Comfort vs Challenge

Brian Huy Mac
3 min readMay 16, 2024


I think I am giving up on the quarterly deadlines for post since I seem to always be one quarter behind lol For me these posts are almost like a journal to dive into the thoughts that keep resurfacing over and over again. What brings it to the forefront and to explore how I am processing it.

For me the biggest theme popping up over and over, is this idea of comfort vs challenge. Where it comes from is right now I don’t feel like I am THRIVING, FLOWING, in the rhythm of momentum.

I think I’ve mentioned this book before but it’s a great framework — Emotional Equations by Chip Conley

It has a lot of great breakdowns of emotions, in the goal that being able to break it down we are better to embrace, understand, and in the words of Drake be in our feelings.

The ones that stood out for me right now:

Flow = Skill / Challenge

You want to the challenge to be greater then your ability, but within range = 0.8 and I found myself career/work wise at like 1.2 skill over challenge.

Let’s rewind a little. Growing up, I was a first generation immigrant, with a single mom for many years before my wonderful stepdad came into the picture. Before my stepdad brought more security, there was this chip on the shoulder to reach a certain financial level, to provide, to take care of my mom, grandma, sister - because I saw how hard my mom had to work. This translated into an insatiable drive to learn, to build, to prepare / create opportunities. It was a goal to be self sufficient, be able to take my family on trips, and now that I reached that point I am struggling a bit.

Not that I am not comfortable, but more so that I am too comfortable. I don’t feel this challenge, burning desire, chip I had before. The purpose to push through and do things you don’t want to do. I am afraid that this comfort breed hubris, that I am ok with being ok. Now I don’t want to suffer in debt, go through some of the financial struggles I did before, but I definitely want to feel the FIRE. There is something about having to be “resourceful” when you don’t have a lot of resources.

So how do I shake things up? How do I impose artificial constraints? Are some of the questions I’ve been asking myself. I’ve read a few of David Goggins books (he is the extreme) but I love this no excuses mother fucker kind of attitude. Recently read Living With A Seal: 31 Days Training With The Toughest Man On The Planet by Jesse Itzler and watched an older podcast on Goggins and it got me fired up.

Living With A Seal

This is probably why so many people I know these days take up the challenge of a triathlon or marathon, etc. When you complete challenges, you build competency, and this builds confidence.

With that being said here’s to shaking it up for the rest of 2024 → Finding both a physical challenge / mental challenge. Drop me a note curious what your epic challenges are for inspiration!