Hackernoon logoThe importance of discomfort and embracing unfamiliar territory when learning something new. by@jonathanpuc

The importance of discomfort and embracing unfamiliar territory when learning something new.

Jonathan Puc Hacker Noon profile picture

@jonathanpucJonathan Puc


Muscle growth occurs when you have placed intense pressure on a particular muscle to the point where the fibres are damaged or broken down. Your body begins to repair or replace these damaged fibres with thicker strands as its way of saying “Hey I see you’re challenging yourself, here’s a bit of extra firepower so next time you’re better equipped to handle it”.

This holds true in almost any other context.

The competition out there is fierce. You must prioritise continuous growth, always strive to be better than you were yesterday. And like muscle, the only way for that to occur is by challenging yourself and placing yourself in new and unfamiliar situations.

The human mind is amazing, it always looks to keep us safe. We as a species are programmed to seek familiarity and comfort, avoiding the unknown where possible, preventing us from placing ourselves in dangerous or life threatening situations. This may have been super helpful in a world with Saber-toothed tiger’s or Mammoths, but maybe not so much in this day and age. This programmed instinct may imprison us and prevent any kind of transcendence or growth.

When I first began learning programming, I would often dread coming across bugs and therefore would always opt to choose the path with least resistance. Coding or learning a concept that wasn’t as challenging to give myself a false sense of accomplishment, like I was a hero or something. To what end though? I was not only cheating myself but also hurting my chances to achieve my dream of becoming a web developer. This was the work of the programmed instinct, it understood that what I was trying to learn was no easy task and coerced me to follow a path of least resistance which was ultimately more of a detriment than anything.

I’m now at a stage where I always opt for the most advanced or challenging tasks or concepts. Knowing that when I do come across a bug or obstacle, when it is inevitably solved, I literally have become better at something and I’m one step closer to my dreams.

Whether you’re trying to become a web developer, artist, actor, writer or anything at all — embrace the fire, it is an opportunity to grow.


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