I spent last winter studying for a professional certification exam, and all that work has paid off: I passed.

In setting myself on this goal, I focused on the idea that this was a next step. I wanted to prove myself worthy and capable. And, to a certain extent, I do find myself more confident in my career, knowledge, and fundamental aptitude for this work.

The process of studying ate my life: it was 20 extra hours per week, more or less, culminating in two weeks of vacation time spent studying 8 hours a day in the final lead up to The Exam. For me, this was solitary time – a particular kind of necessary discomfort for an extrovert. And that discomfort is important.

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I’ve been listening to podcasts lately, and a particular statement has been rattling around in my mind. The interviewee in this case stated that you only grow when you are uncomfortable. To a certain extent, this makes sense to me: to cliche all over you, if you want what you never had, you have to do what you’ve never done. Ahem.

At the same time, it seems to me that this type of creative discomfort must be layered over a base of comfort. To put it another way, you can’t climb the ladder of creativity without first planting it on Maslow’s third or fourth landing.

– Abe

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