Cold Showers

I woke up this morning at 6am and was disheartened by the sight of frost-covered rooftops.  I don’t usually give much thought to frost, but for the last 18 days frost has continually caused me to question my life decisions.

Let me explain.  Today happened to be day 18 of taking daily ice cold showers.  I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a shower with the knob turned all the way to the right, but on a normal day the water feels ridiculously cold.  On a frosty winter day, the water feels unbearably cold … hence my dread.

That being said, the natural question to ask is why I’ve been taking ice cold showers for the last 18 days.  I could tell you it’s because my water heater is out … but that’s not the case.  I could tell you it’s because I read a BuzzFeed article about the proven benefits of increased immunity, blood circulation, weight loss, skin health, hair health, muscle recovery, stress reduction, alertness, and testosterone! … but that’s not the case either.

The reason I’m taking cold showers is that they force me to ask a simple question each and every morning:  Am I willing to step into discomfort today?

There is this indescribably cathartic moment that occurs when you step into a cold shower.  It’s this powerful, almost tangible, transformation from a disjointed sense of dread, fear, and anxiety to a singularity in mind, body, and spirit.  The icy water attacks your body, but despite the discomfort you are somehow proud that didn’t just say you were going to step into it … you actually did it!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for positive self-talk and mindfulness, but the truth is that it’s an entirely different experience when your psychology is grounded in reality.  I’m not saying that you have to take an unbearably cold shower every morning, but maybe there’s a different tangible symbolic act that could force you to answer a tough question every morning.

Steve Jobs once said that every morning he asked himself If today was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? If the answer to this question was no too many days in a row, then he knew it was time to change something.

Personally, I struggle with stepping into discomfort.  I’m usually content in my own little bubble, so I try to be mindful about challenging myself to try new things.  The choice to take a cold shower every morning is a simple way of reminding myself that it’s not only okay to be uncomfortable, it’s encouraged!

So I encourage you to find a question that has the capacity to transform your life, and I challenge you to find a tangible way to put it into practice.  Find your cold shower, and step into it!

Life and Matt

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