts featured in story:
It would seem that being uncomfortable in the process of creating is “baked in” and a neccesary part of said process.
Fear of failure can muck up that process. Perhaps that fear should be banished from the work.
Have to get right on it!
I’m the same way! I have so much trouble trying things because anything less than perfection is not an option, and the more I impress people, the more important it is to keep it up. I have to make a conscious effort to get away from that, but it’s really tough. I’m not sure I’ll ever be comfortable with being uncomfortable, but I’m trying to at least get better at it 😂