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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 2 million readers. As featured on: CBS, BBC, NPR, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

The Discomfort Zone

The Minimalists, photo by Adam Dressler

You know that dream when you’re buck naked at school? It’s terrifying, isn’t it? Everything’s unsheltered, out in the open, nude—a nakedness we’re thankful to wake from and ease back into our world of comfort and safety.

You see, we often feel an underlying trepidation whenever we do something new, something that makes us feel exposed.

Joshua notices this trepidation with his writing students whenever he asks them to do activities that’re outside their comfort zone: when he asks them to tell a stranger about their passion for writing, or when he asks them to write an essay or story that other classmates might read.

Likewise, when Ryan asks the people he mentors to publicly proclaim their goals or to find an accountability partner, these mentees often wince with foreboding. At first, at least…

We refer to this uneasy consternation as “stepping into your Discomfort Zone.” That is, we want these people—people we truly care about—to feel temporarily naked. Because when you’re naked, you’re most vulnerable. And when you’re vulnerable, that’s when radical growth happens.

So next time you feel naked, next time you feel defenseless, know that you’re simply operating from your Discomfort Zone, a place from which you’ll experience growth as long as you’re willing to sit with your vulnerability long enough to grow.