Building a Better You: Why You Should Never Turn Down a Challenge

It’s easy to walk the safe line. It’s comfortable and familiar; something we know, something we don’t fear and something we’re not admittedly afraid of. It’s easy to do the easy thing – and if we’re honest, it’s much more boring.
From the minute we’re welcomed to the earth, screaming crying, confused and brand new, we’re faced with choices. Usually, our parents and caretakers are the ones making them for us.
They choose the safe things, the things that protect us and keep us out of harm’s way. As we grow up and take on more responsibility, we earn the right to make our own choices, to keep ourselves out of harm’s way. We learn to protect ourselves.
And we discover whether or not we want to tow the line between safe and secure; whether we want to do the easy thing. Or whether we want to challenge ourselves.
More often than not, we choose the easy thing: we take the train route home that we’re familiar with because it’s easier. We order from the same restaurant up the block because we know the menu best.
We reach for the same LBD anytime there’s an event to go to because we know it works, and we know it fits, even if that patterned and tailored dress just stares longingly back at us in the closet every time we choose against it.
We keep the job on the East Coast because even though the offer from the West Coast office was way more thrilling and invigorating, we know the East Coast. We’re comfortable here. It’s easy.
We get so caught up in doing the easy thing that we lose sight of how important the challenge is and how good it feels to force ourselves to work harder for something; to fight harder for something; to dream bigger and to will ourselves to do the thing we’re scared to do.
Sometimes we get some comfortable standing at the bottom of the mountain that we forget there’s a breathtaking view from the top.
But we should be challenging ourselves. When we do the easy things, the things that are comfortable and simple and don’t take much thought because we’ve rehearsed them in our heads so often that we could do them in our sleep, we’re not learning anything.
We’re not trying anything new. We’re not jumping out of our comfort zones and letting the fresh, rare air hit our faces and taking in the new smells and tastes and touches.
When we’re doing the easy things, we’re just doing them. The challenging things — like uprooting our lives for a move cross-country that doesn’t come with any promises or quitting our jobs for a new profession that we’re not certain we’ll love or hate — those are the things, the moments, the memories, the experiences that we smell and touch and taste. They linger. They change us. And we are never the same because we are suddenly and instantaneously better. We are made braver.
Challenging ourselves makes things happen. Sometimes they’re things that we don’t want to happen – like failing and falling short – and other times, when we get it right, the things that come from challenging ourselves are more satisfying and amazing and fulfilling than we’d ever even dreamed.
So while it’s easy to run in the opposite direction and to keep what’s easy and simple and safe near and dear to your heart, you should run toward and challenge. It will feed you, satisfy your soul, lift you up and make you stronger. You’ll be braver, more powerful, more self-assured and self-aware.
You’ll be a doer, not a dreamer.

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