Choosing The Challenge
CHOOSING THE CHALLENGE
By Ruth Monk
I love stability and structure and routine. In fact I thrive on it. I like its security, I like its discipline.
And then I don’t.
All of a sudden I find myself saying yes to suggestions when they come along. – Yes, I’ll learn to teach flow. Yes, I’ll take on that new role at work. Yes, I’ll go canyoning. Or (most recently) Yes, I’ll write a blog. That’s when the panic sets in. What do I know about writing a blog…I write worksheets and resources for teenagers and school reports. The last time I wrote anything of length I was at university and it was an essay towards my Science degree. And I’m pretty sure a blog is different to writing a scientific essay. But I said yes for a reason. I need a challenge and I want to try something new.
So why should we challenge ourselves, and try new things?
1. It helps us to grow as an individual, to learn more about yourself and your own limits. It teaches you to be spontaneous, humble, focussed and patient.
2. You learn new skills – and that can never be a bad thing.
3. You gain a new awareness. You might gain a new perspective or see the world from someone else’s point of view.
4. By challenging yourself you are keeping your mind healthy, and many studies show that this helps us as we age.
So the next bit…well, it’s the hard part. Because it’s scary trying new things. We feel resistance. And often dread. That awful voice in the back of your mind – “what are you thinking, you can’t do that, you’re crazy” As adults we hate the idea of not being good at something. We really, really hate the idea of looking foolish. Children live with a constant worldview of ‘I wonder if I can…?” When do we lose that?
Sometimes the challenge, logically, shouldn’t be that hard. Going to a group fitness class for the first time. Trying a class you have never tried before. Writing down your thoughts. But the fear of the unknown and the fear of not knowing can stop us.
Everyone hates being new at something. We know that we will probably not be very good at it. In fact, we might even be quite bad at it. My first few times at a Step class were horrific. To this day I don’t know how I didn’t break something, I was so uncoordinated. But we need to remember that it’s normal to be bad at new things, even if it can feel uncomfortable or frustrating. I think it would be fair to say I hated Step for several weeks (I love step now). But if we are not prepared to be a beginner then we are limiting ourselves, when we are thinking that we are protecting ourselves.
A quote from Vincent Van Gough sums it up “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’, then paint, and that voice will be silenced” That feeling when you finally do something, and you discover that you can do more than you thought you were capable of is one of the best feelings in the world.
So ask yourself – when was the last time you did something for the first time.
And then just say yes.
Yes, I’ll write that blog.
Yes, I’ll try that gym class you’ve mentioned.
Yes, I will choose that challenge even though I feel scared.
And it will be ok.
This is my first blog, written for MPOWR’s first gym. Both of these things have taken courage and I know with time things will only improve. But we have taken the first step.
So I challenge you… what first step, what challenge, what new thing will you take on this month?