How many of your current life’s challenges are on purpose?
Are you working longer hours as part of a plan? Delaying gratification for future success or following a strict exercise regime that isn’t necessary but you just need to do it?
Or are all of your current challenges in your life just unwanted bi-products of past decisions and indecisions?
Regardless of how you balance your life commitments, it’s rare that these challenges don't come your way. You may be on top of your work routine and then a family challenge arises. You may have just finished an assignment, thinking you’re about to get a break, and then suddenly your car breaks down - forcing you to work more to pay for it. The point here is not to be negative, it is to accept that we live in a world that creates constant challenges. Your days will be full one way or another, so why not fill that space with the challenges you choose.
“It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go”.
There are many narratives we tell ourselves surrounding the challenges we face, both in and out of our control. Two narratives you can take responsibility for are imposter syndrome and always seeking comfort.
Imposter syndrome is believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. Another way this can come out is you thinking that if you become successful, you will be exposed as a fraud.
Where this relates to challenges comes in the form of avoidance of moving forward and doubt in your decision-making.
An important practice to undertake when you feel this is to isolate the specific skill or area that you feel you lack competence in or feel is undeserving of a result. Steer away from the generalisation that you aren’t enough or you didn’t earn what you have. You can fight against these feelings by writing down a list of all of your achievements and successes over the last 5 years. Including the smallest things, you may have improved your relationship with someone close to you or you give a small amount to charity each month. Set a timer for 5 minutes and don’t stop writing!
Secondly, your social circle has a huge impact on your behaviour. If the people in your life put themselves down and also react negatively when you shine, you will never be able to get past imposter syndrome. If you truly want to grow, find people who experience joy when you speak of your successes.
The bed is warm, you tell yourself 5 more minutes, it can’t hurt. Right? This small trade-off throughout the days and weeks add-up and expand in a web-like fashion throughout your life.
5 minutes in bed is ok. So is 5-minutes late. Making that hard call will be fine tomorrow. This is how it spreads. Remind yourself that you cannot save time, so there is no need to procrastinate. What needs to be done, will still need to be done tomorrow and it will take the same amount of time and effort.
Saying no to comfort is imperative to minimise life's challenges. Every little moment you choose to take the easy route, the challenge monster grows stronger and will come back to visit you later.
You choosing to take life head on weakens the monster and you welcoming additional challenges into your life will allow you to grow strength and build your armour. So when a serious challenge enters your life you will be ready!
“If You Do What is Easy Your Life Will Be Hard. But if You Do What is Hard Your Life Will Be Easy.” LES BROWN