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How To Take Hard Challenges And What Are The Benefits Of Hard Challenges

How To Take Hard Challenges And What Are The Benefits Of Hard Challenges
Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay

This year, I’m doing a series of 40-day discomfort challenges, as a way to continue my training in falling in love with discomfort and uncertainty.

It’s a training I’ve been doing for 1 1/2 decades now, but I’ve been deepening into it even more in the last 5 years. And now I train others in it, in my Fearless Training Program — the uncertainty & discomfort of doing your meaningful work.

This year is going to be a further deepening into that training. I’m going to swim in the deep waters, out of love for life and those who I serve.

I’ll tell you more about my challenges, but first, let’s talk about what hard challenges can do for us.

The Benefits of Hard Challenges

Why do this at all? Someone asked me that on Twitter yesterday: “What are you trying to prove, and who are you trying to prove it to?” I love that question!

With these hard challenges, I’m trying to prove that difficulty, discomfort, uncertainty, resistance and fear are nothing to fear. That we don’t have to run from things because they are hard or scary, or because we feel resistance.

Even further, I’m trying to prove that we can fall in love with discomfort and challenge, bring play and curiosity in the middle of uncertainty and fear, find joy in the middle of chaos and groundlessness.

Who am I trying to prove it to? Myself. And all of you. In service of doing something meaningful in the world.

Imagine that you have some meaningful work you’d like to do — write a book, grow a community, give a voice to others, support those in need, inspire, teach, serve. But with meaningful work comes uncertainty and discomfort, and these can hold us back because we run from them. Why not just enjoy life and forget about my meaningful work? You can do that, and it would be great, but you can also do your meaningful work, and it can be awesome as well.

In addition to that … hard challenges are incredible! They can:

  • Teach us that we can adapt to discomfort
  • Show us the beauty of uncertainty and not knowing
  • Help us find growth in failure and loss
  • Prove that we have the courage to do what we fear
  • Give ourselves evidence of our resilience, grit, determination, commitment
  • Help us to grow in new and unexpected ways
  • Show us what our patterns are when we feel discomfort & uncertainty — if we don’t challenge ourselves to do hard things, it’s almost impossible to see what our patterns are, except of course the avoidance of doing hard things

Each of you has done something hard, maybe many hard things: run a marathon, given birth, raised kids, completed hard projects, dealt with relationship or health difficulties, and much more. These are some of the most meaningful things we can do, and they teach us so much!

Our growth and learning are greatest when the comfort zone ends, and it can also be the most meaningful and joyful parts of our lives as well.

My Year of Hard Challenges

So I’m going to prove all of that with a series of 40-day challenges where I face my own discomfort and fear.

Written by Leo Babauta

Leo Babauta is a simplicity blogger & author. He created Zen Habits, a Top 25 blog with a million readers. He’s also a best-selling author, a husband, father of six children, and a vegan. In 2010 moved from Guam to California, where he leads a simple life.
He’s also a Zen student, and is on a mission to help the world open through uncertainty training.
Buy his books here

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