Personal Experiment 6: Learning to be Comfortable with Discomfort (Mental Strengthening Edition)

Xue Zing
5 min readJul 20, 2021
Image from Unsplash by Samuel Conor

Personal Experiment 4 of overcoming stress/anxiety and Personal Experiment 3 of becoming comfortable with discomfort did not meet their main goals.

I didn’t want to give up so easily on those two ideas.

So, one day, while I was journaling, I happened to use the concept of idea combination from Personal Experiment 5 on these two ideas.

There was a type of environment that could stimulate mental stress and discomfort at the same time.

Physical competitions.

Then I put myself into the equation, just what physical type of competitions could I participate in?

Awareness of the issue,

For this experiment, the awareness of the issue stemmed from not giving up the ideas of the previous experiments.

I realized that I could redesign experiments with different processes but with the same ideas or goals.

Some could even be combined and new thoughts or ideas could be formed.

After all, different processes lead to different results.

So in this case, being comfortable with discomfort and controlling stress and anxiety.

I decided to follow the concept of exposure therapy this time in this experiment.

Therefore, the inputs needed to be controllable as well to a certain extent.

Goal Setting

After analyzing my skills and current lifestyle, I decided to join table tennis competitions.

This was due to a few factors

  1. I have been training in the sport for almost 10 years (But I wasn’t a very good player)
  2. The city where I was at that time, Melbourne, had a decent amount of people playing that sport.
  3. There were quite a few competitions organized throughout the year that were easily accessible by public transport.
  4. I didn’t have to spend a lot of money since I could reuse my old equipment

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Xue Zing

Writing about thought provokers that go against conventional self-help