I read a lot of books each year. On average around 40 or so for the last decade. To some people that isn’t a lot, but to 99% of the rest of the world, it is a massive amount. Out of those 40 books each year, I would guess about two-three will actually be compiling enough for me to write about here on my website. This happens to be one of the books that makes the cut.
Since around 2014 or so, I started taking my highlights from a book and putting them in my journal, and then ultimately the really good books will make it here on my blog. I am not sure how many book summaries I have done over the years, but if you have an interest let me know and I can share all of them with you.
The Comfort Crisis, Embrace Discomfort to Reclaim your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self was a great book for me to read right now. I am looking for ways to challenge myself to increase my productivity and results in a lot of different areas in my life.
As I mentioned before, if I am reading 40 books a year, many times, I will read several books in a row around a certain theme or topic. It could be business, marketing, sales, or personal development, emotional intelligence, political at times, etc.
Right now, the theme is self discipline and self control. Not that I don’t have these two things. But I am trying to determine ways to have even more.
Comfort Crisis, gave be a lot of things to think about.
Michael Easter, the author of the book brilliantly lays out why the human species and definitely Americans are more comfortable than ever before, and how discomfort has always made us better in every aspect of life. In the modern comfortable world we live in today, we no longer have very many discomforts.
A few takeaways:
Problem Creep: The author lays out some compelling data around this topic. Problem creep is the fact that as we experience fewer problems in our life, we don’t get more satisfied. We instead just lower our threshold for what we consider a problem and thus we think we have more problems. We end up with the same amount of (so called) problems, except now they are more shallow.
Turn on the news and you will see this on a daily basis. Or go to twitter if you wish, but everybody is either offended, wants to be offended, or was offended by something.
Do hard things: They have two rules around this topic.
1. It must be really fucking hard.
2. You can’t die.
Really fucking hard means, there must be at least a 50% chance you could fail.
This one really got me thinking about when is the last time I did something really hard? Where I could actually fail? And quite frankly I am not sure. Most of the stuff I do that is hard, I have done before. Maybe, I am looking for a better time during a certain workout or run, but do I have a chance of failing? Probably not.
It also hit on the fact that when it comes to working out nowadays many of us don’t actually do anything really hard. Sure working out is hard, but we now do it in a controlled air conditioned environment, with weights that are perfectly balanced, we have the softest shoes you could possibly run in on the most cushioned treadmills. How hard is it?
So it has me thinking about how can I make things harder and do things that will make me uncomfortable.
Smart Phones: The author says that boredom was removed from the human species forever in 2007 with invention of the smart phone. We no longer have the benefits of being bored. We have this phone with us all of the time. The author cites research that shows Americans are picking up their phones 2,617 time a day on average. With the average person spending 2 hours and 30 minutes a day staring at a small screen.
He said if you live an additional 60 years, you would spend 7 hours staring at your phone.
This was mind blowing to me when you put it in this context.
I am like most people and I see my screen time that my phone sends me on a weekly basis. It is something that I have been conscious about, and have done some things to minimize my time on my phone. But I am going to make it a point to do even more to prevent myself from being on my phone so much.
Also, the fact that we are never really bored, we are less creative because we are always stimulated, most likely by something that really isn’t of any value to us. Do you really need to know the news of the day all day long.
Eating: We all know this, but our ancestors didn’t have readily available food like we do now. They actually had to hunt for their food. And when they killed it, or found it, they would then have to carry all of that food back to wherever they were living.
Nowadays we have so many comforts around food, and I can’t say the last time I actually forced myself to be really hungry.
One of the big takeaways for me from this book is to force myself to eat less a few times a week and actually feel discomfort around not eating. The health benefits around this are well documented. I know many people talk about fasting for 12-16 hours. I do it pretty frequently as well. But I want to force myself in to even longer fasts and cleanses.
Luck: One of the last takes I really liked in this book that the author briefly talks about is the fact that I am alive and how lucky I really am.
The stat in the book says this: The odds of being alive is 1 in 10 to the 2,685,000 power. I am not a mathematician, but that is a lot. Secondly, he talks about the average lifspean of a human in 1900 was 31 years of age. Today, across the world it is 72.
And lastly, the fact that I was born in America is another blessing.
I think, I already knew how lucky I was to be born at this time, in this country. But it was a great reminder for me.
As I mentioned these are just a few of my notes of things that jumped out to me in the book. I highly encourage you to read it.
To your success and your future.