Challenging ourselves is good. Through challenges, we learn important things, such as what we are best at and how we can do things better. We may grow from challenges, thus widening our areas of expertise and becoming more comfortable in pushing ourselves. Through a good challenge, we focus on bettering specific things so that in the future these things may come a bit easier to us. However, sometimes it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture and place our focus on the difficulties of the challenges themselves instead of focusing on our improvements. Through giving ourselves an unrealistic amount of challenges, we may sometimes spread ourselves out too thin and hurt our abilities to succeed.
Through challenging ourselves, we force ourselves to evolve. With less time, resources, or better expectations, we now have to find ways to do better than we had before. In forcing ourselves to do more, we naturally gain more experience. In time, this experience will result in knowledge. Whenever I feel uncomfortable doing something new, I try to remind myself that it is sometimes good to be uncomfortable. While doing something I’m not quite good at, but that is good and beneficial for me, I may at first feel uncomfortable. When I went to College, I was at first uncomfortable with living away from home. I didn’t know anyone, didn’t have a car, and wasn’t that great at school. But day by day, I felt more comfortable because I made friends, found ways to get places, and became a better thinker. All of these things are good things that only resulted from me pushing myself out of my house and into something uncomfortable.
However, sometimes we get caught up in the challenges we have, and focus just on how difficult they may be, instead of how we will get better from accepting them. We may get lost in our challenges, and forget what we actually had wanted to achieve through them. Through giving ourselves too many challenges, we may start to only do the bare minimum, resulting in understanding only the surface level of deeper things.
Recently, I had to limit the amount of times I worked my on campus job at the office. Basketball season had started to pick up, and midterms had hit me hard. I was disillusioned with my standings in some of my classes, and realized that I had to readjust my schedule to give me more time for my studies. Although it was hard to decrease my hours at the office, I realized that it was the best thing for me to do because I had been spreading myself out too thin. I had lost sight of the big picture. Seeing some of my grades really notified me that I was not where I wanted to be in my studies and that I wasn’t focused enough on learning. Instead, I was too distracted by the other uses of my time to put enough time in my studies.
Through recognizing our challenges and understanding their goals, we may be able to grow in great ways. However, if we challenge ourselves in too many ways, we may never actually put enough energy into things and get great results. We should, instead, focus on fewer things at one time and get good at them so that we can pile on more challenges later. By becoming experts in our initial challenges, we may use the skills we learned from these and apply them in the future.
Jessica De Gree
Jessica teaches English as a second language in Spain and plays basketball professionally there. She recently received her Bachelor's degree from Hillsdale College, one of the nation's top Liberal Arts schools in MI. At Hillsdale, she played basketball and studied English and Spanish. Some of her hobbies include reading, writing, painting, surfing, and playing the piano.