4 Tips for Meeting Challenges Successfully
A Dose of Reality and Some Common Sense
Meeting challenges successfully can be daunting. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Otherwise, it wouldn’t be called a challenge. A challenge is meant to be a test. In fact, some of the synonyms and antonyms listed by Merriam-Webster include: arduous, backbreaking, demanding, difficult, grueling, hard, herculean, rigorous, strenuous, tough, rugged, severe, formidable, and laborious. It tests your physical strength, mental capacity, agility, determination, discipline, willpower, skill level, etc.
By now, some people are probably thinking that challenges don’t sound like much fun. And granted, sometimes challenges suck. But there are some that challenge you in areas that you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s running or cycling and you’re training for a marathon. Maybe it’s competing in your first bodybuilding competition. Or maybe you’re signing up for a chess match. It could even be joining the next Inktober. Regardless of what it is, we all have challenges that we absolutely dread and others that we can’t wait to meet head on. Inktober 2018 for example, was one that artists around the world, including yours truly, was looking forward to with much anticipated joy.
So just how does one go about meeting challenges successfully, whether it’s one we look forward to or not?
- Positive Thinking. The word “can’t” is used far too often today and usually without thinking. The word itself is a simple one, but one that can cause detrimental damage to one’s psyche and self-esteem. That one little word very effectively closes and locks doors in your mind. It shuts out any possibility of improvement or making progress and keeps you stuck. Change your mindset by using words like, ‘I currently struggle with _____.’ That small shift in vocabulary acknowledges the challenge you face, but leaves the door open just a crack, giving you the opportunity to keep pushing your way through it even if you do so one millimeter at a time.
- Proper Planning. There are usually several things to plan for in any given challenge. You may have to dedicate a slot of time to focus on your challenge, which may mean having a discussion with family and friends about reserving that time for your goals. It may mean making sure you have the necessary supplies or equipment so that you don’t have to disrupt your flow in order to restock. Maybe it would require clearing a specific space in your home to work on this challenge. The point is to prepare your environment and your schedule so that conditions are optimal for you to work uninterrupted by people, pets, or clutter.
- Eliminate Distractions. This one goes without saying, really. We now live in an age rife with distractions. Email, phone calls, social media, phone apps, and the very vast and distracting world wide web. If you’re serious about your goals and the challenges you face, it would behoove you to disconnect for the time you’ve allotted to focus on them. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can ignore the texts or notifications. You know what happens. You only intend to look at just that one thing, but that leads you to scrolling through to the next and the next and the next. And before you know it, thirty minutes has flown by. Your best bet is to leave the tech in another room or turned off. Don’t worry…the internet will still be there when you’re done.
- Never Give Up. Going in we already know it’s going to be tough, right? So don’t expect perfection right out of the gate. There has never been, nor will there ever be an expert at anything who has ever gotten it perfectly from the beginning. You will be no exception. It’s a given that you will make mistakes. You will stumble, and you will fall. Obstacles will always present themselves right in the middle of your path. Consider it the universe’s way of seeing how badly you want to reach your goal. But one thing is certain…nobody who quits ever conquers the challenge. It’s been said that Thomas Edison made 1,000 mistakes before he created a working lightbulb, but he didn’t consider them mistakes. He is quoted as saying, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The lightbulb is an invention with 1,000 steps.” The variation of that quote is, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. I simply learned 1,000 ways to not make a lightbulb.” He is also quoted as saying, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Increasing Your Odds
It’s not rocket science. It really is common sense and maybe that why it escapes most people. The best thing you can do is to set up your environment so that it’s geared towards the best chances for success by eliminating distractions and getting yourself in the right head space. This may require anticipating the smallest things. Go to the bathroom just before getting to work. Make sure you’ve made yourself a nice cup of tea or coffee so you don’t decide you want one ten minutes after getting started. Nobody knows yourself better than you, so learn to anticipate you!
By following these four tips, meeting challenges successfully goes from improbable to totally doable. It’s like stacking the deck in your favor and who wouldn’t want that?