I wanted to present a new perspective that might cause something to click for you. You’ve probably heard before that “we need to see failures as lessons”, and “pressure makes diamonds”. Ryan Holiday even wrote a book called “The Obstacle Is The Way” detailing how we’re best served to have a mindset that encourages us to attack our challenges head on.
This all exists counter to our natural relationship with challenges, which is perceived discomfort and strain. A less energetically demanding and easier life is one where we don’t have any problems or setbacks.
But what if ‘the challenge’ is what life’s all about?
There’s something inherent to us that feels validated by overcoming obstacles. Our deepest joy comes from proving ourselves against our circumstances. Tom Bilyeu with Impact Theory agrees. He says that fulfillment is “working hard at something to achieve a positive result.” Without the challenge, nothing hard is required of you and you won’t tap into the depth of fulfillment that life has to offer.
Think about any great story. The bigger the challenge someone is facing, the better the story. Superheroes are revered because of the actions they take against powerful villains. The most epic comebacks in sports history come from overcoming a huge deficit when everything was on the line. In other words, the most meaningful things we do are born from defeating enormous challenges.
To live a life that’s worthwhile - that gets you brimming with pride, where you feel deeply connected to a sense of purpose and the people in your life, where you feel like your skills and talents are making a unique contribution to the world - you need to have a challenge! It’s on the other side of testing what you’re made of where you find out everything you are.
Which leads me to our two perspectives:
First, if you’re experiencing immense challenge and hardship in your life, you’re being incubated for greatness. Whether you’re choosing it or not you’re being prepared to maximize your contribution to the world in whatever form it ends up taking. So throw yourself into the challenge, figure it out and discover the power of who it molds you into as a result.
Second, if you’re comfortable and not challenging yourself, maybe this is a reason to try something new. It’s comfortable being comfortable, I get it. But If you allow yourself to stay in that space you’ll never leave, and you’ll only experience a fraction of the fulfillment you’d otherwise feel if you put yourself out there more. So go out and choose a challenge that’s worthwhile and let it strengthen you!
Challenges are good. We want to have challenges. It’s in the face of challenges that we tap into the depth of who we are, the inspiration we haven't been able to access, and the joy that comes from applying yourself toward doing something you didn’t think could be done.
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