Why Do We Face Challenge?

Why Do We Face Challenge?

2 min read


Many people believe that if we stay in our lanes and follow our life’s purpose, we shouldn’t face challenges.

That’s impossible.

Obstacles are placed in our path to form us. Challenge, change, and complexity can wear us down, but if we allow it, these experiences have the capacity to make us better over time. 

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”

– Maya Angelou

A life without challenge is like a potter without a wheel to form the clay. Obstacles do not detract from our formation as people. They are essential elements in our learning and growth. Challenge shows up even when we're exactly where we’re meant to be, doing exactly what we’re meant to do – sometimes especially when we’re on the right path and being exactly who we’re meant to be.

When we face challenges and don’t give up, when we stay the course, when we are unwavering in the face of these obstacles, we are given the opportunity to prove just how much we want something. In doing so, we earn the right to be ceded the resources, experience, and accomplishments we are pursuing. We prove just how much we want our dream to come true by demonstrating we will not give up on ourselves. 

The more challenges we face, the more important the work. And the more important the work, the more we are likely to face. When we begin to see challenging moments as opportunities to build, flex, and enhance our resilience muscles, then we see challenges not as a personal failing, not as a career limiting move, and not as an event that has befallen us because we are not “good enough”. Rather, a challenge becomes an invitation. We see challenge, instead, as the comma in the sentence asking us how much we want a particular goal or achievement, rather than a period at the end of the sentence. Wrapped in each one is an opportunity if we look for it.

How does challenge influence mental health & wellbeing?

It is also important to ensure that you have proper support in place prior to facing challenges. The onset of challenges makes it much more difficult to maintain healthy habits in your life, even if those habits appear to be concrete. When we face challenges, we are much more likely to engage in harmful behaviors that negatively impact our mental health and wellbeing. Being mindfully aware of this will help you bounce forward amidst the challenges you face in your life. 

Shifting your view of challenges through seeing them as opportunities will significantly improve your ability to face adversity. Facing challenges is an important part of our growth because we are the product of our past experiences. The circumstances you endure makes you the unique person you are today.

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, please take a look at these resources and help lines.

About The Author

Dr. Taryn Marie is a foremost international expert on resilience, in both leadership and life. She is the former Head of Executive Leadership Development at Nike, Global Leadership Development at Cigna, and founded Resilience Leadership, where she serves as the Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), leveraging over a decade of research on resilience, that gave birth to the empirically-based framework, The Five Practices of Particularly Resilient People, leveraged for optimal sustainability, productivity, and creativity.

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Illustration of a person lifting a piano, made by Liana Finck

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