At art school in New York, you don’t just study fine art.

You have to take some liberal arts classes as well.

One of my classes was in psychology.

One of the subjects we discussed there was Primal Therapy.

It explains that The Book of Exodus was a metaphor for the birth process.

I found that really interesting.

The Garden of Eden is the pre-birth state.

You’re in the womb.

Absolutely everything is done for you: food, drink, warmth, shelter.

You don’t have to worry about a thing.

It’s so safe and nurturing, you don’t even need clothes.

All there is for you to is relax and enjoy it.

Then, suddenly you’re forced out of that paradise.

Into the cruel, harsh world.

Piercing light, screeching noise, people grabbing you, cold air on your skin.

Slapped on the arse.

Choking on the burning rush of air into your lungs.

Change, unsettling, worrying, frightening.

All that security is gone and now you don’t know what’s happening.

No wonder you start to cry.

Being thrown out of The Garden Of Eden is a metaphor for that.

But that’s where the metaphore ends.

Because gradually you adapt.

And that new state becomes a great place.

Just watch a toddler.

They’re knocked out to be alive.

They want to discover everything.

To pick things up, play with them, put them in their mouth, cuddle them, sit on them.

They’ve learned the world is a fantastic place.

Now they’re not frightened.

Until their first day at school.

Then they cry their eyes out at this strange, unfriendly place.

It’s new, it’s unfamiliar, it’s unsettling, and they don’t want to be there.

And they won’t let go of Mum.

Fast-forward a few weeks.

They love school.

They can’t wait to get there in the mornings.

They start running towards it as soon as they see the playground.

They’re off with their friends and they’ve forgotten all about Mum.

That seems to be the pattern for life.

Try something new.

It’s unpredictable so it’s uncomfortable.

Then it becomes predictable, so it’s comfortable.

Try something new.

It’s unpredictable so it’s uncomfortable.

Then it becomes predictable, so it’s comfortable.

Try something new.

It’s unpredictable so it’s uncomfortable.

Then it becomes predictable, so it’s comfortable.

Somehow, we never quite spot the pattern.

It never clicks that feeling uncomfortable means it’s a new experience.

And new experience means growth.

Going somewhere we haven’t been before.

Trying something we haven’t tried.

That uncomfortable feeling is being alive.

Just the way we were when we came out of the womb.

The way every experience has been since.

That uncomfortable feeling is growth.

It’s new so it’s uncomfortable.

And we want to avoid being uncomfortable.

That’s what drugs and booze are about.

Anaesthetise ourselves to it.

Avoiding confronting it, participating in it, growing from it.

Avoid being alive.

Nick Sutherland-Dodd was Paul Arden’s producer.

He says he always remembers what Paul used to say.

“It’s okay to feel uncomfortable.”

Just that.

It’s just a feeling, it’s not real.

You don’t have to do anything about it.

It just means you’re somewhere new.

So you’re not comfortable.

But it doesn’t mean you should let that feeling stop you.

There’s a line in The Jungle Book I really like.

“You can either run from it, or learn from it.”

In fact anyone who’s done anything really worthwhile knows that feeling.

Helmut Krone was maybe the greatest art director ever.

Along with Bill Bernbach, he invented good advertising.

Helmut Krone said, “If you can look at something and say ‘I like it’ then it isn’t new.”