This morning when I woke up, it was a bit cool in my home here in Houston, TX. Our winters aren’t usually very cold but we do occasionally have to turn the heat on. Well being that is was a bit colder than I preferred in my home, I simply went over to my thermostat and turned up the temperature with the click of a button. Then, on to my normal routine as I clicked the button on the coffee pot to brew a fresh hot pot of coffee, and then to my home office to get my day started.
Why am I telling you this? Because I realize, as should you, this is an easy life. It’s comfortable. Our lives are filled with these luxuries that we take for granted.
The problem many people face is they are not challenged in life. This can seem contradictory on the surface. One would think that by building a life void of challenges, struggles, and failures, is the solution, not the problem. But this isn’t the case in my perspective. People are meant to be challenged, solve difficult problems, be faced with obstacles, and experience hardships. We’re a resilient species who has evolved over many many years to where we are now. We didn’t always have central heat and air, coffee at the touch of a button, etc.
When we don’t challenge ourselves, we become complacent with our luxuries. One small minor mishap and we think it’s the end of the world. Think of something minor that has happened to you recently and then how you dealt with it. Maybe your home internet went down, or you got stuck in traffic on your way to an appointment or work, or you had a flat tire, or whatever else. That thing probably seemed like a really big problem at the time, right? Rightfully so, since it likely was your biggest challenge of the day. But in the big picture, these are all relatively benign challenges. Some wouldn’t even consider them problems. Good luck getting sympathy for your home wifi from a refugee fleeing their country walking hundreds of miles seeking asylum in a safer place.
In order to have a better perspective on your life, it’s important to challenge yourself. Do things that are difficult. Do things that you normally wouldn’t. Take on bigger challenges and grow into them. You develop resilience when you challenge yourself. You learn and grow from the challenges you take on, not to mention the feelings of success you’ll experience.
Challenging yourself is similar to setting 10X goals. Even if you don’t accomplish that challenge or goal, you’ve still made more progress than you would have had you not tried. Many of my 10X goals revolve around buying apartments. This feat alone is enough to keep me busy and hustling, trying to reach my goal of $10M of real estate by age 30.
A recent challenge I’ve personally taken on is training the age-old martial art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Not only is it physically challenging, but also mentally challenging. Starting out, I have been completely incompetent and out of my element with it. It’s a relatively new endeavor of mine, and I plan on sticking with it for the long haul. I see Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a way to challenge myself mentally and physically, and a way to ground myself with this new challenge. It’s very humbling to realize there is something out there that you are completely incapable of in the moment, yet given enough time and work you can accomplish. Focusing on this challenge encourages me to grow and develop. It also puts other things in perspective – like that traffic and flat tire we mentioned earlier. Things like this seem insignificant compared to the challenge of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Everyone can find unique ways to challenge themselves. You just have to make an effort to identify and take on those challenges. Here are just a few challenges I can come up with that may be of interest to you:
- Run a half or full marathon. This has always seemed like such a big feat for me, although I’ve never completed either in a sanctioned race.
- Set a 10X goal, develop a yearly, monthly, and weekly plan to achieve it, and then hold yourself accountable for achieving it.
- Learn a new hobby or skill you aren’t good at. This could be dancing, archery, public speaking, weight lifting or exercise, etc.
- Improve your health with diet and exercise. This is one that many people desire but not many people achieve. With the new year fast approaching, you could get a jump on those new years resolutions and start improving your health now.
- Volunteering. This is a challenge with unique rewards. Rewards that aren’t tangible but rather, enrich your life with gratitude and fulfillment.
Whatever is it, find a challenge that fits you. Don’t become complacent and coast through life. You’re capable of so much more, if you’ll just put in the effort. Your life will begin to expand when you take on new challenges. Your horizons will change and grow.
When you come to a fork in the road, don’t always take the easier of two paths. It often doesn’t lead to as rewarding results as the challenging path does. It can be easy to choose the less challenging path, even without thinking about it. Make a conscious effort to continue to push yourself through new challenges, grow, and learn from your experience. This will help you become a more well-rounded and successful person. So take on that new challenge you’ve been putting off. Grow, learn, and experience everything you can.