Being Comfortable in The Discomfort

Many people feel uncomfortable when facing something unfamiliar, whether it's a new job, a new place, or even a new social media app.

Sometimes I feel it, too.

Don't get me wrong, I love new
experience. I just hate the fact that unfamiliarity means I have more risk to fail.

When I heard that I get assigned to work in China, I was really excited. It's my dream to experience living and working abroad. That's why when I landed in Shanghai, it feels like the dream comes true. On the other side, the nightmare came true, too.

At work, I'm assigned in Organization Development Team, handling 5 projects in 6 months. Both position and assignments are different compare with what I did in Indonesia. Not to mention, the people and culture are different, too. At one point it felt like I worked less efficient because I need time to learn and adapt.

Outside work, it's also different. On my first few days, a waiter in a small restaurant gave up to serve me due to language barrier. A cashier got mad at me because I paid less than the price (because I didn't understand). There were days where the weather gave me headache, literally.

Many things are different for me, both at work and outside work. Sure, it's not comfortable - but of course I wouldn't just let myself dive into stress. 

So what did I do?

At work, my main challenge is time. I need time to learn about my assignments. I need time to know the people and the way of work in the new office. I extended my work hours and put more focus. I went to the office earlier and went home later so I have more time to compensate my slower work. I created daily and weekly to-do-list to organize my work. I learn techniques to improve focus.

Sometimes it didn't work. Sometimes I spent more time than I expected. I'm not at my best yet, but I'm progressing, and it improves within time. I believe I can get back to my faster working pace soon.

Outside work, I tried to be more courageous. I kept in mind that it is okay to fail. The risk is not really matters. What's the worst that can happen? With that mindset, I explore places. I went to massage. I went to cinema. I went to street restaurant. I went to barbershop. I purposely go to places with no English speaking person inside.

I 'failed' several times but it is okay. I had a haircut and it was way too short. I ordered online taxi then jumped in the wrong car. It's not a big deal. At least I had the experience and can do better next time.

I read an article about this. By challenging yourself to be in uncomfortable situation, actually we are expanding our comfort zone. This is how people can learn and grow.

Compare to my first week, now I'm much more comfortable living & working here in China. Now I can deliberately face the unfamiliarity. Now I understand that it's a good thing, not something to be worry about.

Here's to being comfortable in the discomfort!


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