“Breakthrough” is a word and idea that sounds much better on paper.
Conceptually, the idea of pressing pass a burden and transcending beyond an undesired state is motivating.
It’s why we go for the underdog in sports. It’s why we love coming of age stories. It’s why every great film needs conflict. But, again, it’s only nice to witness. Not to endure.
The reality is that we hate adversity. We hate friction, we hate comfortability, hell, we even hate change.
I remember being in middle school when my parents told me the family was packing up and moving to another state, meaning I had to leave my friends behind.
I literally thought it was the end of the world. Or when my parents severed the financial lifeline I’d been accustom to nursing on since birth, back when I was in University.
I still remember the first full hour of being solely responsible for feeding myself. The bitterness still lies pungent in my memory banks.
Your instances may differ from mine but the underlying theme is the same: we only appreciate the “overcoming” when we’re not the ones that have to do it.
If it was up to us, the road to success would be one seamless transition to the next, with wide smiles and pats on the back. But to get this progression that we so desperately seek in our lives we must face challenges.
This is why, instead of dreading the drastic and sudden roadblocks that life hurls our way, we should see it as an opportunity.
Here are three reasons why challenges create change.
1. Running Keeps You In Place
You can run all you want, hide all you want, make excuses all you want, but until you confront whatever problem you’re facing head on, you’re going to be stuck in one spot your entire life.
You ever see grown, real life adults, who have a mentality that is shockingly adolescent?
I’m not talking their ability to hold a salary job or their grasp on responsibility, but rather their treatment of people and attitude.
This is the guy who cuts you off and gives you the finger, the asshole coworker who wallows in his own self-pity and the functional alcoholic who’s digging his own grave.
They are all individuals who have made the decision to avoid the difficulties in life and who, in turn, live miserably.
The reason you should cherish challenge instead of running from it is because running won’t make problems go away. They will still be there and will remain until they’re conquered.
When the inevitable difficulties in life arise and we’re vigilant in facing them, it forces the issue — it demands an outcome. When you run, it allows issues to make themselves home in your life.
2. Losses Are Lessons
I know for a fact that the fear of losing keeps us from confronting challenges in life.
Why start a cleanse when you know you’re just going to hate yourself when you quit after day five? Why get a gym membership when it’ll just be making money off your excuses not to go by mid-year?
What’s the point of giving up coffee? You crack every time.
In the back of our minds we see the reality of failure and because we can’t guarantee ourselves being victors, we avoid the challenge altogether. This is not only misguided but it’s a cowardly way to live.
There are lessons in our losses and those lessons ultimately are what we need in order to advance as men and as people.
Every time we dodge a challenge we’re missing out on a chance at learning what we need to equip ourselves with to better confront that same issue in the future.
And that’s the real gem here — trying at something and failing. whether it be riding a bike, swimming or getting fit, is not the writing on the wall.
If anything it’s a manual on what you should change to be better.
3. Tension Brings Growth
Not only should we cherish challenges but we should constantly seek ways to challenge ourselves on a weekly basis.
When we write down weekly short-term goals and give ourselves different challenges, it forces us to change.
P90x prides themselves on their muscle confusion technology which is a method that switches up the exercise routine to keep muscle growth from plateauing.
This concept is very similar to giving ourselves challenges in order for us to grow as people. When we don’t face adversity we risk the chance of plateauing in our personal lives.
Forcing yourself to run a certain number of miles a week, limiting the number of hours you spend in front of the television or having a work production goal are all challenges you can place on yourself to influence your growth.
Tension breeds change and it’s up to us to either step up to the plate to overcome it or to learn from how we can next time.
Stagnation is something we can combat.
First, it takes weathering challenging situations instead of avoiding them, then it takes engaging and welcoming challenges in our lives so we can stay sharp and grow as individuals.
Perspective is everything, and until we start relishing the thought of facing difficult circumstances we’ll always find ourselves spiraling in the same place, wondering why we haven’t gotten further in life than we already are.
Next time life comes at you with a task that you want to hide from, sprint towards it.
Because in that storm lies the keys you need to be the man you want to become.