Listening to the discomfort

Over the past few weeks, I decided to change things up a bit. Since early 2017 I've been working as an independent researcher in São Paulo, under James, primarily with agencies in the UK and the US to help them do research in Brazil. While this has been incredibly fulfilling, I've missed spinning plates. Having a single track got me to the point of craving more.

So recently I launched an intro course in research methods (in Portuguese only), started writing and hitting publish more, and started doing workshops in São Paulo. Spinning plates has made my energy levels shoot up, and I've generally been feeling more switched on.

However, I now have to deal with different deadlines, priorities, goals, and responsibilities. And sometimes, it just feels uncomfortable.

Even now, I have about three different things I 'need to do', sitting on a list of things that keeps growing.

It feels uncomfortable.

But while the discomfort can be an absolute pain in the ass, it's also a fantastic coach, if you listen.

It's that very discomfort that is often telling me that I'm trying to "punch the tip of a knife" (as we say in Portuguese when we want to communicate a stupid, and fruitless endeavour).

While I agree that sometimes, 'pushing through the pain' can be all we can do, more often than not that pain is there for an excellent reason. It's a wake-up call to reflect on what you're doing, consider the alternatives, and point in a different direction.

More often than not, I've discovered that my body knew better and that by changing lanes that discomfort not only disappeared but gave away to something better.

Sometimes, it's better to listen to that discomfort and look for alternatives, for better ways of doing things, or just for better things to do.

Thiago Fontes