Throughout your life you’ll come across many challenges. Some will be small, some will be quite large, some will be of your own choosing. You’ve probably faced the challenge of crossing a busy street, playing sports with someone better than you, or overcoming your fear of the dentist. In the grand scheme of things, these are pretty small challenges to overcome.
Some of you have faced challenges that were much more difficult than those listed. You may have faced broken hearts, severe broken bones, or even cancer. These challenges are quite large and can take quite a toll on you. Many of these challenges were not by choice.
Today, I’d like to talk about picking a challenge that you would like to choose to face and overcome. The definition of challenge I’d like to use today is: something that by its nature or character serves as a call to battle, contest, or special effort. When I read the definition of challenge, I get chills. Hearing challenge makes me conjure up images of climbing a mountain, running a marathon, or writing this blog.
Challenges are meant to get you out of your comfort zone and to test your mettle. How long can you go, can you change someone’s life, or can you learn that skill? These are all challenges that you can choose. Challenges that you choose tend to improve and better yourself.
Challenges tend to fall into a few categories. Below I’ll discuss three categories of challenges.
Physical: These challenges tend to be a strain on your body. This could be the choice of running a marathon, climbing a mountain, or backpacking the Appalachian Trail. You train for these events and build up your strength and endurance. Your body becomes stronger, your will more resolved. During this type of challenge you may feel that you are at your breaking point. However, if you push on, you find out that your body will go further and become stronger.
Mental: Mental challenges deal with learning and expanding your knowledge of a certain field. Do you want to play guitar? Would you like to learn a foreign language? Obtain a college degree? These are all challenges that require you to test your mental toughness. You will have to buckle down and study. To learn guitar, you may have to read book and learn how to read music, hire a tutor to teach you advance techniques, or purchase teaching DVDs. To tackle a foreign language, you may purchase a foreign language audio course, take a night class, or travel to a foreign country. Getting a college degree requires you to plan a schedule, budget your money, and complete assignments.
Giving: You may also want to challenge yourself with giving. There’s plenty of things that you could give that may stretch you. Many people challenge themselves to donate a certain percentage of their income, to mentor another person, or volunteer at a food pantry. Giving challenges can make you squirm as they get you out of your comfort zone. They revolve around making others the focus and taking the spotlight off of yourself.
At each point in our life, we should have at least one challenge in each of these areas that we want to overcome. As you prepare for and complete each challenge, you will experience growth and the feeling of achievement. You’ll be able to look back on your life and see where you’ve come from. There will also be a story to tell with each challenge you are able to mark off of your list.
CHALLENGE: I entreat you to make a Challenge List for this coming year. Have at least one physical, mental, and giving challenge that you would like to overcome. Post your challenges in the comments below and we’ll encourage each other as we work towards overcoming them.