Why train for productive discomfort?

Images that make you go idk

Being productively uncomfortable is vital—it’s an everyday superpower.

It lets you function and excel when others would be paralyzed, for instance when working in unfamiliar situations, or facing unpleasant ideas, or simply doing something which you don’t know how to do yet.
More than that, people need to be uncomfortable to learn and do new things. Whether in school, at work, in personal life, or in recreation, going outside the comfort zone is essential for growth. Avoiding productive discomfort causes people to miss opportunities to grow and to create and experience new things.

Developing the ability to be productively uncomfortable is hard …

We avoid discomfort because it is viscerally unpleasant. And then modern life is designed so that we rarely need to leave the comfort zone. So most of us are out of practice at recognizing our fear of discomfort and getting over it. This prevents us from doing productively uncomfortable things. So we become even less used to recognizing and dealing with fear of discomfort.

… but not impossible.

Those who manage to break this vicious cycle realize that productive discomfort is not so bad and can lead to great and unexpected things.

The idk prompt cards

Four principles for training for productive discomfort.

1: Becoming comfortable with productive discomfort requires gradually building up to it.
2: This should be done intentionally, by putting yourself in situations carefully structured to produce growth in perspective, experience, or skill.
3: You should do this repeatedly, until it feels natural.
4: And all this should be a practice you choose for yourself, not one imposed on you by others.

Training tools for productive discomfort.

idk is the first tool for training productive discomfort, and has been designed with these four principles in mind.

The how and the why of idk

Learn even more

idk is based on years of research on some of the most innovative and adaptable R&D teams working at the frontiers of food. This research was published in 2020 as a book titled The Uncertainty Mindset. It’s a behind-the-scenes travelogue of some the best restaurants in the world … that also explains how embracing uncertainty (instead of denying it) makes people and teams more effective, innovative, and adaptable — and happier too.
You can get it worldwide.

The Uncertainty Mindset