Ultramarathon Man Confessions of an All-Night Runner

Comfort is not Happiness

An excerpt from Dean Karnazes book Ultramarathon Man:

Somewhere along the line we seem to have confused comfort with happiness. I’ve now come to believe that quite the opposite is the case. Dostoevsky had it right: “Suffering is the sole origin of consciousness.” Never are my senses more engaged than when the pain sets in. There is magic in misery. Just ask any runner.

This gets at the idea that I usually try to explain to friends, acquaintances, girls when they ask why I live my life the way I do. I don’t watch TV, I don’t go to parties / bars, I rarely drink (though when I do, I drink like a champion). Things that most people consider “comfortable” or “relaxing” don’t make me happy. If I’m not challenging myself mentally and physically, it’s not just not worth doing, it’s simply not fun for me. I enjoy relaxing, sleeping not as an activity in itself but as preparation for difficult tasks ahead. Similarly, I seek balance in my life only in as much as it helps me be most consistently productive for long periods of time.

I used to be more apologetic about these values, but then I realized that apologizing for such things is absurd.

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