The ethos of yes theory is “seek discomfort”. I respect that phrase so much. What does it mean to you and how have you applied it in your life?
At 13 years old, I took the public bus in Egypt for the first time by myself, from the small town I grew up in, to Cairo. Stepping out of that bus and into the chaos of the unknown was scary and wildly uncomfortable. Somehow, I managed to push past my fear and I navigated my way through one of the busiest cities on the planet to get to the leadership seminar that I was there to attend. I learned a lot but most importantly I made a lot of new friends who were seeking more. That was when I started to make the connection between embracing discomfort and the growth that always emerges as a result. 3 years after that bus ride to Cairo, I was on a flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. With the help of my friends I met at that seminar, I received a scholarship to attend one of the best high schools on the continent; the African Leadership Academy. I remember facing a very familiar fear stepping out of that plane. More odds were stacked against me, but this time, my faith in the outcome was grounded in knowing that every time I mustered the courage to face the unknown, fulfillment awaited on the other side. My life continued to be driven by this principal until my journey brought me to Montreal, Canada where I made my biggest leap into the unknown with 2 strangers I had just met. In the summer of 2015, I met 2 guys who shared the same desire to get the absolute most out of life and create an impact in other people’s lives while doing it. A few days after meeting, we decided to put everything we were doing on hold and do 30 things we’ve never done before in 30 days and make a video every single day to tell the story. On day 30 we found ourselves feeling happier and more connected to our humanity and each other than we’ve ever felt. The power of “Seek Discomfort” became clearer than ever to us. We doubled down and committed our careers to spreading this message far and wide through storytelling and technology. 5 years and hundreds of stories about seeking discomfort later, we’re now a community of 7 million people all over the world who share the belief that life’s greatest experiences and deepest connections exist outside your comfort zone.
In conversation and through reading your stories online, you’ve overcome a lot of struggles from egypt to california. Now you’re an entrepreneur and public figure. How do you practice gratitude for how far you’ve come?
Gratitude is my anti-depressant. As someone who’s challenged by depression. I find that I am able to cope with it most effectively when I approach life through a lens of gratitude. Always counting my blessings and letting that over power the negative though patterns that sometime feel unbreakable. I listened to a book about the power of gratitude and it taught me to say the things I am grateful out loud to myself when negative patterns take over so that my true voice for what I want becomes louder than the conditioned one in my mind. Game changer!