What is Life Without Challenges?
Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.
Do you challenge yourself? Do you push yourself to do things that are hard? Do you make your life difficult for no other reason than to make sure you have what it takes when times are tough? Do you leave the comfort zone and attempt to grow?
Years ago, life was hard. Really hard. Like getting up at 4am to feed the chickens and goats before you milk the cows hard. Like making sure the horses are fed and shod so you can make the weekly journey to town hard. Like making your own clothes hard.
I can remember the older people in my family and in my wife’s family spinning yarns about how tough life was. I can also remember them making statements about how they didn’t want their children to have to experience that tough life. Then following up by complaining about how soft the next generation has become. Irony at its best.
Since the 1950s there have been hundreds of inventions designed to make life simpler. They all had the same idea in their ads, let this device do the work so you can get back to what’s important.
But did we ever, really?
Now we have the Jetson future. We talk out loud and a machine makes a grocery list. We push a button on the phone and the oven starts, the A/C changes temp, the garage door opens. We don’t even need to record our favorite shows anymore. We put it off until the end of the season and binge it all at once.
Our lives are the exemplar of convenience, ease, and comfort. We buy $3000 mattresses so we can get the best 3 hours of sleep possible. Our homes are HEPA approved, completely climate controlled, and sound proofed. Even our cars are HEPA filtered and can park themselves. They are equipped with 18 speakers for the best surround sound environment and entirely soundproofed and cozy.
Are we any better? As a people, I mean?
We have all this and complain we don’t have any money. We have all this and complain our kids are entitled and soft. The military has trouble enlisting recruits because they can’t do one pushup and whine like little bitches if someone yells at them.
Are we any better?
I’m not saying life was better when we stored meat in a cellar and simply cut the green mold off the outside before putting it in the roaster pan. It wasn’t easier when polio and smallpox were around. But we were better. We were stronger. We withstood more. We didn’t complain and make a temper tantrum scene and yell threats because the server put too much ketchup on our sandwich.
I think it all begins with challenges. Do we push ourselves?
Do we do things the hard way to force us to grow? Do we take on new things that require us to do hard work? Do we fail at something repeatedly to become good at it?
I think this is where the martial arts excels. Martial arts forces you to break a huge goal into tinier chunks. Each chunk has its own goals. Each goal has its own parts that must be mastered. There is pain in martial arts. Pain in stretching. Pain in getting hit. Pain in physical effort. Pain in failure. Pain in not getting it right even after weeks of trying. Yeah I could never quite get the tornado kick right.
The same could be said for learning an instrument, taking a cooking class, studying Yoga or Tai Chi, or learning a new language. Of course, you won’t get punched so much learning guitar….well, depending on the teacher. Lol
A few hundred years ago, men had a rite of passage. Before a child could be called a man, sit and talk with the men, go hunting with the men, or pass the pipe with the men, he had to go through a ritual. He had to pass some arduous test. For some, it was a solitary hunt, for others, building something, for others, the sweat lodge or a vision quest. I’ve participated in a sweat lodge. When the man Native running it told me our suffering carries our prayers to spirit, he wasn’t joking. The child must do something hard, and suffer at it, he must pass through a crucible. Then he was a man. He put his toys away and joined the men.
We don’t do this anymore. Adult men still live at home, playing video games and watching cartoons. Men aren’t expected to be men. Men aren’t expected to perform, to protect, to provide. The ugly number of broken families supports this hypothesis.
We make sure our children don’t suffer. They are never challenged. At one time, helicopter moms, tiger moms, and Karens were exemplified as the perfect role models. Their children never had to suffer adversity. They were never challenged. If they didn’t make the team, mommy made sure the child got on the team, and then got to play more often that other kids, and then got first string. Even if the child sucked. Kid didn’t get an A, go to the principal. Children were never expected to put out for themselves.
Years ago, a lady came to me as a client. She wouldn’t tell me what the real issue was, just that she was stressed. After the session she began to open up about the core issue. She was stressed over her adult daughter. The daughter was now married and the young couple occasionally had hard times. Mom often paid for their dinners and groceries and kept their home worry free. It pushed mom to the edge trying to provide the strain free existence for her daughter and her husband.
I asked her how long she and her husband had been married. 32 years. I asked if they came home from their fancy four star honeymoon and moved into their 2500 sq ft house with three car garage with white picket fence and two Lincolns and a house boat. They had lobster every Friday and steak most other nights of the week. She laughed and said she still doesn’t have that. I suggested she had a steady diet of Stove Top and Kraft Mac N Cheese and cold cuts. She wholeheartedly agreed. I told her I did the same.
I asked her if those tough times made her and her husband who they are today. Are they better people having gone through those arduous and uncertain times.
Then why would you deny your daughter that same growth?
When birds are hatched, they are totally dependent on the momma bird. They are fed by mouth. They are kept warm. They are protected.
BIRDS NEVER LEARN TO FLY FROM THE NEST
When the season has ended and it’s time for the bird to fly, momma kicks them from the nest. They flop down onto the fallen leaves. Then momma sits on a nearby branch and watches painfully as the young bird learns to fly. They flop, they flit, they fail. They fail again. They fail some more. Eventually, after a few hours, they fly a couple of feet. Then a few more. Then a few more. It takes all afternoon.
Momma can’t help. She can’t instruct. She can’t learn it for them.
Momma’s only duty is to watch for cats. That’s all she can do.
Sometimes, to create tougher children, we must let them fail. Let them fall. But we can’t teach them what we haven’t learned ourselves. We must first go through some hard times. We must challenge ourselves every single day. We must do the hard things over and over again. We lead by example.
We become stronger by our challenges. We become tougher by failure. We learn by being uncomfortable. We succeed by suffering.
Pick something to do. Do something tough. Learn something new. Do something hard. But do it. See who you become.
Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk. Lol
This week in Tai Chi. There will be no Wednesday night class. It’s a family thing. I’m sorry for any inconvenience.
This week we will continue to work on our forms. As we practice, think about being completely relaxed. Think also of remaining upright and not leaning forward and backward. This makes you shift weight from foot to foot. This is hard, and it makes you sore. But it makes you better. Challenge yourself. I’ll be right with you, doing it too.
I’m in school for Therapeutic Massage. I’ve been combining massage with Acupressure and Reiki and sound tools like the singing bowls and drumming. It’s a powerful combination. I also sell herbal remedies by two different highly reputable companies. Pure Herbs Ltd and Nature’s Sunshine. I practice holistic health from the outside in and from the inside out. If you’re interested the this experience, please contact me and let’s set up an appointment.
Classes are as follows.
All classes are pay as you go. No contracts or commitments.
Dubois County Museum
Classes are $12.
Wednesday 6:30pm (This class is canceled this week. Sorry for the inconvenience)
Tri State Holistic Wellness
500 Saint Phillips Rd 47712
Classes are $10 cash
Saturday 11:00 am
Unity of Evansville
4118 Pollack Ave 47714
Classes are $10 cash