Are you challenged? Do you challenge yourself? What does it matter anyway?
These are questions people ask every day. But, are these questions necessary or could they possibly be life changing? Are the answers even worth considering?
Let’s take a look.
Back in 1970, I finished a 2 year Junior College with a degree in Telecommunications. Three of my friends refused to go on for 2 more years and complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science. It was not a problem with money for them. It was commitment to “Such a long time”.
Two years? Yes. They viewed the extra time as just too much time out of their lives. They chunked Challenge aside for an easier life. Years later, every one of these gentlemen could advance no further in their work without a B.S.
Was their choice wise? I’m not here to judge.
This article is merely an examination of the concept of Challenge. I personally feel Challenge is extremely necessary to get the most out of life. Without it, we just Settle.
Everyone knows stories of famous athletes with childhood disabilities who never gave up and went on tobecome Olympic champions. That however, is not us. But, Challenge does give a person a deeper and fuller life regardless of social standing, economic level or any number of categories in which we place people.
Here’s a motivational item I used to get people Challenged in Organic Gardening school. I would begin:
“So, you want to sign up for my Organic Gardening classes…it takes commitment and can really be called a Challenge. It will take time, it will take dedication, it will take watering your plants when you are tired, it will take effort pulling weeks. Now, I heard one of you (class of 23 people) who said they just could not miss Dancing With the Stars to hoe weeds. Fine. I have a question: Which is more important; watching your show or helping your ten year old daughter grow and harvest her own first tomatoes? To make sure you understand the depth of the question, answer this: who won Dancing With the Stars on the first, third and last season’s shows? Even if you know, will you remember in 10 years?”
“Now, here’s the guilt question: in ten years would you remember your 10 year old’s smile after picking her first tomatoes that you helped her produce? Unfair? Maybe. It’s a Challenge. Are you up to it?”
It seemed to work every time.
There are numerous other examples of Challenge.
Do you know how many people out of the entire population actually create companies, invent things, run for office or become leaders? This is not a trick question. Social scientists actually know; it’s only 5%. These people know and relish Challenge. Most importantly, they are very often also rewarded for their efforts.
A curious social experiment was conducted a few years ago by a
Physicist named Michio Kaku, on a street in New York City. He wanted to know what people would do if given (in theory) a chance to live a second hundred years in prime health. The experiment went something like this:
Dr. Kaku wrapped a jade green bottle containing a fake Youth Elixir in golden foil and a golden bow. He approached random people on the street (every age 15-95, race, gender, or social standing) and explained this was only a make-believe experiment. “But, what if it WERE true in the near future…?”
He asked, “If this was a real youth elixir that could extend your life one hundred years from right now and you would be in perfect health, would you drink the bottle…if it were real?”
How many people do you believe took him up on the Challenge. What did they have in common with the others who also said Yes? Now, what was the most common trait shared with those who said No? It turned out it had nothing to do with any of the stated categories of people interviewed; i.e., race, age, gender, or social standing.
What percent of the 100 people interviewed said Yes, and what percentage said No? Answer 5% said Yes, 95% said No.
Those who answered “Yes” all hoped to help mankind in some way. Those who said “No” were only concerned with their own conditions. They could not even conceive of such a Challenge.
This experiment curiously fell perfectly within the 5% of humanity who were the risk takers and leaders. But, that’s fine. As they say, “too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the soup.”
Let’s bring this down to daily life. Do you exercise
? Do you smoke? Are you battling obesity? How about Diabetes? Are you stuck on the couch every evening? Do you have a gym fetish with having to do two or three-hour workouts every day?
Any one of these are life Challenges. But, here’s the question you must ask yourself, “are you going to change these habits or conditions or are you just going to settle? Are you up to a Challenge?”
You see, if you actually step up and try, maybe a little at first or maybe fully dedicated to changing, YOU WILL be rewarded. Here’s where it gets interesting. People only think of Rewarding as physical. However, it is much, MUCH MORE! Our bodies, when given a chance to change for the better also Reward us with improved mental images of ourselves. Deep down inside, we are wired for a Challenge.
So, maybe today, but definitely tomorrow, give yourself the very best gift ever: A Challenge. Make your world better and give your life a boost.