Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Constantly challenging yourself makes challenges less challenging

“And the eight and final rule, if this is your first night at fight club – you have to fight.”

Tyler Durden

When I first thought about writing this article I doubted myself. I questioned if what I know about this subject would be valuable enough to spread to other people. Then I read the title of the article and reconsidered.

What is a challenge? To me, a challenge is something that requires courage. Doing something with fear in your body, or doing something that you do not even consider possible for yourself to do. Challenging yourself is not the same thing as doing something that other people consider strong, courageous or morally correct. Or, to do something that you would consider a challenge compared to what the people around you are doing.

To challenge yourself means to look within. What would require courage for me to go through with right now? Not what challenged you yesterday, but what can actually create that nervous feeling inside of your chest and gut right in this moment. I believe there are few moments in life that could not be made challenging.

Making excuses is the opposite of challenging yourself. For example, if you have decided to step up socially and express yourself freely, you might believe that the only way to challenge yourself in that area is to go out and meet people and push your comfort zone, outside your home. Wrong.

It sure is the most effective way to do that, but let us say that you are not able to leave your house for a couple of nights to do that. What then? Do you comfortably sink deep into your couch and watch Horatio speak one liners left and right? Hell no, you find other ways to challenge yourself.

Challenging yourself comes down to making a decision. And when that decision has been made, you find a way to challenge yourself even though the external circumstances are not the most appropriate. You can even challenge yourself just by using pure imagination.

If you are somebody who has regularly challenged yourself for a long period of time, you have surely encountered other people throwing limiting beliefs at you. “You can not do this, what if that happens?” “No do not do that, other people will think you are weird”. Speaking from my own experience, the limiting beliefs other people will throw at you will mostly circle around a)Something bad will happen in the future if you try this or that. Or b)Other people will not approve you.

These limiting beliefs might seem very strong and that is because they are very often tied together in a web. For example, doing something that other people are not immediately going to approve can be tied together with failure, or embarrassment. When in reality, it really has nothing to do with that, at all.

Creating a lifestyle for yourself where you constantly challenge yourself is a way to find out which limiting beliefs, created by social conditioning, that are in reality completely false and has nothing to do with with who you are. This leads to creating a reality for yourself with less and less beliefs to hold onto, and furthermore these beliefs can possibly not be tied into a web because you find out the truth about them. (Limiting beliefs are a very very common way for people to draw a false feeling of security from) On the surface your new reality might look as weak, but in reality it is stronger.

Brad Blanton, the writer of Radical Honesty, describes this as living in comfortable uncertainty.

It becomes comfortable because it is your new way of looking at things, your new way of life.

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