I say this all the time, especially to our teenage students. You never get better by doing what's easy. You'll never grow if you stay comfortable. I want them to learn to despise the search for comfort. I want them to seek out challenges and opportunities that are uncomfortable.
When you learn to take a punch, and realize that it wont kill you, something changes deep inside of you. When you can get hit, embrace the discomfort, and continue to drive on, you're developing part of yourself that typically hides deep, deep down.
Yesterday I had the teens run through a very simple drill with a very simple goal: to "take just one punch that you believe would have stopped you a year ago." They students partnered up, started light, and worked the contact level up incrementally. In the end, I think everyone got that feeling that I was hoping for.
Why would I have teenagers do something like this? For starters, I'm always preaching that "you're not made of glass." Our bodies are incredibly resilient. Second, and more important in my mind, taking that one punch builds confidence and confidence is the seed of courage. It's courage that I'm seeking to build in these young people. Courage to stand up for the weak and courage to speak out against the evil around us. Courage to speak for those who can't, or won't, speak up for themselves and courage to change the world.
Courage cannot grow when you're comfortable!