In a genuinely beautiful letter to his daughter Yolande, Sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois extolled the virtues of being uncomfortable.
Yolande was headed to a new school halfway around the world from the neighborhood and people she knew. It was years before girls had the right to vote, and decades before the Civil Rights Movement.
Du Bois knew she would have more than a few fish-out-of-water moments. Instead of trying to shield her from them, he asked her to revel in them:
Don’t shrink from new experiences and custom. Take the cold bath bravely. Enter into the spirit of your big bed-room. Enjoy what is and not pine for what is not. Read some good, heavy, serious volumes just for discipline: Take yourself in hand and master yourself. Stimulate yourself do unpleasant things, so as to gain the upper hand of your soul. Above all remember: your father loves you and believes in you and expects you to be a wonderful woman.”
I am no W.E.B. Du Bois. I have neither his fortitude nor his stunning style with words. What I do have, however, is a small history of uncomfortable experiences that have made me stronger, and an endless sea of animated GIFs through which to show those experiences.
Here are a handful of uncomfortable situations in which you should take De Bois’ advice and “Take the cold bath bravely.” You’ll be better off as a result.
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15 Uncomfortable Things That Will Make You More Successful
Brace yourself. It’s about to get awkward.
1) Learning to Take a Compliment
Source: Reaction GIFs
Tell me if this sounds familiar: You work exceedingly hard. You’ve sharpened your abilities. You know when you’ve done great work and take a quiet pride in it. And yet, the moment person verbalizes it in the form of a compliment you can’t seem to string two words together. Instead, you revert into one of the following:
The babbling-response. The self-deprecating answer. The total and complete blackout. Realize that someone is paying you a compliment. Let them finish. Seriously, let them finish. Take a breath. Smile and say “Thank you. That’s really good to hear.” Move on in the conversation. Don’t over-explain. Don’t undercut yourself. Just thank them sincerely and move on with a question about how their work is going.