The whole world has been lulled into comfort. Everyone wants a microwave solution or a cookie-cutter approach. This mentality has become so prevalent in our culture that people recoil anytime they have to, God forbid, do something hard. Since everything is so easy nowadays, you must learn to challenge yourself from time to time.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy modern conveniences as much as anyone else.
However, it becomes a problem when people need “safe spaces” from “microaggressions” and when everyone gets a trophy for participating. Give me a break… These things do NOTHING to build character; in fact, they make people weak. So how can you snap out of this trap?
By developing a stronger, more robust mentality.
And you can do that by periodically performing difficult tasks. So keep reading to learn 5 reasons why you should challenge yourself more often.
Do you think someone with a gelatinous gut hanging over their belt buckle, licking Cheeto dust from their fingers respects themselves? Not a chance. Unless they’re working to change that, I guarantee they don’t like, love, or value themselves.
Why? Because there’s nothing virtuous about instant gratification. No one ever feels good about themselves when they mindlessly scroll social media, binge-watch Netflix, or indulge in unhealthy foods that are slowly killing them.
These things are fleeting superficial pleasures that gnaw at your confidence and sense of self-worth. But when you start to challenge yourself in ways such as:
- Working out every day
- Eating healthy
- Building a side hustle in your spare time
- Reading instead of scrolling
- Taking cold showers
You begin building self-respect and self-confidence because you see you’re capable of difficult tasks. And in the end, you realize that there is no reward worth having—whether intrinsic or tangible—without effort and struggle.
2. Mental Toughness
As I touched on earlier, we’ve become soft as a society. People actively seek out comfort and avoid struggle. But when you challenge yourself, you cultivate mental toughness within your character and personality. This makes you more effective at handling life’s hardships when they (inevitably) occur.
So try to actively avoid comfort and seek difficulty when possible. This process doesn’t require any extreme measures. You don’t need to become a Navy SEAL or learn a new language. But you do need to get used to performing difficult tasks and being uncomfortable.
You become mentally robust when you’re able to endure little bouts of pain and discomfort. It hardens you.
3. Discipline and Self-Control
This challenge of avoiding comfort is unnatural to us humans. For most of our existence, we’ve been trying to do the opposite; we’ve been searching for comfort and security since our caveman days hundreds of thousands of years ago. So understand this will be difficult at first.
But if you can get a handle on it, you will have an unwavering amount of discipline and self-control in your life. And here are some advantages you’ll enjoy with more self-discipline in your life:
- Greater levels of success and goal achievement
- Helps you build focus and concentration
- Establishes mental fortitude and character
- Controls your urges, impulses, and temptations
- Makes you a leader
- Helps learn new skills much more quickly
- Fast tracks your self-improvement
When you challenge yourself more often (in any capacity), you build your self-discipline muscle. As a result, you become more in control of yourself and your life.
4. Personal Development
Your personal development is directly correlated to your pain tolerance. How long can you study? How hard do you train? How much can you embrace (and sustain) terrible feelings before tapping out? The answers to these questions will determine how much growth you’ll experience.
When you challenge yourself regularly, you develop character and grit. As a result, you become a better, stronger, and more confident person. You believe in yourself and your capabilities more? Why? Because you’ve been to yourself you go handle hardships.
And nothing is as powerful as knowing you can manage the tough times when they come. Because trust me, they will come. Will you be ready?
5. Trust and Integrity
Do you know why most people don’t accomplish their dreams? Because they don’t set goals in the first place. And do you know why they don’t bother setting goals? Because they don’t trust or believe in themselves to accomplish them.
And this lack of self-belief is not inherent—nobody is born a failure.
It’s a learned trait that comes through years of letting yourself down, failing to keep your word, and breaking your promises (to yourself or others) by taking the easy way out too many times. Repeat this process enough, and you’ll have no trust in yourself or personal integrity to follow through on anything grand.
Now that you understand this, you’re probably wondering how you can fix it. It’s simple, and it’s already been mentioned numerous times throughout this article…
You have to challenge yourself more often!
And what’s more, you have to follow through on these challenges; see them through till the end. Here are some ideas to help get you started.
5 Steps to Help You Challenge Yourself in Life
You don’t need to incorporate all of these suggestions. Take the one or two you feel would challenge you the most without pushing you too far over the edge. Then, practice them daily.
- Take cold showers: I have mentioned the benefits of cold showers numerous times on this blog. They will harden you and even improve your mental and physical health, so if you think you got what it takes, start taking a daily cold shower.
- Take the stairs: Whether you’re at the grocery store, coming home to your apartment, or in some office building. Try taking the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator. This simple act builds mental toughness while doubling for exercise.
- Learn a new skill: Developing a new skill is always tough; you can try salsa dancing, martial arts, yoga, public speaking, or anything in between. Learning keeps your mind sharp and is an excellent way to challenge yourself in life.
- Talk to people: Most of us are stuck in our little bubbles. It’s very rare to see strangers engaging with each other. So try creating small talk with random people as you go about your daily life. You don’t have to talk to everyone you come across but aim to strike up a conversation with five to ten new people every week to challenge yourself.
- Switch it up: Do you typically take the same routes to and from work, the gym, to visit friends and family, etc? If so try switching it up and taking new routes to your destinations. You don’t realize how ‘stuck in your ways’ you are until you decide to shake things up a bit.
Are You Ready to Challenge Yourself?
Each challenge you set and follow through on strengthens your character, building you into a better, stronger version of yourself. It won’t always be easy. But when you look in the mirror and feel the pride associated with challenging yourself every day, it will certainly be worth it.
If you need help with gaining control over your habits and actions, I’ve got you covered. Check out my ebook for a crash course on self-discipline and habit formation.