The next few days will present us with an interesting contrast. On the one hand, Christmas is only a few days away, and that is traditionally the happiest and most joyous occasion of the year. The end of perhaps the most miserable and uncomfortable year in living memory will arrive shortly thereafter. On the other hand, the coming year promises to be even worse in many respects than what we just endured.
The future is hugely uncertain. Governments around the world have shown that they can, and absolutely will, destroy economies, businesses, and lives at a moment’s whim. And they will do so in the name of “stopping” a disease that the best estimates tell us has a higher than 99% survival rate if you are under the age of 60 and have no real medical problems. Already the government in PommieBastardLande, led by the completely feckless and incompetent Boris the Floppy-Haired Labradoodle, has completely upended the lives of the entire population. Promises broken. Families torn apart. Entire swathes of the economy laid waste. And all in the name of a disease that appears to be only slightly worse than a really bad seasonal flu – and behaves rather the same way.
Brought Low by Love of Comfort
In such situations it is quite tempting to imagine that these times are unprecedented and extraordinary. This is incorrect and foolish short-term thinking. The reality is that we have spent decades in an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity. And that era was built on illusions. And we are now paying the price for our folly.
Do not mistake my words. I do NOT for one single moment claim that the suffering and death caused by the Kung Flu is in any way justified by past actions. It absolutely is not. This is a horrible disease that leaves lasting damage on many of the people it infects. Tens of thousands of people around the world are struggling with aftereffects that will last for quite probably the rest of their lives.
Here I specifically mean that for the past 30 years we have fooled ourselves into believing that the march of progress is ever upwards. We deceived ourselves into thinking that life will get easier over time. And we did not learn the lessons from history that are so neatly summed up in the graphic above. That is one of my absolute favourite memes, simply because of the unshakeable truth at its core.
This love of comfort has made fools of men – yourself, and myself, included. We have become far too attached to material things. In the process, we have often lost sight of the things that truly matter. Faith, freedom, and family are all considered secondary aspects of our lives far more often than many of us would care to admit.
If 2020 has taught us one truly harsh and necessary lesson, it is this:
Do not get too comfortable. Everything that you have can AND ABSOLUTELY WILL be taken from you before you have time to catch your breath.
What is “Too Much Comfort”?
Here we must make a careful and clear distinction. Before I explain why comfort makes you weak, we must first understand what comfort actually is.
Comfort, as a noun, has a number of possible meanings. Here are two.
The first meaning is material in nature. It involves seeking out things that ease the ardours of life and relax the body and mind. But the second is entirely spiritual. That is the kind of comfort that comes only from hope, faith, and love.
The first kind is good, in reasonable amounts. Most all of us, however, are guilty of seeking TOO MUCH of it. You MUST learn to avoid addiction to comfort. If you do not learn this, it will be your undoing.
We should seek out things which give our souls and spirits relief. The world is a very harsh, destructive, terrible, and twisted place. It will destroy you if you let it. Fighting against its corruption is hard and tiring. Take rest where you can from what you can.
But do not grow complacent and do not make the pursuit of physical and mental comfort your sole objective in life – or you will end up like I did. I’m living proof that love of comfort destroys a man’s ability to adapt and grow.
Heed the Warning Signs
As I usually do in these articles, I will try to teach you lessons from my own life, so that you can avoid repeating my mistakes.
Most of you already know how I lost my job in the USA and had to leave. If you’ve kept up with my work, you will know that the subsequent 2.5 years have been filled with a lot of pain, suffering, regret, and misery.
With hindsight, I can see the reason why I lost my job: I got complacent. I was in a role that I enjoyed, working in a part of the organisation where I felt at home. And I was a respected, sought-after expert in my field. I was able to set my own hours – which were quite long anyway, since I worked harder than anyone else in my group.
The warning signs were there for months. My team’s management changed and a colleague of mine stepped in to take over. I’d gotten along with him very well for years as a colleague. But once he became my actual manager, I realised very quickly that he and I were not going to get along due to our diametrically opposed personalities.
I had opportunities to escape, and I didn’t take them because I was happy where I was. My life was comfortable and my sense of loyalty to my peer group overwhelmed my desire to leave – because things didn’t feel quite so urgent.
I paid a severe price for my lack of foresight. Understand this: when you get too comfy where you are – look out, because that is life will come along to knock you out colder than a wet mackerel.
Comfort Makes You Slow and Stupid
I’ll give you a more recent example as well. In the coming days, I will soon leave the old country to start up a course of studies in PommieBastardLande. Yes, the very country that I roundly mock and deride, is exactly where I’m going myself. Feel free to call me a hypocrite and a fool in the comments below.
More seriously, I’m leaving for a very simple reason: I have no choice. If I want to rebuild my life, I have to make some changes. I have clear goals in life: to be baptised, to marry my lady, to father children with her, and to secure non-shitty citizenship. None of that will happen unless I move my ass.
I started this process months ago, beginning with my application for a student visa. I got that and then began the induction process for my course. But as time wore on, I couldn’t muster the courage and desire to book my flights and accommodations for my transition out to the UK.
Why? What was so difficult about making a flight and hotel booking? How could someone who takes cold showers and deadlifts 200Kg for fun, have a tough time making some simple bookings?
On reflection, I realised it was because I became too comfortable, yet again.
Complacency is Your Enemy
Life here has been good overall. I realised long ago that I don’t really need much to be happy. As long as I have food on the table, a gym nearby, books to read, an internet connection to allow me to write and learn, and a decent room in which to sleep, I’m happy as a clam.
On top of that, my relationship with my family had improved significantly after a serious rocky patch earlier this year. And the weather in the old country is actually borderline pleasant from mid-October to mid-February. That’s the only time in the year when life is actually bearable and you can enjoy walking on the roads.
So life was, and is, good. And the thought of tearing myself away from it, to face real uncertainty about the future in a totally new city, was terrifying.
It shouldn’t have been. I’ve proven repeatedly over the past few years that I can move and adapt rapidly when I have to. But I had become too comfortable, yet again.
I needed to make a change. So one day I simply told myself, “enough!” – and made my bookings.
This was hard – emotionally wrenching, in fact. But the die was cast, the decision made. And as a result, my burdens lightened. I ceased to worry, for I have committed to a course of action.
Now the only way is forward.
How to Overcome Your Love of Comfort
Here are a few things that you can do right now to figure out whether you are addicted to comfort or not:
1. Take Stock
Look around you. Ask yourself honestly: could you be without all of your stuff for years on end, if necessary?
I can. I have. For two years I have lived for months at a time essentially out of a single suitcase and a backpack. All of my real stuff is sitting in a storage locker in the USA. As long as I have my wallet, passport, some clothes, a knife, my laptop, my phone, and a few peripherals like headphones and a mouse, I’m mostly good. I am a good cook and a halfway decent housekeeper. Being alone doesn’t frighten me.
But that doesn’t mean I have zero attachment to things. I NEED to be around a gym, as a matter of mental as well as physical health. These are my weak points that can be exploited easily – and have been.
Many of us in the ‘Sphere advocate for minimalism. Both my friend Dawn Pine and I agree on this subject. You must not allow yourself to pursue material things to make yourself happy. That is a sure path to damnation.
2. Do Uncomfortable Things
Start incorporating uncomfortable habits into your daily routine. I’ve said for years that you should take cold showers every day. And I mean every day – including, and especially in winter. Once you start doing things that make you a bit uncomfortable every day, you will quickly realise just how much your love of comfort makes you weak.
3. Clear and Focus Your Mind
The Didactic Agoge contains a treasure trove of advice about how to focus and discipline yourself. A daily prayer rule is exceptionally useful in this regard. Take five minutes a day to pray and meditate. Focus on God’s will for you – NOT the other way around. Understand that you are here to achieve a specific task or goal. Your challenge is to divine this. I will soon write up a post to help you do precisely that.
4. Seek Out New Challenges
Learn a new language. Try a new workout plan. Take up a new hobby. Work up the courage to ask out that pretty girl over at the next table. Plan a trip to a new country. You are limited only by your fears. So start conquering them.
I’m not giving you idle advice here. I did ALL of those things that I just suggested – in the span of a few months.
When I lost my job in 2018, I happened to have a Russian multiple-entry business visa. (Long story.) In early May 2018, I realised that I would have to leave the USA. To say that I was miserable is a colossal understatement. I needed to take my mind off the immense pain and gigantic sense of loss. So I booked myself on a one-week trip to Russia, which I had already visited back in October 2017.
That trip, in early June, changed my life in ways that I’m still struggling to appreciate. I spent the next 2.5 years travelling around the world and spent a lot of time in Russia. Was that a waste of time? You could argue that it was. But the fact is that I needed to heal, and that took me a very, very long time. The pain still isn’t gone – the scars will never really fade. But after all of those experiences, some of them extremely negative, I know that I am far more prepared for new challenges.
Conclusion – Do Not Let Love of Comfort Make You Weak
The Spartans were (in)famous for their brutal training regimen. They made their induction process as hard as possible ON PURPOSE. This was not sadism. Sadistic training regimes don’t accomplish anything other than satisfying the cruel impulses of the fool that created them. The Spartan method was too calculated, too refined, and certainly far too effective. It was, in fact, deliberately designed to create the finest soldiers in the known world.
But it achieved rather more than this. It also created a class of citizens who appreciated what they had – and would defend it with their very lives.
THAT is the fundamental truth that we have lost in our pursuit for comfort. Our material things mean NOTHING. Our legacies matter far more. And above that, our duty to each other and to God Almighty matter the most.
So, if you need to heal a weary and broken body, then take it where and when you can. Do not be unduly worried about tomorrow. Today is trouble enough on its own. Do your duty to the best of your abilities every day. Work as hard as you can. Strive to do good for your loved ones.
If you seek comfort for an aching and weary spirit, your Creator will give it to you – all you need to do is ask.
Be grateful for what material comforts you have. If you see fit to add to them, then do so – but do not make the pursuit of comfort your sole aim in life. Otherwise, you will one day find yourself without comfort of any kind – and if you ignore my advice above, then on that day, you will have no idea what to do.