Some challenges are much easier to do than others. Maybe because they weren’t really challenges to begin with. Maybe they were speed bumps or small hurdles at best. You know, just something to be a minor distraction with their inconveniences as being their biggest quality.
Other challenges are just bigger. In every aspect, they sound bigger..they look bigger…they feel bigger. Not just to you, but to all of us when we hear someone talking about some great idea or dream they have for their life. And our immediate reaction is not typically one of support or encouragement — no, our immediate words make it seem that this challenge is a refusal from us. As if we were the one that needed or wanted to carry out this great feat.
I hear it when I told people I was learning to scuba dive about 9 months ago.
As soon as I told someone I was learning to scuba dive, I heard one common phrase that made this event that I was wanting to do in my life be about them…every one said, “Nope…not me!” with a shake of their head as if I had asked them to join me.
Not one word of encouragement. Not one word of support. Not even a word of advice.
Just fear. Pure freak-out mode on their part for sure.
Because I wasn’t afraid enough as it was…I needed the scrambling to run in the opposite direction to tell me, “You go, girl!”
But then I realized something…and it was only visible in the dust these friends left behind as they scampered to “higher” ground — possibly terrified I might ask them to join me.
That those words of timidness and panic had actually done me a great favor.
Remembering my friends shake their heads with disapproval of my next venture seemed to actually push me forward instead of hold me back.
And that’s when I knew…that a few words would do one of two things…they could hold me back or they could propel me forward.
Lucky for me, I am not the kind of girl who allows a few words to recommend what I should not do.
It would have been easy for me to choose not accept this challenge or any other challenge that I choose to take on in my life. My latest challenge was accomplished just last week when I went skydiving for the first time. (I have one other challenge set for myself this fall.)
Like many of you, I have a list of things I want to do before I leave this Earth and although some of these things may not seem like much, I know that trying them will satisfy something much greater than I could have ever lived with had I not made any attempt.
You see, life will give us chances to experience new things — maybe even things that test us in ways we never could have imagined — and in the accepting of the challenge, we embrace and welcome the feeling of being alive. In that moment, we throw fear out of the window (or plane in my case) and fall (literally) into the unknown.
For many, they never experience the rush of the excitement and adrenaline rushing through their body and instead choose to avoid that euphoric sensation of living really feels like. They pretend to capture it in other ways, but always still feel a little cheated out of something so magnificent that they are unable to describe. They play it safe. Their fear dictates their story and the way they tell it because they refuse to push themselves past the moment of being frightened. That’s where they stop. That’s where they stay.
It’s not where they want to be. They wish they could find the courage to take even the tiniest of steps away from their fear so that the test of their will power would be easier. They want to feel that sense of empowerment and use that to face other seemingly difficult tasks that either meet them or ones they seek.
And because they are in this constant state of evading what they seek the most, they never conquer their fear or are rewarded with the elation that comes with that same action.
They essentially want what they are unwilling to get.
As the years go by, their chances to push the limits seem to be waning and they become bitter and hardened by the moments they realize now have a different perspective…the inner frustration with themselves seems to be riddled with unforgiveness and shame as they accept that those challenges cannot have an outcome full of excitement or a wonderful memory. Instead, what they are left with is a regret that is full of resentment in their own inability to move past their fear.
Don’t let a challenge become a regret.
Some people hold onto those missed opportunities and never let them go while others do their best to “make up for lost time.” Either way, one thing is for certain…
No matter how many mountains we climb or how many planes we jump out of, we will ALL leave things undone. If there is something you want to try — no matter how silly it may sound (taking a DIY class at Home Depot, for example) — do it.
Take every moment and make it something special. Chase a dream. Plant a tree. Play the piano. Ride that roller coaster. Paint that canvas. Build that dream home. Run that marathon. Get on that mechanical bull. Learn to swim. Take that college class.
Get out there and live life….because life itself is a challenge and we decide how we live it.
Michelle A. Homme 2016 ©