Get comfortable being uncomfortable

Find out why every creative type, including web designers, needs to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

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If you’re struggling to learn or achieve something, I’ve got news for you: the struggle’s a good thing.


It shows you care enough to get uncomfortable, to stretch yourself — to strain your brain, then find the answer and learn.

You new designers looking for a job: you’re doing same thing. You’re putting yourself into an uncomfortable position. Polishing your resume, tidying up your LinkedIn profile, creating a unique portfolio website — these aren’t walks in the park.

When you finally land that in-person interview, you’re still uncomfortable. This time because you need to start practicing your interviewing skills.

And finally, if you’re lucky enough to get the job, that uncomfortable feeling doesn’t leave. Because in those first 2 weeks at your new gig, you’re aren’t just working for that first paycheck. You’re working to show everyone that you’re the right person for the job.

See the pattern here?

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Growth is always uncomfortable

When we set a goal for ourselves and really want to achieve it, we jump right in and immediately get uncomfortable.

Why? Because getting uncomfortable is the only way to make progress.

Throughout my career, I’ve put myself in uncomfortable positions. Usually in the search for ways to improve my designs. Here are just a few examples:

  • Whenever I come across a cool website, video game UI, or sci-fi movie UI, I try to recreate it — or make something even better
  • When Macromedia Flash first came out and websites started to use it, I got competitive and thought, why can’t I make something like that? So, I bought the program and started to learn how to make simple animations.
  • When embedding videos on a webpage started to become a thing, I forced myself to learn video editing and framing techniques
  • When CSS and jQuery animations replaced animations, I knew what my next goal was. Even though JavaScript kinda scared me.

But even after learning all that, I still feel the need to do more. Because I’ve discovered that I’m happiest when I’m uncomfortable.

My next uncomfortable challenge

After going to my first web design conference (Future Insights Live, in 2013) and watching some awesome speakers, I knew what my next uncomfortable step would be.

Public speaking.

Which brings us to today. As I think back, I’m happy that I put myself in these uncomfortable positions. Each challenge helped me find new opportunities and achieve things I never thought I would achieve.

So, this week, ask yourself: how am I going keep myself uncomfortable?

Thanks for reading, and, as always, make the web beautiful.


June 20, 2016



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