You will often hear people say that they love a challenge. So, are we talking arm wrestling or bear wrestling? Because personally, although I consider myself someone who does not shy away from a challenge, I’m not a fan of trying either. And if we do love a challenge, it may not mean that we spend all our time actively seeking them out. Yet, if our days start to blend into one and monotony sets in, our lives can become stayed or stale, even uninspiring or depressing.
What would you consider a challenge?
A 50K bike ride, a 10K run? Getting through the week without bumping into the boss? Successfully dropping the kids at school, without someone having a meltdown. Perhaps a long weekend with the in-laws? For some, it could be as simple as getting out of bed or walking up a flight of stairs. It would be remiss to compare any of these challenges because, as always, it is the person facing the challenge and not the challenge facing the person. The thought of attempting to walk up those stairs may seem like a 10k run, after hip surgery or a broken leg.
How can I do that?
It’s a simple enough question and the answer is simple too. By beginning. Hardly rocket science, I know but what does ‘beginning’ mean? If we think of the 10K run, then just beginning would possibly end in somewhat of a disaster. Ergo, taking time to look at the challenge to see what is required is surely a good place to start. I remember one of my most beloved teachers at school telling me, “If your exam paper is three hours long, then take the first thirty minutes to read the questions through, thoroughly”. Advice that truly helped me push a lot of my exam results from the 60% mark to the 80 – 90% mark.
Do we all love a challenge?
First, if you think of having a great week at work or with the kids. It is possible to have a tough week, full of problems and still get to the end feeling good, because you rose to the challenges to pull through. Second, if you have a mundane week, where nothing really happens, and it is all kind of alright. The feeling at the end of it can be a little flat, even disappointing.
Is it just the challenge or is it solving the problem?
In conclusion, with my understanding of the human brain, I believe that it is a combination of both. A challenge is a problem to be solved. So that 50K bike ride, as an example, requires training and building up to the final distance. A change of diet, sleeping habits even. Learning how far to push without straining something. Seeing the patterns. Learning. I have always understood that we are pattern hunters. Yet, I also think that we need to learn. Not just in a school or college kind of way but sometimes, just to learn new things that we can then use as tools when we encounter a different challenge down the road.
P.S. I am about to embark on a crazy new adventure, just to learn something new.