I have come across various stories about people taking up challenges like climbing mountains, Running hundreds of miles, Walking through the Sahara, Doing intense physical challenges and generally doing hard things. It always amazes me how people take up such arduous tasks with no external rewards involved.
I have come to realise that when people do stuff like this they are either running way from something or running after something. Some people do it for survival like trying to get away from war and keep their families alive. Other people do it to satisfy something deep within.
I remember once when my family and I travelled to Olumo Rock. Olumo rock is a tourist site in Abeokuta, Nigeria, it is a mountain about 137meters above sea level. An elevator and stairs have been designed to make it easy for people to climb up but there is still an old path that has no stairs. Our guide offered to take us through the old path and I agreed to go with him, on the way I saw people turning back but I didn’t change my mind, when we got to the mid-point I started questioning myself “why did you choose this hard path?” but then I remember the feeling of pride and satisfaction when I met my family at the top of the mountain. That feeling we get after attempting and succeeding at something quite hard cannot be attained any other way.
Here are 7 reasons I believe people take up challenges;
It is human craving
I believe deep within us as humans there is a desire to conquer something. We somehow know that we have Gods spirit on our inside and that spirit craves big challenges. Something inside us tells us we could be better and there is no end to that improvement.
We level up
Have you ever played those computer games that after every though challenge you level up? I must confess I don’t do well with games but one thing I know is that after a very tough challenge you get to level up. Same thing with life when we go through challenges we grow and level up. The thing with us humans is that we can either choose to avoid challenges and choose the easy way or we could choose the hard way and do the hard things required to level up.
We get to stretch and grow our capacity
The best things in life come through some sort of pressure. Think about it, having a good marriage, having a baby, growing a business, learning a skill. Even things that seem free were given because someone else went through the pressure or sacrificed to make it free for you. What I am saying is we grow and stretch and become better through some form of challenge. What we are today came through the challenges we went through before, like school, studying for exams, training. Those challenges brought us to the place that we are now. How many people will want to be treated by a doctor who didn’t study or go through the hardship of residency – not me.
We get to open up the way for others
Recently Eluid Kipchoge trained and ran the first under 2hrs Marathon, that is He ran 42km in under 2hours. Meaning he was running a kilometer at 2.50 minutes for 42km. Now that’s a big one. What that record means for runners is that it is possible. It can be done. Once you show people something is possible by doing it, a lot of people open up their minds to believe that it can be done. When we conquer challenges people around us are given free tickets to do the same. We become an inspiration to others when we do hard things and conquer.
We grow mentally.
When we put ourselves through challenges we develop mental strength and we are able to go through similar challenges without fear. We think differently. Things don’t seem so difficult anymore. I wrote about how a 30 day challenge affected my mind here.
We gain self-respect
Self-respect is a boost to our egos, when we do hard things we build self-respect and courage. We don’t need anybody massaging our ego because we are aware of our capabilities.
We grow character
There are so many stories of people that grew character through doing hard things. There are some potentials in us that only awaken when we take up challenges.
Don’t run away from challenges, do hard things build your brain and muscles. Don’t be a willy-nilly human that is controlled by cravings, shortcuts and easy way out. Be a conqueror you will grow capacity and become an inspiration along the way.