However much we talk about the enjoyment of being challenged, deep down within everyone is a little part which says ‘I don’t ever want to be challenged’.
When we talk about ‘challenging ourselves’ it is about taking ourselves to boundaries that we have defined. Pushing ourselves to what we know we can do. How often would you be willing to try something which you thought there was a large risk you would fail? Generally speaking I’d be too afraid of the challenge, preferring instead to push myself to what I think my limits are and not going out of reach of them.
But the other part of challenging is we want to be the one setting our challenges. We don’t think that other people have the knowledge or power to decide what we are capable of or to make us do it. We don’t like being challenged about our beliefs or actions by another person. Part of this is pride, we often don’t like to hear that we’re wrong. And we also think that no one knows us as well as we know ourselves. And if we know ourselves best, then we are the ones who know what we can cope with best.
But once or twice I have ignored what I thought and avoiding thinking about what I thought I could and couldn’t do. I let someone else set the challenge for me. . . . And I had fun. I’ve done my best and finished things that I didn’t think I was capable of. I wanted to stop part way through and at the time didn’t like being challenged by another person. But I passed the limits someone else set.
My own experience has shown me that sometimes I don’t always know my limits and sometimes other people know me more than I do. I think I’ll always tend to set challenges within my safe limits, but there’ll be times where I’ll take the advice of someone else and try what they set. And whether I pass or fail, I can still enjoy the challenge. I might not complete it to my standards, but doing what I think is impossible is a pretty incredible feeling.