It was my 24th birthday, a day that should have been a day filled with elation.
However, I was displeased and angry, angry with myself. I guess you could say I was
having a quarter-life crisis. It had been 24 years since I made my entrance into the world
and what did I have to show for it?
Sure I received a great education and was continuing in graduate school. My
relationship with my girlfriend, family, and friends were all filled with love and support.
My job was enriching yet still challenging and I had hobbies and interests galore. And yet
this sense of discontent had washed over me and left a film of complacency that I could
not get off.
Papers and readings were piling up and being put off to the very last minute.
Work was becoming… well work and hobbies, what hobbies? The worse part was that I
was neglecting the people who meant the most to me. Each aspect of my life was taking a
toll on the next and I was left battered and unmotivated.
Life’s many demands had a firm grasp on me and had left me feeling like I would
never catch up. I was surviving instead of thriving. I was left thinking, if this was how
life is supposed to be?
Enter Stage Climbing
So on this same day that was filled with resentment and ice cream cake, I
answered a request for a volunteer opportunity with Dr. Michael Broder, on his new self-
help book, Stage Climbing. It was going to be tough to juggle another role but besides
being a masochist, I knew I could learn a lot from this experience and Dr. Broder.
However, I did not know it would be life changing.
My first assignment was to read Stage Climbing and to see how it “spoke” to me.
I immediately dove into the book, reading whenever I had some free time, which
incredibly started to become much more frequent. Each stage brought a heightened
awareness to my own hooks, or issues that were holding me back. With this new insight
into my habits and behaviors that were holding me back, I was able to modify and change
them with the help of this book.
Since then I have been able to optimize all aspects of my life an essentially thrive
at a higher level. Stage Climbing has also opened new doors and great opportunities that
I would have never pursued. What is especially exciting is the change in my mindset. I
know longer feel like I am merely surviving. I relish in tackling every new experience
and opportunity that comes my way.
The things that make me happy and fulfilled are the foundation of each and
everyday. This is not to say that I quit doing the things that were dragging me down.
Instead, I learned how to be better at them, which has opened up more opportunities
to follow my passions such as writing. Most importantly this experience has made my
life “comfortably uncomfortable.” Confused? Lets take a look at this concept and see
how it can help you optimize your life.
How many of you instantly felt like I was describing your chaotic life above?
Truth is we all struggle with some aspect of our life to a degree. Instead of listing some
common plights we face, I would like you to think of an issue that you are facing now.
Got it? Now think about what you have done to improve or change it. You might have
attempted to correct it and even succeeded at it but the effect did not last. Or maybe you
have not gotten around to addressing the problem yet. We all lie somewhere on this
The problem is we have grown comfortable with this level of functioning. My
life was overwhelming and I constantly depended on others to help me. Yet I was fine
with it for a long time. Comfortable is synonymous to complacency and complacency
is one ugly beast. What freed me from this beast was to do things that would make life
uncomfortable. It was as simple as doing things that I would put off or avoid. I would
wake up earlier to get work done, exercise, and even wash my dishes, the bane of my life.
It was a reminder that I was still living and not merely existing.
Sure it was tough at first but consistency and action breed mastery. Even more
profound is that these little successes produce a snowball effect that can tip the scales
in the favor of change and make them much more attainable. I believe that to make
progress you need to be a little uncomfortable in life. So in essence being comfortably
uncomfortable implies making a habit of constantly challenging yourself and seeking out
opportunities and experiences that will lead to lasting fulfillment.
Stage Climbing has been an invaluable tool in my journey to be the person that I
have always knew I could be and attain the life that I have always wanted. If you haven’t
yet take a few minutes some time today and imagine what that would look like for you.
What are the things that will make your life more fulfilling? What does the real you look
like? Got a picture in your head? Good. Now the only question left is:
Are you up for the challenge?
How do you plan to use Stage Climbing to achieve the life that you want? Let us know
in the comments below. We look forward to watching you grow and reach your highest
Frank LoRiggio, Guest blogger for StageClimbing.com