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Why it’s important to live uncomfortably

In less than five weeks, I’ve travelled across over 20 x different cities and delivered 18 x speaking events across the United States. What once was a dream has manifested into reality. I’ve got plenty more to do during my total three months away from home (Sydney, Australia) and it’s safe to say that in between the delightful chaos, I’ve spent a good chunk of time hanging out with myself. 

Every time this alone time sticks it’s sneaky head out in the air, there’s always a heightened level of reflection. During these moments, the recurring conversation in my head has been about my personal limitations.


The recent release (September 2014) of my first published book ‘How to get a job as a designer, guaranteed’ was not easy. Yes I had only slept 5 hours every night for a year and I was rejected by over 20 x publishers and sponsors so had to self publish, however the biggest overarching challenge was simply that I’d never written a book before.

Then comes the ridiculous (and to a certain degree, scary) idea of putting together an international speaking tour shortly after the book launch. Again, no sponsorship so more sleepless nights of work to self fund it. I’m now more than half way through my tour in my mission to help emerging designers be empowered and employed, and I’ve had two immediate thoughts:

1. Wow, I did it!
2. How the f*ck did I do this? (pardon my French, I hope I got the tone across!)

The only simple answer I have is that my experiences have led me to believe that there’s more. Much, much more. But it comes with great sacrifice and pain. The almighty exchange.



As time passes, I’m also beginning to see new colours, in people, places and things. I’m beginning to live more consciously and more deliberately.

I’m noticing that we as humans feel peaks of emotion. When we’re bored, we’re really ‘boring’. When someone’s asks us how we are and we respond with “not bad”, we’re ‘reactive’, almost sub-consciously waiting for the universe to owe us something. When we’re “pretty good” we’re comfortable and I’ve found that to be the worst place to be in.



1. Delivering 5 x events in 2 x days in West Michigan. It included Holland High School, Cesar Chavez Elementary School, KCAD design college and Herman Miller. My mind and body had reached it’s limit. In 48 hours I had completely shut down. I had reached a new peak of discomfort and fatigue, yet it’s still nothing compared to the daily discomfort of those suffering from true physical and mental hardship battled daily.

2. Being alone and away from family during Christmas. Tough. I tried to sleep through it!

3. Letting go of routines that have become natural and habitual to my identity. Travelling this long has meant sacrificing luxuries of familiarity, choice and abundance.

4. Feeling helpless for the victims of the Sydney Siege that occurred in the Lindt Cafe of Martin Place. I walked passed there every day for 9 months this year. The news shook me big time and it’s still sinking in.


If I hadn’t experienced these new peaks of discomfort, I’d never be able to truly appreciate a new benchmark of gratitude.So let’s raise our glasses to living outside our comfort zone more than ever as we enter 2015.To living uncomfortably and expanding our capacity to contribute to loved ones and strangers. That we may all realise, greatness is within all of us, if we lead with generosity and follow with care.


How was your year of discomfort and what did you learn?

For more, pick up a copy of Ram Castillo’s internationally and industry-acclaimed book ‘How to Get a Job as a Designer, Guaranteed’.

*Remember to Like/Share my posts on FaceBook, Twitter and subscribe via email to this blog to receive posts regularly. Thank you*
Author: Ram Castillo
Image location: Outside Cesar Chavez Elementary School, Grand Rapids, West Michigan, USA.

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About Ram Castillo


Ram is an award winning Design Director, Blogger, top ranking Podcaster, Speaker, Instructor and Author of two internationally acclaimed books 'How to get a job as a designer, guaranteed' and 'How to get a mentor as a designer, guaranteed'. He's based in Sydney, Australia and in 2012, started the blog which helps thousands of design students and graduates be employed. Ram has since been featured in Communication Arts, HOW magazine, Herman Miller, deFrost*, and Apple.

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