We’ve all gone through points in our lives where we’ve been faced with something we’ve never done before. Whether it’s something we worked towards that’s finally come, or something we did not expect at all, how we deal with new and challenging times in our lives is a true test of character. A test that can be quite daunting if we don’t have the right mindset towards challenges in our lives. I personally think there are a few good examples of this in how we go through life. High School is a challenge, then College, then the Professional world, and maybe even Grad School, for example. Each step is in itself a new chapter in your life. Now some people are able to approach each of these with an excited attitude, one that helps them shake the nerves of adjusting to a new environment, while others can be very intimidated by the thought that change is eminent, and what they are about to get themselves into is like nothing they’ve seen in their lives so far.
There is also a kind of nervousness that comes from being excited. “Good nervous” we sometimes call it. The kind of nerves that stem from the excitement of taking on something that we have wanted for so long. These nerves come from not wanting to be disappointed by whatever it is we have glorified in our expectations. The same nerves, help us perform better when we want something badly enough. So where do we strike the balance? Where is being scared good, and where is being scared actually a hindrance to your progress? Let’s examine how we read through chapter books…
Imagine for a moment you are reading a chapter book, and the plot suddenly takes a turn you don’t like. At this point however, some people may stop reading. The thought that the outcome they were expecting is not what occurred can really turn people off from wanting to finish the book. Little did they know, in the next chapter, the plot gets better, and the character they were rooting for all along triumphs – except they stopped reading and will therefore never know. Authors like to play with their readers and sometimes a book even ends at a moment like this, which may even spark a second book altogether and an entirely new journey to read about. Anybody who loves the Harry Potter Series will know this feeling.
If we imagine that every challenge in our lives is a chapter in a book, we can begin to see the challenges as a series of events that create a plot – a plot that adds up to the story of our lives. You begin to understand that the individual chapter/challenge on it’s own may not be so significant, but is absolutely essential to the big picture and overall plot. So when faced with a challenge, if we don’t tackle it, or give up when things get hard, we have stopped the story short. Challenges are meant to stimulate parts of your thinking that otherwise would lay dormant. To overcome challenges isn’t simply to “get to the easy part”, challenges are usually followed by more challenges (surprise!). Overcoming a challenge is a very real and quantitative metric that shows the strength and power of the human mind, and your ambition to overcome challenges and find new solutions. It’s the proof that you have grown. It’s the proof that you CAN in fact become more than what you thought you could be.
This mindset is critical when starting on any life journey. Whether a business, a relationship, a new job, a musical career, an artistic/creative passion or project that you want to turn into your livelihood, you must understand the importance of accepting the challenges that come along the way. Everything around you exists because a challenge was overcome to manifest its existence. Before planes flew, they didn’t. Before cars moved, they didn’t, and as a baby, before you walked, you didn’t. The power to overcome challenges is highly influenced by the mindset you bring to the fight. Your mentality should be one that helps you realize the big picture, knowing very well that even if this chapter does not excite you, the plot gets better further down. Don’t skip chapters, and don’t cut chapters short!
Do not be intimidated by the challenges life throws your way. They are simply checkpoints to keep your mind growing, and confirm that the passion you are following is in fact the one you love. To have a passion for something means that you have a passion for the challenges it brings with it. Remember to accept the process as you grow into the person you want to become.
Life is difficult at times but bring this attitude with you… challenge accepted!