You live better than anyone in human history. Your chances of living out a full life are very high compared to your ancestors.
A mobile phone in your pocket that displays all information of the known world. A market nearby that contains a selection of fresh foods from around the world during every season. Your risk of being sold into slavery or a violent death are small. The A/C works in the summer and the heater in the winter. The hardships of today, pale in comparison to our forefathers.
With all this goodness, how do you push your comfort boundaries?
The popularity of Obstacle Course Races reveals our collective desire to challenge our physical and mental capabilities beyond sitting in a cubical writing code for days on end.
CEO and co-founder of AngelList, Naval Ravikant, stated, "All greatness comes from suffering." How are you suffering in the pursuit of greatness?
Intentionally submitting ourselves to incremental suffering can build a tolerance for discomfort and willingness to push through difficult times.
How do you dabble with suffering?
Fasting (weekly or sustained)
Cold exposure (cryotherapy or ice baths)
Late night studies
Caloric restriction (sustained)
Long hours at work
Other examples challenge the senses without the physical strain:
Sensory deprivation (float tanks)
Retreat (silent or meditation)
I land somewhere in the middle with barefoot walks in the woods. The gravel and stones are uncomfortable, but waking-up the 7,000 nerve endings in each foot is invigorating. Suffering happens if I don't wash my feet before climbing into clean sheets.
Author, Tim Ferriss implements a recommendation, Seneca wrote to his student Lucilius, "Set aside a certain number of days, during which you shall be content with the scantiest and cheapest fare... saying to yourself the while: "Is this the condition that I feared?" Tim regularly submits himself to distress and has concluded, "Suffer a little regularly, and you often cease to suffer."
How do you push back against your preferences to embrace discomfort?
What current inconvenience can you reframe and embrace as a tool for "suffering?"
Where do you expect to grow from this experience?
Revisit this question after your experience to determine how you were right; it may have taught you more than you expected.