The Greater The Challenge – The Better The Learning

Facing a challenge today? Welcome to life 101. The question is what do you do with it? Or better still, how do you feel about it? Or, if you are really mature – what can you learn from it. I’m sure with this opening I have already lost some of you. Tired of useless, motivational mumbo jumbo from people who think they know it all but don’t have a clue just spouting inspirational words they think we need when what we really need are practical ideas to use challenges as a learning tool? Believe me – I teach this stuff and I can tell you I am tired of pontification from too many famous people.

So, let me begin with a few basic premises if you are still with me so you can decide if you want to finish this article.

-Failure is necessary for real and lasting success.

-Most people do whatever they can to avoid failure.

-Problems, hardship, trials etc. are normal – no one is immune.

-When you stop learning you stop growing.

-When you stop growing you start dying.

-All success is first and foremost a mindset.

-Everything that comes at us does so to teach us.

-All our reactions to everything in life are driven by our perceptual interpretations.

Need more?

-If you are not risking you are not failing and if you are not failing you are stuck.

-Change is constant and people don’t resist change – they resist losing control.

OK, enough of this – now to the key point – why, when and how can we learn to deal with hardships, challenges, adversity, failures, problems etc. to use them as learning tools and resources?

There are many ways people both interpret and respond to a variety of life’s challenges or trials. Actually, many people don’t even call them challenges but opportunities but more on that another time, for now let’s just stick with how we respond and why and how we can respond if we choose to.

Challenge – question, disagree with, dispute, take issue with, protest against, call into question, object to.

See how we can choose to even define the word differently? For example, what I am referring to here when I say challenge is not the above definition but a – test, trial, difficulty, struggle etc. But I’m sure you are well aware of how words can often be defined differently by different people depending on how they choose to or decide to define them.

But, I digress.

There are basically only three ways to define, deal with or interpret a challenge – denial, acceptance or rejection. And, depending on your definition or interpretation – this will determine your reaction and then potential consequences. For example:

Denial – just because you choose to deny something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Rejection – just because you reject something doesn’t mean it won’t persist.

Acceptance – just because you accept something doesn’t mean it is solved or dealt with in a positive, creative or constructive way.

You see, there is more to the idea of a challenge than just your initial response. What really matters is not just how you define them or your initial reaction to them, but your attitudes about how you will let them influence your life now or in the future. It’s about keeping control of your life or giving it up to others or outside circumstances. By this I don’t mean to imply that there are some situations that we can’t control but even in all of these we still have the power of self-reaction or self-control if and only if we choose to exercise it.

There are consequences to the three reactions above.

Denial – they will tend not to go away or never return. They will need to be dealt with sooner or later – sooner being the better of the two options.

Rejection – you can resist and fight all you want but it’s just reality – life happens and it wants to teach us. Life is not fair or unfair. It doesn’t pick on or reward certain people. Wealth won’t stop cancer. Fame won’t stop a potential accident. Good looks won’t prevent loss. Get it? I don’t care how well off you are – no one and I mean no one regardless of wealth can prevent aging. Oh, sure you can invest a lot in surgeries to make you look better on the outside but trust me – you are still fading on the inside

Acceptance from my perspective is the best option or approach and why? Well, you are on offence and not defense for starters. But the most important thing is you have chosen to take control of something rather than give up control.

I hope you weren’t looking for a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to challenges. Sure, I can give these to you if you want – just shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to give you my list.

What I have tried to do with this article is to ask you to start thinking about how you approach challenges and the impact they have on your life. I hope I was able to create a positive inner dialog.