Life as we have known it has gotten weird. Pandemics, earthquakes, social chaos — what comes next? Most of us assume this time will pass and life will soon return to normal. What if it takes longer than we expect? What good can possibly come from the current panic that has spread throughout the world? This. Out of chaos arise leaders. Some have been at the forefront for years, and some will become heroes overnight as they share their gifts with a troubled world. When times are tough, brave, caring, selfless men and women step up.

What characteristics set these brave men and women apart? Many things perhaps, but I’m willing to bet most are very familiar with discomfort. Whether continually or at some point in their past, they have experienced some level of discomfort. For some, it was out of their control; but for many, they intentionally subjected themselves to it. One thing is certain, discomfort fuels growth. Leaders know this. Leaders know they must challenge themselves to become the people they want to be. They don’t panic in the face of adversity, but rather take it head on and use it as an opportunity to learn and to share their gift with those around them.

Is the virus frightening? Of course it is. Is social distancing uncomfortable? Potentially. Is it hard to cancel trips, to stay at home, to avoid groups, to be out of work and to live in uncertainty? Absolutely. However, the only way to grow and progress is by overcoming challenges. When we are comfortable, we become complacent, we take things for granted and forget that occasional difficulty and suffering are a normal part of life. As scholar C.S. Lewis pointed out, “If you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth — only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.”

Everyday heroes are stepping up for the good of the masses. Those in the medical field are working long hours in harm's way to combat the problem. We are completely dependent on truck drivers, grocery store employees and all of those who provide our basic needs. Police officers are still going to work. Communities are coming together to help those in need. People are reaching out to provide for others. Schools are continuing to prepare lunches for students. Museums and art galleries are offering virtual tours online. Coaches and trainers are offering free video workouts and tutorials.

Use this time to learn. Use this time to help someone in need. Use this time to slow down, be kind and appreciate all that we have been blessed with. Spend more time with your kids. Take up a new hobby from home. Plant a garden. Start a home workout program. Call a long-lost friend. Attempt to find the good in the discomfort. Look for the opportunities you have that you would have otherwise missed in the everyday hustle and bustle of life.

We’ll get through this. Let’s make an effort to learn through it and come out better, smarter, stronger and more connected to our families when the discomfort ends!

Arlo Gagestein owns Competitive Edge Fitness in Ogden.

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