Accepting Your Challenges
by David B. Bohl
"The key to life is accepting challenges. Once someone stops doing this, he's dead." -- Bette Davis
One of the great keys to personal growth in this life is the ability to face challenges and meet them head-on. Easier said than done, because facing and meeting challenges involves overcoming fear -- fear of embarrassment, or fear of failure.
The purpose of challenge is to give you greater experiences and to broaden your perspective. We become pigeon-holed into one way of thinking without having our beliefs challenged.
Challenge plays an extremely important role when it comes to character. Character is not necessarily created by facing challenges, but rather it is revealed by them. We may be completely unaware of our own character until met with seemingly daunting obstacles. It is the manner in which we deal with them that reveals our true inner self.
There are several things you can do to help yourself deal with challenges more calmly. Essentially you need to open yourself up to new possibilities, new experiences, whether you think you are ready for them or not.
1. Allow Yourself to Publicly Succeed Brilliantly or Fail Miserably The key to this one is "publicly." Allow others to know what your goals are. Accept responsibilities that put you center stage. Chances are you will only highlight your talent, making it obvious to everyone around you.
If you do not, though, keep the faith. You can achieve great wisdom from failure, and there are many famous and brilliant people who have said their failures were what eventually led them to their greatest successes.
Do not be deterred by the possibility of "looking bad" in front of others. Grasp the opportunity firmly with both hands and hold onto it.
2. Work With New People Nothing leads to personal growth more than working with strangers, especially those outside of your normal professional or social circles. You build your social skills, learning how to interact with people who have new -- and possibly very different -- beliefs, attitudes, and experiences. There is nothing like getting to know someone from a completely different walk of life to open up your mind and introduce you to a new perspective. Doing so is not necessarily easy, though. We all tend to be timid and shy around those we do not know, so this is a good exercise in learning to overcome your social fears.
3. Take Charge Rather than just be a member of a group -- either a social group or a committee at work -- volunteer to lead the group. If you have never led people before, it will be an eye-opening experience. Avail yourself to the challenge and grasp the opportunity to demonstrate your skill.
This is another one of those experiences that builds your own social skills. You will learn the art of listening to the opinions of others objectively, weighing your options, and then making the best decisions based upon what you have learned. Then you will need to diplomatically, but firmly, explain your decisions to the group. This is an excellent exercise in learning you can never please everyone -- a lesson that can be carried over into other aspects of your life.
4. Seek Variety It is very easy to become lulled into a routine, or even an outright rut. When our routine becomes embedded, the learning process comes to a screeching halt. Actively seek out new experiences, even the ones that might frighten you. They say variety is the spice of life, and it truly is. It is what makes life interesting, entertaining, and fun.
Every challenge you meet and overcome makes you more confident and builds upon your own personal experiences in this crazy world. Experiences keep you grounded and make you a more well-rounded individual. You can use challenges to continue your pursuits of personal growth, or to meet your goals at work.
Accepting new challenges can lead you to the promotion you have been wanting, to the raise you need, or to personal adventure. Meeting a challenge may even mean forming, or strengthening, your most intimate relationships. Once you learn to accept your challenges as an opportunity rather than a chore, you will understand just how beneficial they can be.
David B. Bohl may be contacted at http://firstname.lastname@example.org
In the comments section, tell us:
The biggest challenge you faced in 2016 and how you responded
- Describe the end result
- The biggest challenge you'll face in 2017
- How you plan to accept and overcome this challenge