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Seek Discomfort: Say Yes to Hard

Rarely does a Youtube channel grip my chords of interest so tightly. For much of 2021, I have indulged in the adventures and philosophies of a group of contemporary creators and collaborators. In their videos, they articulate a magnitude of ideas that speak directly to the core of what I believe. Their popular channel – Yes Theory – has opened my mind to a rich tapestry of potential, to a world driven by experiences and benevolence. Their fundamental core value – to seek discomfort – has implanted a natural seed, of which I feel an insatiable drive to explore and investigate in the future.

The premise behind the Youtube Channel(now a major digital and clothing brand) follows an idea to say yes to challenges – the notion that seeking discomfort and challenging oneself leads to personal growth and development. In their videos, the young voices that feature predominantly: Thomas Brag, Ammar Kandil, and Matt Dajer, take the viewers on a plethora of uncanny adventures that challenge their characters and their willingness to say Yes. These wild adventures range capaciously in scope and breadth: spending four days in an airport; sleeping on a hammock over top the Grand Canyon, surviving 24 hours without money in a foreign country; skydiving; throwing a party in the most boring town in America; paying random strangers to leave their jobs or to travel the world with them.

The window of their adventures is quixotic and dramatically romantic and idealistic and drives fundamental truths and philosophies through their tapestry of experiences and interactions with the world. Despite not having the funds or the platform to mimic the majority of the Yes Theory stunts, I see a splendor of parallel possibilities available in the everyday landscape of everyday people. And I am inspired.

The majority of Yes Theory videos, while offering untethered entertainment value, feature quintessential themes and ideas. The first is the core of the channel and brand.

To Seek Discomfort

Every video holds this kernel as its essence – to seek discomfort. The challenges attempt to break some barrier of comfort, either physical, social, or emotional. Examples range from the unusual to the outrageous – from spending 24 hours locked in a bathroom with your friends to fasting for five days on only water. At the core of these personal challenges come the breakthroughs and realizations that come to light when discomfort arises. In exposing oneself to voluntary(or involuntary)discomfort, we achieve a general resistance to pain and uncertainty. Through practice and repetition, strength, resilience, and discipline are gained – physically, mentally, and emotionally. By seeking discomfort in small or big ways throughout the day, we aim to harden ourselves and produce confidence through positive experiences.

There exist an endless supply of challenges to undertake to help boost your situations of discomfort – discomforts also achieved in the form of abstinence from conventional pleasures.

  • Daily fasts are easily achievable, even in the workday, and will challenge your perception or relationship with comfort.
  • Using the stairs or new routes to get to places that are traditionally automatic.
  • Calling someone that you haven’t interacted with in a long time – out of the blue!
  • Walking to work or to the store instead of taking the car.
  • Volunteering to speak in front of an audience.
  • Publishing content in any format, on any medium.
  • Sleeping out in the wilderness or under the stars in the backyard.
  • Signing up for a course of something you have never tried before.
  • Abstinence from conventional sources of pleasures: social media, Netflix, food, Youtube; abstinence to routine pleasures will bring an initial wave of discomfort. (One of the videos on the Yes Theory channel follows Thomas as he unplugs from social media for 30 days. The results are life-changing. )

These represent simple ideas that will embellish my lifestyle over the year as I promise to seek discomfort in as many ways as possible. By exploring a world that lies outside of my bubble of comfort, I aim to enrich myself and my interactions with the world while developing a heightened sense of resilience and personal growth.

Positive interactions with people

While the Yes Theory brand aims primarily at seeking discomfort and challenging the individual self, near to its core lies an important message and principle. By breaking comfort with a group of people, relationships flourish and bloom. The idea is simple yet essential: A mutual struggle or discomfort allows for a tightening of friendship and appreciation for one another. (We are in this together!) The members of Yes Theory act as a sounding board for this message. Most challenges are undertaken as a group and often involve some form of interaction with strangers and people. The positivity that arises from these visceral interactions leads to heartwarming moments – humanity joining hands together for a cause.

For me, forcing myself to be around people often acts as a source of discomfort on its own. I prefer to solace of solitary. The aspect of seeking discomfort as a joined unity with others brings an additional factor of challenge. Among my first challenges to seek discomfort, I will open my hands to others and embark on bilateral journeys with the people around me.

Adventure and Travel

What initially led me into the Yes Theory world were the travel videos. These travel adventures spanned much of the globe: carnival parties in Rio, exploring Dubai’s man-made islands, being dropped in Korea without any money for 24 hours, finding lost Mayan pyramids in Guatemala, traveling through Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Sahara; once the channel had established itself as a brand, it took off and explored the world.

The principle of seeking discomfort is nearly synonymous with world travel. Regardless of style or method of exploration, traveling challenges us out of our comfort zones. In essence, traveling means visiting new and unknown places – a steadfast break from comfort.

Yes Theory articulates this synergy to perfection. Their travel videos shine a spotlight on finding discomforts when traveling and often seek countries and adventures that will further exacerbate the notion. The two come so entwined and naturally fitting. It is one of the most glamourized and sought-after appeals of travel – to seek discomfort; to explore a world that is different and challenging, new.

Seeking discomfort produces a tasty blend to serving up consistent sustenance of happiness and contentment. By encouraging a healthy melange of experiences that offer a break from the comfort and routine daily, I can quickly build up a stockpile of positive growth: resilience, endurance, tenacity, and adaptability; metrics that will enhance my character and strengthen my resolve to take chances in the future and be successful and happy in my place. Say no to easy; yes to hard!

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