Last spring, I saw the writing on the wall. My efforts to help a longtime customer build a world class service provider network finally paid off. The problem was, they didn't need me anymore, and quickly started to hold my opinions in progressively lower regard. Despite extraordinary operational impact and commensurate acclaim, I was unhappy. I felt disrespected and discarded. Renowned or not, I stayed long past my useful shelf life.

Within a week or so, I realized my feelings were totally unfounded. My personal growth and happiness is my responsibility alone, and I now see how unhealthy it is to get emotionally attached to work projects. I decided I needed to build an "armored mind", to reference David Goggins from his 2018 book "Can't Hurt Me". I started simple and cheap by taking cold showers.

Go ahead, look it up. Internet pundits tout its health benefits. Although I did experience slightly clearer skin and increased energy levels, this is too anecdotal to be seriously discussed. I don't care about the health benefits. I did it because now I had a tangible and consistent way to leave my comfort zone every single day. That's why I do it.

It's not that I love physical punishment. Being uncomfortably cold for five minutes a day with no risk to life or limb isn't that serious. I find that removing myself from the comfort zone by choice helps me adapt to forced removal necessitated by external forces. Owning your bad decisions is one thing. However, life is a constant and unforgiving force that acts upon you, and you will also be pushed into discomfort by other people and events.

To those who consume my blog, my free books, my live and recorded video training, and my open source software, look at the publication dates. Almost all of the work on these projects happened after the introduction of cold showers. Researching completely new technologies and writing about them is downright challenging. Programming in different languages, adding complex test pipelines to repositories, then having the spine to publicly teach it isn't for the faint of heart. Much of it has been criticized, too. See my blog titled "Well, Technically ..." if you want to see how I handled it.

Try cold showers for a month before you tell me I'm wrong.

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