Discomfort and Confidence Meters

Discomfort and Confidence Meters
Photo by Fabio Comparelli / Unsplash

Challenging yourself is one of the thrills of life.

One of my favorite YouTube channels is Yes Theory, with their slogan

Seek Discomfort

I've been embracing this philosophy using a confidence meter.

Confidence Meter

A confidence meter indicates your perception of an activity you may pursue.

100% = fully confident (easy), 0% = complete doubt (impossible).

Example: I've run three marathons

I understand marathon training, nutrition, prep work, and racing. My confidence meter for completing another marathon is 95%.

But during my first marathon, I wasn’t sure I’d finish. My confidence level was 60%.

As we get more experience, previous challenges become easier.

We adapt and must find new challenges that decrease our confidence meter.

My confidence today to complete an ultra marathon (50 miles) is around 60%, and 10% for a 100-miler.


If the confidence meter is too low, the challenge seems impossible. If it's too high, it's not a challenge at all.

The key is to find discomfort that puts you between 40-60% on the confidence meter.

That is the sweet spot for an achievable challenge.