Why Getting Comfortable With Discomfort Is Crucial To Success

Erfien's Blog

Why Getting Comfortable With Discomfort Is Crucial To Success

In an increasingly competitive, cautious and accelerated world, those who are willing to take risks, step out of their comfort zone and into the discomfort of uncertainty will be those who will reap the biggest rewards.

When I first left my parents’ small farm at eighteen to move to “the city” for college, I was part terrified, part excited, and completely outside my comfort zone. As I found then, and have countless times in the years since, no worthwhile aspiration can be accomplished from within our comfort zone. Only in giving up the security of the known can we create new opportunity, build capability and expand our ability to build influence and optimise the value we contribute. As we do, we expand the perimeter of our ‘Courage Zone’ and our tolerance for taking on bigger challenges in the future.


It’s a…

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Yes, man.



Ok, Yes Man was a pretty stupid movie— but I believe it communicates a value that is fundamental to career and personal growth.

Jim Carrey is secretly Tony Robins, showing us all how to live the best and most ridiculous lives. And showing us a hilarious truth:

if you don’t say yes, you will never grow.

Saying no is easy. A lot of people say no to opportunities that will challenge them or force them out of the comfort zones. This goes back to our biology, we are hard wired for survival and safety which often comes with familiarity. The unfortunate truth is, if you are always saying no, you are not giving yourself the opportunity to learn (which often comes from failure).

If you are looking for an easy life hack, just spend today saying yes. Say yes to new projects, concerts, ideas and let new people in to your life.

Comfort will…

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What Is The Most You Can Do For You?

“What is the most I can do for Me?” 

There’s only 4 days left to the 4th month of this year. The next 8 months will go by in a blink. Let’s pause and think “What is the most I can do for me?” in 2013?

What is the price you’re willing to pay to achieve your dream? What dreams do you have? A dream body? A job with a salary you’ve been dreaming about? A life you have occasionally dreamed for yourself?

Whatever it is, today the question that’s coming to me in the middle of the afternoon is, “What is the most I can do for Me?”  

It’s a Saturday. I want to be anywhere but home!

But I’ve made a wish. One of which is making X amount in a month so the writing jobs keep pouring in and I’ve said YES to them all and this is the price I have to pay… As usual, I booked a flight to Procrastination instead!

To be honest, I’m thoroughly enjoying the detour.

All afternoon, it’s like I hopped on a crazy tuk-tuk ride, whisked to all the gem spots hidden in plain sight. I’ve been here many times. It’s like my own secret garden but each time it feels different. Especially today…

…that’s when I counted. 31 Days… 4 weeks 3 Days to be exact, since the Inception of the Idea for a future project. That got me a little curious.

How is a baby like at 4 weeks?

“At this point the baby is developing the structures that will eventually form his face and neck. The heart and blood vessels continue to develop. And the lungs, stomach, and liver start to develop. A home pregnancy test would show positive.” – Development at 4 weeks, WebMD.

In other words, I spent the whole afternoon home alone, grounded, researching my idea. Throughout this process, I am aware of the discomfort I am struggling with, too. Always at the back of my mind, I am thinking of so and so, aching for more time with friends, missing so and so and feeling the pain of this and that. I crave for the comfort of a distraction! But a talk I was listening to on Friday came back to mind:

“Are you willing to pay the price? You’ve got to be willing to pay the price… The beautiful thing about Sacrifice… Sacrifice isn’t losing, Sacrifice is gaining… Sacrifice is giving up something of a lower nature to receive something of a higher nature… You see what you’re doing is you’re making a space for the good that you desire…” – Bob Proctor.

As my Idea develops by the days and weeks and months, one of the price I must be willing to pay eventually, is to leave my comfort zone.

“It’s nice to get a paycheque every month,” my friend pointed out.

“I’ve always been freelancing the past 4 years, so I’ve always been earning. And now I’m still freelancing on top of my regular job. So It’s nice to get a double income on top of my regular income…”

But there and then, I knew that he had called my bluff. My defence only made it clearly so. After living without the security of a regular income for 4 years, it IS nice, getting a regular pay every month. It IS easy money.

It feels like I’ve been on a working holiday but the days of fun are quickly drawing to an end. My eyes have been set on a bigger prize, and the way there, is not easy. I’ve signed on for the adventure that it promises to be–the challenges and obstacles to overcome and the greater reward it holds. The question is, am I willing to sacrifice and pay the price?

I guess that’s why out of the blue, something a friend said, came back to mind. “That is the most I can do for you.”

But I am hearing it in a different way today. When I wanted to distract myself with food, but chose not to, I heard, “That is the most I can do for you.” By choosing not to binge, that is the most I can do for myself.

I wanted to make plans to go out. By choosing to commit to a deadline and finishing a work I’ve promised to hand in, that is the most I can do for myself–and my client. I felt tempted to message a possible admirer. By choosing not to use someone as an emotional crutch or for attention even when it’s offered willingly, that is the most I can do for me–and him.

By choosing to pay the price… that is the most I can do for me… for you.

I guess this is another way to “Love your neighbour, AS YOURSELF.”

It begins with Me. “What is the most I can do for Me?” 

ps: It’s only after finishing this post that it became clear why this song was ringing in my head all day. It’s from the Korean drama “That Winter The Wind Blows.” I’m now at this episode where it’s getting more and more evident that the guy is willing to sacrifice his reputation and forsake an easy way out for The Reason worth living and dying for. He’s no angel. But he’s now willing to pay the price…

*Sunday Update: I love how this question “What is the most I can do for me?” is taking me forward. I’m finally doing something MORE about the pain from a weak core! Just discovered an awesome Pilates based core workout on youtube by Kristy Lee Wilson, a Cirque du Soleil Performer and Personal Trainer. Can’t wait to get a mat on Monday to try it out!

What’s the most you have done for yourself this weekend? I’m sure you’re worth it!

Care to share?





“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

“Believe In A Love That Is Stored Up For You Like An Inheritance.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

Today, if you’re tired from the pain, anger, struggle and sorrow. If you’re longing for peace and quiet, in the midst of the noise, conflicts, and anxieties that are stirring up a storm within. Return to an awareness, of Love. Return to the Resting place of Love, within you.

Return to a knowing that there’s a wealth of Love stored up for you like an inheritance. Draw from this Love that resides within you.

Enter into a moment of silence and stillness. You can do this anywhere, anytime, by cultivating an Awareness. Listen in. Can you hear Love’s invitation to you, from within? “Rest your bones with me. Take all your tired and weary sighs, and rest your bones with Me.”

“Bones and ashes… bones and ashes… one day, I’ll be bones and ashes…

That’s the thought that crossed my mind, as I took a quiet walk through the showroom upstairs, where urns of crystal jades or biodegradable orbs are displayed like a private collection of exotic pots and prized vases.

As a writer, it’s important for me to get a feel of this place. It’s my client’s business afterall. My colleagues are downstairs having a meeting in Mandarin. For the millionth time, I wished I could comprehend the language. But for now, I am free to explore this building on my own.

As a centre of funeral and bereavement care, I think they’ve done a commendable job. The attention to details, aesthetics, and ambience, are thoughtfully combined to create a serene atmosphere for the grieving.

“Bones and ashes… bones and ashes… one day, I’ll be bones and ashes…

The chandeliers above and the orchids in the corner creates a sense of beauty and familiarity, like you’ve walked into a living room from an I.D magazine, and yet, the mahagony casket with ‘The Last Supper’ finishing or the solid bed of bronze reminds you that this is a departure lounge.

I think about regrets… and how one day it won’t matter anymore. One day, I’ll be bones and ashes… This pain… anger… struggle… sorrow… all that noise churning up a storm within… one day, it will all be quiet.

One day, all these will pale in comparison to Having Loved and Being Loved. But somedays, sometimes, it gets hard to believe that love is all.

“I feel like I have nothing… I am nothing,” said a friend once.

Her words are not hers alone. I am all too familiar with that feeling and I believe the same fear is quietly weighing on the hearts of many. Over the years, I’ve been tracing this fear and feelings of insignificance back to my false assumptions of what Love and Happiness should look and be like.

Loosing that attachment to the appearances of things, and being open to Love as it presents itself in all its ways and form have been liberating.

The truth is, right here, right now, we have Everything because of Love.

This Love,

is in us to grow, is for us to live, and is ours to gift as we choose.

The daily challenge is for us to come into remembrance of our inheritance.

“Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.” – Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet.




“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

430th heart

1000 Hearts

430for all those who loved heart 92

the waters got a little rougher xx

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There Is No Loss In Love… Only Gain

It is said that Pain is the glue that connects us all.

Lately I’ve been feeling the pain of loss… and loosing sleep and appetite over it.

I know the importance of allowing ourselves to feel what we feel instead of numbing it… but today, it got a bit much. So happy hour started a little bit early while at work.

“You’re trying to numb the pain… You’re not supposed to numb your pain… Feel it… What are you learning from it?” says my inner voice.

I didn’t care much for learning today… I just wanted that feeling to go away… but by the end of the can, nothing’s changed.

The moment I stopped fighting it and acknowledged I’m plain miserable… the Lesson presented itself.

With every loss, there is a gain…

You gain a greater sense of appreciation for what you’ve had in the past and what you’ve got in the present…

Sometimes, it may seem too late…

But in truth, it’s never too late to feel gratitude.

Lately, the words of a friend from the past, “This is the most I can do for you…” and the words of a friend in the present, “I hope I can be a perennial herb to you…” are ringing in my heart and my head.

Who am I?

Why do people even think about what is the most they can do for me?

Have I ever thought about what is the most I can do for others?

To be honest, I can’t remember if I ever have…

It’s easy to say I’m selfish and it’s true I am…

…but I’ve also been learning about self-love and self-compassion. So I want to remind myself that sometimes the best things we do for others come so naturally and unselfconsciously that we’re unaware of it.

Maybe I’ve been that kind of friend for someone to deserve this kind of kindness… Or maybe it’s not that I’m deserving of it but that  I’ve been so blessed to have such a person in my life. Either way, unconditional love means that I am free to receive love without having to repay in kind…

At the end of the day, it’s not about me… It’s that the other person asked the question, “What is the most I can do for you?” and then acted on it.

What a beautiful way of being and living… By that person’s example, I can now choose to ask the same question and do the same for others…

As for my friend who wants to be my perennial herb… lol. That is one of the sweetest most craziest thing a person has ever said to me. I love it.

“Perennial means plants that live forever ever given the right conditions,” she said. “Yea. I’m familiar with perennial cos I had to research it for my client… They’re super hardy and resilient…” I said.

I’m blessed with good friends… some of which I’ve come to appreciate, too late. But they’ll always be in my heart, and as V once said, “that’s a very good place to stay.”

ps: So happy I got to watch BIG MIRACLE on Astro last night. It’s a movie about a whole community coming together to save 3 sperm whales. But on a deeper note, it shows that animals are great teachers of Love, too…

I think the timing of the movie couldn’t have been any more perfect. Just earlier, I shared a video on The Love Culture. It’s of this kitten and dolphin, showing us that love is everywhere, even in the deep blue sea.

Enjoy the vid. 😉

pps: Have you experienced loss lately? How did you deal with pain? Did you gain something from the experience? Let’s share and grow together. I’ll like to hear and learn from you. Drop comments below.




“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

To Be Alive Is To Be Broken

In honour and memory of Brennan Manning… He left us on Friday April 12, 2013.


“I want to be like you,” she said. I know what it’s like to be like me, so I said, “No.

Be yourself. If you get to know all of me, you might be disappointed.”

The ever so subtle inflection in her eyes, from bright admiration to the darkening clouds of questions and doubt were not lost on me.

But that’s the truth–both my response and her reaction. 🙂

“A third characteristic of the tilted-halo gang is honesty. We must know who we are…

Once we accept the gospel of grace and seek to shed defence mechanisms and subterfuges, honesty becomes both more difficult and more important.

Honesty involves the willingness to face the truth of who we are, regardless of how threatening or unpleasant our perceptions may be.

It means hanging in there with ourselves and with God, learning our mind tricks by experiencing how they defeat us…

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Lessons On Living From The Dying And The Dead

As I was posting my thoughts on this quote, “What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it”, mom walks by. She tells me that the grandfather who was hospitalised recently had just passed away.

“Oh,” I kept typing and writing.

Lately, she’s been receiving so many of such news. So and so got hit and mugged and hospitalised and is in coma. So and so fell down and is in coma. So and so suddenly passed on. And the list goes on.

It’s not what I’d like to hear first thing in the morning, but I guess there isn’t a “good time” to share these kind of things so it can’t be helped.

But to be honest, when she first broke the news, I wasn’t surprised and I wasn’t moved. Maybe I’m numbed by it all but a few seconds was all it took for me to realise I’m being selfish.

When the awareness of my attitude hit me, I paused what I was doing.

Mom was already halfway down the stairs when I responded more to the news. He is Jeffery’s father, and we see them at church most Sundays.

I don’t even know his name… All I remember is that I saw him sitting alone by the pillar once and served him Chinese tea. His whole face lighted up from that simple gesture and I remember his smiling eyes.

I wonder if that’s the reason why I got an Ang Pow from him this year? When I bumped into him at the car park I thanked him and he was all smiles and laughs again. He is such a joyful person.

I cannot remember what we said for that few seconds, but the point is that we connected briefly before he left.

Ironically, earlier this morning, I grabbed a book to read, and of all books, it was Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. It’s about a young man recording the last dying moments of an old man–and the lessons learnt.

A passage caught my eye.

“…he refused to be depressed. Instead, Morrie had become a lightning rod of ideas. He jotted down his thoughts on yellow pads, envelopes, folders, scrap paper. He wrote bite-sized philosophies about living with death’s shadow:

“Accept what you are able to do and what you are not able to do”; “Accept the past as past, without denying it or discarding it”; “Learn to forgive yourself and to forgive others”. “Don’t assume that it’s too late to get involved.”

More than an Ang Pow, that is The Grandfather’s gift to me today.

Lessons on living.

It’s the simple things–like serving an elderly a cup of tea–that fills a heart with Joy. Take the time to notice them–all they want is to be noticed. They don’t ask for much. Are they not worth our time?

“Give me a second…” this silent request is in the eyes of every living being. Who are you noticing today? Who are you acknowledging?

Today, I want to remember to notice what I’m noticing… To be more present to the people around me and acknowledge their presence in my life… Sometimes, all it takes is just a few seconds–those few seconds can mean so much more when I let others be a part of it. 

Right now, in my mind’s eye, I can still see his smiling eyes. What a Gift.

Every second of your life matters. Who are you sharing it with today?




“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture