Do you challenge yourself on purpose?
I’m referring to any activity that puts a beat down on you. Perhaps physically? Maybe mentally? Even emotionally? All of the above?
There are fitness exercises, memory games like this one, bikini waxes (ouch!), trying to sit down for an extended period of time without thinking (meditation), public speaking, cold showers, rock climbing, skydiving, and so many more...
I've never done rock climbing or skydiving. Oh yeah, nor have I got a bikini wax (shifty eyes). I may try skydiving one day. No promises.
Here’s the deal, if you find an activity that kicks your ass, go for it. And keep on going for it.
You don’t even have to like it; it’s the pain or challenge that you’re after. All the beatings you'll take will translate into your ability to persevere in all things that you undertake. After all, a key ingredient to growth and success is your ability to persist. That’s powerful.
My challenge is running.
Back story: The only running I’d ever done was in my middle school P.E. class. I ran the “Tiger Trail.” That’s what my school called it anyway. Then in eighth grade I switched schools; there it was called the “Panther Path.” Another thing I did in middle school was mooch off my friend Howard during lunch. He always had money. I think his parents were rich.
The truth is, I absolutely hated running. So boring. Plus, I never wanted to exert myself physically. When I did do the dreaded cardio, it was either on a treadmill or an elliptical machine at the gym (that’s like riding a bike with training wheels as your grandma pushes).
But in early 2014, I started running around my neighborhood in the mornings at 7:00 AM. Tuesday-Friday. Every week. (Monday I do an ab video. I know you were wondering.)
No walking. I run the entire thing. Every time. That was my self-commitment when I began leg travel, and I am dead serious about it. I don’t tell you this to brag, but rather to illustrate a point.
These small daily struggles help build up our power to endure all challenges—an important ingredient when life refuses to cooperate.
The strange thing is, now I love the feeling of punishment. Absolutely love it. I try to inflict pain on my body every run. If I get a little tired, I run faster. If I get a cramp, I push myself harder. “Bring it on!” I tell myself.
I am no super athlete or anything like that, and my mile times are weak as hell, but you know what? That’s beside the point! It’s strictly about the personal challenge. Running, or more specifically, the battle that running gives me, weaves value into my life and especially public speaking where I spend much of my time.
In fact, the punishment I get when running reminds me of the fear that public speaking once evoked in me. Similarly, I would fight against the fear like I fought against running as an exercise. I didn’t want to go through the struggle.
Yet, when I finally accepted the pain (fear), I stopped running from it. I ceased getting mad when it would hi-jack my mind and instead, accepted it. It became just another part life, like eating or sleeping. It became normal.
Having a challenging anchor in your life can assist you in other areas of your life, too. Particularly areas that test your grit.
Turn the tables on what scares you or what brings you dread. Make it a friend; invite it over for tea. Then pour that tea into other parts of your life.
You can use these self-imposed challenges to bulk up your ability to persevere. This is a powerhouse quality that's crucial to your personal growth.
So, what do you challenge yourself with?
If nothing yet, get something. You’ll be painstakingly glad that you did. I guarantee it.
I CHALLENGE you to share this post. You'll grow like a champ!
About this guy...
Howdy! My name is Matt Kramer and I used to suffer excruciating death when speaking in front of a group, now I LOVE it. Overcoming this fear has changed my life and it can change yours, too. My focus is to help you overcome the fear of public speaking so you can build the confidence to go after what you want in life.