The word challenge seems like it's become a buzzword. You're supposed to seek out new challenges and make sure you stay challenged in your professional and personal life. If you're not being challenged, if you're not somehow toiling to overcome a new obstacle or master a new skill, you're going to be bored and won't grow.
I can see the logic of that and agree with it. Just not entirely.
Because I can also see how a person could glorify challenges to the point that they're no longer stopping to celebrate and enjoy where they're at and what they've achieved. That they need a little fight, a little grit to feel what they're doing is valid. That they need the adrenaline of a challenge to feel alive.
That seems a bit manic and not very mindful to me.
I wonder what would happen if we were better at embracing the inherent flow of life. What if recognized that the rhythm of work and rest isn't established only by the calendar? There will be times in our jobs and in our lives that will be busier and harder than others, just as there will be times that are slower and easier. Often, when we forget that (or don't recognize it in the first place), we work against the rhythm by trying to manufacture one state when we're in the other one.
Of course, if it feels like you've been in one of these states for an extended period of time, you might need to adjust your vision. Perhaps you haven't been observant or curious enough to recognize opportunities to climb up the next hill or coast down it. I don't think flow means dropping out. I think it means being actively aware while also being accepting. Being content without being stagnant. Desiring more, yet still loving with what you have.
Achieving that balance isn't simple, for sure, but I see it as a much more worthy challenge than those we'd drum up just to prove we're still relevant.
It’s usually mentioned with a certain amount of guilt. We feel that we should endeavor to escape it, and that doing so is good for us. What is this place that’s apparently not good for us?
Our comfort zones.
I’ve been thinking about our aversion to them and wondering if we’ve been looking at them the wrong way. What if instead of of trying move beyond them, we moved deeper into them?
No, I’m not talking about remaining in your PJs and never leaving your house.
I’m saying that maybe, just maybe, there’s a key buried within the things that make us feel the most at ease that could unlock our potential. Better than trying to abandon them and trying something completely new for the sake of newness. Although we might find new, fruitful experiences by more fully exploring the things that make us feel at home and relaxed. Diving below the surface of these comforts might end up stretching us in a more sincere way than jumping out of the pool and into a lake halfway around the world.
This is also not to say that getting a different perspective on a regular basis isn’t important or shouldn’t be done. We need that to keep our thinking and creativity fresh. But why be dramatic about it?
That’s what I’m weary of—the belief that change has to be big and overt. There’s no need to abandon the best, most natural parts of who you are—or fight with them—in order to grow.
Opinions shared here are my own. They should not be seen as a representation of my employer's views.