Noticing the Difference between Discomfort & Pain

Being able to discern the difference between discomfort and pain is imperative for anyone seeking excellence. I first learned to differentiate them when I was an injured athlete in physical therapy. After many months of a lot of pain and a lot of discomfort, I learned to spot and appreciate the difference.

Pain is my body shouting - Stop this! You're going to injure me! Discomfort is my body shouting - Stop this! It sucks. I don't wanna.

Despite similar messages, pain sounds like a concerned parent... discomfort like a petulant toddler.

I learned that the best thing I could do was to relax and breathe into the discomfort. The more I relaxed, the more I leaned in, the faster I got better. It was really that simple.

If I tensed up, if I listened to the voice of discomfort, it was bad news. I felt even more discomfort, less progress was made and I was more likely to sustain an injury.


The same exact truth holds true with any work that stretches you.

Am I procrastinating because its painful (and I honestly need to change the situation)? Or, because I feel discomfort. I might fail... it might suck... I might get laughed at.

Pain & discomfort feel different in the mind and in the body. They feel different on a given day...

But the tone of voice stays true. Pain is a concerned parent. Discomfort is a petulant toddler.

Heed the parent. Relax and breath into the toddler. Discomfort will follow your lead.

ExcellenceRebecca Rapple