The Challenge Mindset is How you Become Better, Stronger, and More Successful
If we want to achieve success, we must adopt the challenge mindset. We want to have an outlook that seeks challenge as great opportunity. We need to look at the challenges of our life, and the world, as opportunities and seek to grow by overcoming difficult times.
Here’s why we need to be always seeking challenge:
Humans Hate Challenge
Challenge is the hard things in life. And they’re different for all of us. My challenges are not the same as your challenges. What I find easy, may be what you find hard. And so, challenge is hard.
We humans generally hate to be challenged. We hate the struggle of overcoming obstacles and we hate looking bad when we fail. We much rather take the easy path; the path we know we can handle. And even if we don’t look good doing it, of even if it doesn’t lead to the results we want, we still prefer to take on the easy way.
This is obviously not everyone.
However, from my work with students, and from general observation, the vast majority of us do choose the easy way. We avoid challenge either because it’s easy or because we fear failure.
No one likes to look bad. And why work harder than you need to?
How I learned the Challenge Mindset
On the other hand, some people love challenge. I ultimately learned the challenge mindset from my students.
I first came to learn about the benefits of challenge on leadership camp. I was new to teaching and the opportunity came up to go on leadership camp with the students. Now, I’m not sure why I ended up volunteering, but something seemed valuable in this kind of experience, this challenge.
The students on this camp were what you considered the natural leaders, the competitors, the confident go-getters. What I realised as I observed them, is that they relished the challenge. They saw it as an opportunity to prove themselves and to grow and become better.
They took on the activities on camp as fun. They threw themselves into problem solving, teambuilding, and competition with joy. They fell and instead of worrying about looking bad, they laughed about it and challenged themselves to try again.
Then back at school they took on challenges as leaders. They took classes with the younger kids, teaching them about school, stress, bullying, relationships, and all those difficult subjects. And they took on public speaking at assemblies. All of this while still keeping up with the demands of a hectic final year of school.
These were great lessons for me.
I was one of the ones who hated challenge. After seeing the success of these kids, I realised I needed more challenge in my life if I was going to achieve my potential and grow towards the success I wanted.
These kids were an inspiration to me; though, from my observations, these students are in the minority.
Another great Lesson:
Since those days, I have begun to challenge myself and now it has become an everyday mindset.
I challenged myself to travel alone. I challenged myself to teach overseas. I then got married, had a child, started blogging, writing poetry, publishing, taking on leadership at school events … all things that would have terrified me years ago. Now, I’m actually excited as I look for new challenges to take on.
Ultimately, if we want to achieve success, we want to adopt the mindset that seeks challenge, not the mindset that shrinks from challenge. We need to look at the challenges of the world as opportunities and seek to grow by overcoming difficult times.
Challenge Mindset Makes us Stronger
Put in the simplest form I’ve found:
“These muscles expand by demand” (Tony Robbins quoting heavy weight boxing champ Gene Tunney)
When asked how he got such big muscles, Gene Tunney replied that every day he lifted weights; he forced his muscles to work against huge amounts of weight. Or in other words, he made them work hard, he challenged his muscles to lift more than they were comfortable with, and thus they had to expand and get bigger to handle the load.
This is how challenge works. We force ourselves to do more than we are comfortable with, and by doing that, we get stronger.
When once we could do one push up, by forcing ourselves through the struggle, now we can do 10. And if we keep pushing, then we can do 15, 20, 100.
When once we were scared talking to strangers, then we became capable of talking to classes of people, then whole assemblies of people.
One step at a time, challenge makes us stronger.
Of course, we don’t want to try for too much in one go.
One step at a time, we get stronger.
But sometimes the world, or the universe, or God, throws great challenges at us. They seem too great and they threaten to break us.
The weak mindset is to see these as unfair, to complain or to fall into victim behaviours.
The challenge mindset is to acknowledge the greatness of the struggle, to take the hit, to seek help if needed, but to strive to overcome in the end.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
The challenge mindset helps you to seek ways to grow stronger and helps you to deal with great moments of tragedy. When faced with these tragedies, it is fine to acknowledge the huge impact, but the challenge mindset encourages us to accept the struggle and forces us to get stronger; to expand by demand.
Challenge Mindset is also Interesting
“Challenges are a part of everyday life. They make us stronger and without them life becomes somewhat meaningless because we have nothing to compare the good times to.”www.scmp.com
Challenge makes life interesting. If our days are full of lounging around watching movies and being lazy, life becomes one long meaningless stretch of pointless time. Challenge gives meaning to life and it makes life interesting. Imagine the long expanse of history without all the challenges and conflicts; how boring if there was no growth, no evolution, struggle, victory and defeat.
It is the struggles and the heartaches, the triumphs and the joys of experience and adventure that make life worth living.
The challenge mindset encourages us to look at life this way. We see the adventure of life, we see problems and struggles as hurdles to overcome. We see our limitations as areas to work on and we go forward with faith that we can find a way. By expanding, by collaborating, by becoming creative, or evolving, or even cheating or changing the rules of the game. We have great potential, but it must be unlocked. And challenge is the key.
For more on why challenge is good for us, see my poem: The Best Things in Life.
The Growth Mindset
This challenge mindset is not new, it has been championed for a while now, but by another name:
“Dr. Dweck coined the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. When students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore, they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement.”www.mindsetworks.com
And we obviously know all sporting achievements are based on the challenge mindset.
And I recall the great words of John F. Kennedy:
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
[Address at Rice University, September 12 1962]”
― John F. Kennedy
So, whether it is overcoming intellectual challenges, or physical challenges, or doing the hard things of life, if we see them as challenges and we seek to overcome, then we become stronger and we attack life with positivity.
The challenge mindset forces us to become more, to be positive, to accept responsibility and see our potential.
The victim mindset sees things as too hard, and leads to automatic failure, apathy and depression.
Challenges for the world
Now, given the great challenges of the future; global warming, automation, AI, overpopulation, depression, drug addiction, global conflict, depression and suicide, and on and on, this mindset is vital for us to take on and to teach to our kids.
Already we see the great threats of depression and suicide in children who are scared of the stresses and problems of the future. We see the anger and frustration in young people screaming about the horrible legacy of pollution and climate crisis they are inheriting.
Well, we need to change these mindsets. Yes, life is tough. No, it’s not fair. Yes, life will be a struggle. But it is the struggles and the challenges that will make the human race greater. We will evolve and adapt and work out creative and dynamic solutions to all these problems.
But that only happens when we take on a challenge mindset; we become positive and bold, resourceful and entrepreneurial; we accept the challenge and have faith that we have the power to shape our destiny.
Set your Challenge Goals and Strive for Success
And these are the kind of people we love. And these should be the kind of people we aspire to be.
The challenge mindset is the key to empowerment and a life of positivity and success.
Are you up to the challenge.
For more winning mindsets that will help you achieve success, check out:
Mission to success.
The mission for success is to take our life to the level of awesome. We are actively learning the lessons that will bring us more success, that will improve the future for our children and will help make the world a better place.
If that’s something you want for your life, feel free to come join the mission for success by clicking here: Mission for Success!
All the best, and remember to keep striving for success.