Why Challenges Can Help You Grow

"Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one." - Bruce Lee.

On your journey towards your dream life, there will be many setbacks. Whenever you pursue a goal that is worth achieving, it will be hard. You fall down many times, and every time you ask yourself: “Is this really for me?” There will be many detours, each of them trying to break you. How you respond to them will determine your success or failure in life.

As a culture, we are conditioned to look for the easy fix. We believe in the magic bullet that will suddenly bring us success, use weight loss pills instead of exercise, and prefer the easy route over the harder but more fulfilling one. We use alcohol and drugs to numb our feelings and avoid confronting reality. Instead of facing adversity head on, we are afraid of it.

When we have big goals or dreams in life, we often get so obsessed with achieving them that every little sign of adversity becomes a burden. Everything that doesn´t go exactly the right way is a problem, and serves as a blow to our ego. Most of us can´t stand failure and adversity. If we fail once or twice, that´s it. We throw in the towel and get down on ourselves for not being good enough, smart enough, or tough enough. What we don´t understand in those moments is that adversity is not a bad thing. Failing does not have to be a bad thing. I believe that sometimes, failure is just a part of the process, causing us to dig deep down inside and discover what we are truly capable of. Only by being tested to the maximum of our abilities, we are able to reach our full potential.

It is natural to want the easy life, win the lottery, and then relax at the beach every day until you die. And there is nothing wrong with that, as long as you are okay with never reaching your full potential. But if you want to see how great you can be, there is no way around adversity. In fact, reaching your goals is supposed to be hard! You are supposed to struggle, fall down, and try once more despite the failure.

It has to be hard, because that´s what makes it great! If it was easy, everybody could do it! If being fit was easy, everybody would walk around with six-packs and run marathons. If it was easy to become a millionaire, everyone would enjoy life on their yacht by now. But it´s hard, and that´s what makes it great. That´s what separates those who are committed in life from those who are not. If you are just interested in becoming successful, you will work hard as long as it´s convenient. As long as everything is going the right way, you work on your goals. But as soon as adversity hits you, you give up. You start making excuses, find reasons why success isn`t for you, and blame bad luck or other people for your lack of results. If you are just interested in succeeding in life, you will never make it because every victory requires some adversity. And you will only keep pushing despite adversity when you see failure not as a judgement of you as a person, but simply feedback telling you that you have to try harder or change your tactics.

You see, the real purpose of a goal is sometimes not to achieve it, but the person you become along the way. Through the failure and pain, you will find an inner strength that you never knew you had, you will develop skills and learn to master your mindset. I believe that who you are as a person is the most important thing there is. At the end of your life, what matters is not the numbers on your bank account, but the lives of other people you have touched, the dreams you have followed, and the person you have become. And you only develop that during times of adversity.

Why Challenges are the best thing that can happen to youWhy Challenges are the best thing that can happen to you

Think about this: Have you ever grown from solving an easy task? When everything was going smoothly and there were no challenges, have you ever said “wow, this last month has really made me a better person”? Chances are, you haven´t. That´s because we grow in the storm, not in the calm. You don´t develop any new skills when you are comfortable. Comfort zones are nice places to be in for a while, but make sure that you don´t stay for too long, or you might be missing out on a lot of growth.

Improving your mindset is like training a muscle in the gym: You need resistance to grow it. If you keep lifting the same easy weights for too long, you won´t make any progress. But if you provide your muscles with variation and challenges, they will adapt and grow. Your mind is the same way. You need to push through some resistance to grow it. So next time you face a challenge or even fail to achieve a big goal, see it as an opportunity to increase your mental strength and improve your chances of succeeding the next time!

Action Steps:

  1. Embrace adversity! It´s your chance to set yourself apart from the masses of people that don´t want it as bad as you. Use it to grow your mental muscles and become better in the process!
  2. Analyze your failures. Ask yourself why you failed to achieve your goal. Was it lack of effort or the wrong strategies? How can you do better next time?
  3. It´s not over until you win! Keep chasing after your dreams, no matter how much failure and adversity you might encounter! Keep believing in your dream and adapt to feedback until you make it. Be flexible with the strategies you use, but not with the goals you pursue. Never give up on your dreams!

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