Comfortably Uncomfortable

When we consider change, it’s easy to remain comfortably uncomfortable: thinking about discomfort, but remaining firmly grounded in the known. Change requires disturbance, but it’s a matter of degrees: too little, and nothing really changes, the system regains stability without moving, but too much, and the system is disaggregated and collapses. But how much is enough?

Comfortably Uncomfortable

One way to consider it is through metacognition, thinking about thinking: not just ‘cognition’, thinking about something known, but ‘metacognition’, considering how we know the thing. A deeper analysis. Consider this: many HR teams are talking about automation, robotics, the evolving nature of work, and so on. Many of the same TED talks and HBR articles are circulating. People are engaged in some kind of mass hysteria, and mass ‘safety making’ thinking, often in shallow and oft repeated narratives. This type of discomfort, the type that is made safe fast, and was never really that uncomfortable, may not be enough.

Instead, we need to deconstruct the stories we are given, carry out ‘sense making’, both individually, and within our learning communities, and decide our own collective, and individual, narratives. To do so may require us to reach beyond certainty, and into uncomfortable spaces: it may require us to be uncertain for protracted periods, and to be often wrong. Not at all comfortable.

But it’s in this discomfort that we can find the insight and value. Only by moving beyond the ‘known knowns’, and into the uncomfortably unknown spaces, even if only for a short time, can we gain insight, and learn.

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About julianstodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
This entry was posted in Change and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Comfortably Uncomfortable

  1. Gail Radecki says:

    I like the idea of entering the unknown “for a short time” – over and over again – as a strategy. If you plan (or allow) for uncomfortable periods followed by a retreat into safer territory to reflect and regroup, you could get into a healthy cycle of self-challenge and recovery.

  2. Hi Julian, I am enjoying your posts. I think you’d like Stephen Guise. He talks a lot about change and productivity and is also an exceptional writer like you. Best wishes, Tammy

    On Wed, Oct 10, 2018 at 2:06 PM Julian Stodd’s Learning Blog wrote:

    > julianstodd posted: “When we consider change, it’s easy to remain > comfortably uncomfortable: thinking about discomfort, but remaining firmly > grounded in the known. Change requires disturbance, but it’s a matter of > degrees: too little, and nothing really changes, the system re” >

  3. Pingback: ‘Safety Making’ – 9 routes to failure | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

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