Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable


  • Author Valerie-Irene Duebell
  • Published April 10, 2023
  • Word count 1,071

In the offset of AI disruption, what is the most important human skillset in the next 30 years?

Being comfortable with being uncomfortable.

While listening to another podcast featuring #yuvalnoahharari, he made an interesting point that, for the first time in human history, we are unable to predict the most critical set of skills needed for our kids to succeed in the next 20-30 years. Throughout history, people have always been able to predict what they needed to teach their kids to survive in the near future. It is the first time in human development that we genuinely do not know. We question if our current education system prepares them for what is to come with the rapid development of AI and BioTech. This thought-provoking idea made me think that although it's impossible to predict all the skills that will be necessary, two skills will undoubtedly be essential:

  1. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. The ability to quickly adapt to new situations and resilience.

  2. Social skills. Something that, unfortunately, is drastically declining in younger generations who are growing up amidst technological development. “My simple rule is, if you’re looking at your device more than you’re looking in somebody’s eyes, you’re doing the wrong thing — just very simple,” said the Apple CEO, #timcook. Social skills are vital skills that machines cannot easily replace.

I this article I want to dive deep into the first one:

Rapid technological development is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it dramatically improves our lives and helps us live healthier and longer. On the other hand, it does make us too comfortable and complacent. We do have a natural tendency to seek comfort in all aspects of our lives, including our physical environment, intellectual pursuits, and social interactions. We shy away from discomfort at every turn, even though it's through adversity that we learn and grow the most. In the 21 century, humans have access to more comforts than humanity ever had before.

But is it really good for us? Every single one of us knows that we develop physical strength, expertise, and mental resilience only through strenuous exercise, hard work, or putting in time and effort into developing the chosen skill set. Although comfort may feel good in the moment, it can have a detrimental effect on our long-term health and well-being.


It is scientifically proven that our body has the remarkable ability to rebuild and renew itself in response to various stressors, such as exposure to extreme temperatures, fasting, and exercise. However, in today's sedentary lifestyle, where everything is just a click away, we often don't move enough to provide our bodies with these necessary stressors.

  1. Fasting is one of the stressors that can trigger a process called autophagy, which is essential for maintaining cellular health. During autophagy, our cells break down and recycle damaged proteins and organelles, reducing inflammation and improving insulin sensitivity.

  2. Exposure to cold or hot temperatures is another way to activate our body's stress response and improve our health. For instance, taking an ice bath therapy or cryotherapy can trigger a process called hormesis, which refers to the body's adaptive response to mild stress.

  3. Similarly, saunas can also stimulate hormesis by exposing our body to high temperatures, which can lead to an increase in heat shock proteins, a reduction in inflammation, and improved cardiovascular health.

In summary, these stressors trigger essential processes such as autophagy and hormesis that can promote healthy aging, reduce inflammation, and improve our overall well-being.


The comfort of staying within our familiar bubble can lead us to live in a filter bubble, where algorithms feed us one-sided realities that reinforce our existing similarity and proximity biases. It's not just our bodies that benefit from discomfort - our brains do too. Contrary to an old belief, scientific research has shown that our minds continue to develop and change throughout our lives, rather than reaching a point of maturity in youth and then remaining static as we age. Neuroscience has proven that our brains have neuroplasticity, which means they are capable of developing new neural pathways throughout our lives. They develop when we learn new things, open ourselves to new experiences, think outside the box, and step out of our comfort zones.

Maintaining a growth mindset is the key.

So, how can we cultivate a growth mindset and embrace discomfort? Here are a few tips:

  1. Embrace new experiences: Try something new every week, whether it's a new food, activity, or hobby. This will keep your brain active and engaged and help you discover new passions and interests.

  2. Get out of your comfort zone: Challenge yourself by trying something different, and expose yourself to people who think, live, and do things differently from you. The more you push yourself, the more you'll grow.

  3. Discover yourself. Be it through meditation, mindfulness, or whatever works for you individually. When you encounter discomfort, instead of trying to avoid it, notice it, name it, work with it, and accept it as an experience, try to observe your discomfort without judgment.

  4. Learn about your biases; they block you from growth. As the saying goes, 'if you have a brain, you have a bias.' It's important to understand your own biases and actively work to address them. Expose yourself to different opinions and ways of thinking, and give them a fair chance.

The more inclusive we are, the greater the diversity of experiences and expertise we bring to the table, the greater success we will be able to achieve.

Additional Information:

*Autophagy: Autophagy is a cellular process that plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and function of our body's cells. The word autophagy comes from the Greek words "auto," meaning self, and "phagein," meaning to eat. It refers to the process by which cells break down and recycle their own components.

During autophagy, cells engulf and digest their own damaged or unnecessary organelles, proteins, and other cellular debris, turning them into energy or building blocks for new cellular components. This process allows cells to maintain their internal balance, remove toxins and pathogens, and adapt to changes in their environment.

  • Hormesis: Hormesis is a biological phenomenon that refers to the beneficial effects of exposure to low levels of stress. In other words, the idea that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. The concept of hormesis has been observed in a wide range of biological systems, from bacteria to humans.

Valerie-Irene Duebell. An executive with over 20 years’ of extensive international business experience in the IT industry with functional expertise in Sales, Alliances, Operations, Customer Success in Data Centers, Cloud & Edge, Hyperscalers, Digital Transformation, SaaS, SAP, Consulting & Managed Services, BI, AI technologies.

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