Q&A with Ben Aldridge
Ben Aldridge’s new book How to Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable: 43 Weird & Wonderful Ways to Build a Strong Resilient Mindset is an exploration of unique ways to leave our comfort zones and face our fears. Heavily influenced by Stoicism, Buddhism, Popular Psychology and CBT, Ben’s challenges encourage us to get uncomfortable and experience the personal growth that we can only gain from pushing ourselves to the limit. We caught up with Ben to ask him a few questions about the project.
You talk about this in detail in the book, but could you tell the blog readers about what inspired you to write the book?
The ideas in the book have been inspired by my personal response to severe and debilitating anxiety. After reading extensively about what I could do to deal with my panicky mindset, I discovered the Stoic philosophers of Ancient Greece and Rome. They used to build mental strength by practising adversity. I fell in love with the idea and started creating challenges that I could do to deliberately step outside of my comfort zone, all in the hope of building resilience. At first, this felt very counterintuitive but when I stopped having panic attacks, I knew that this concept had value.
How did your friends and family react to you taking on all the challenges?
My friends and family have been incredibly supportive of the whole project and I’m so grateful to be surrounded by such brilliant people. Lots of them have done challenges with me and it’s been a lovely communal experience. However, I still haven’t managed to convince my mum to take a cold shower!
What was your writing process like? Did you write at certain times of day, or in a particular place?
I wrote a lot of the book early in the morning on my sofa whilst drinking
copious amounts of green tea. I would get up early to work on the text and
found the stillness of the morning to be a nice time of day for my creativity.
Do you have a favourite chapter or section of the book or part that was
your favourite to write?
I loved writing the entire book but found the challenges particularly enjoyable to work on. These are incredibly varied so writing about them was great fun. It felt like I was creating a concise article for each challenge and I found this very satisfying. It was also lovely remembering my experiences of completing them.
Finally, what is one thing that you hope people will take away from reading
I would like people to actively seek out challenges in their lives and regularly step outside of their comfort zones. This will look different for everyone and that’s incredibly exciting. We are all challenged by different things in life and I hope that my book will encourage readers to explore this in a fun and practical way.