Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming challenges is what makes life meaningful. – Anonymous
The biggest difference between someone who is stalling or regressing and who is growing is how they view overcoming challenges. Regardless of view point, challenges are difficult to surmount. Sometimes it takes intense focus on a problem for a few hours. Other times it might involve dedication to a habit for years to come.
It’s your overall attitude towards what needs to be done that will ultimately decide how you handle challenges moving forward in life. I know this based on my own life experiences. All the times I ran away and avoided the problem, the problem came back later and prompted me to face it.
Whether that’s weight loss, coming out of my own shell, or something else. The challenges that appear in my life that I’m working on give everything I do a sense of meaning and purpose in my life.
But while I’ve learned my own strategies to be overcoming challenges, others are stalling. You are hesitant for some reason or another or you are thinking of giving up. I would encourage you to reconsider and look at the following strategies I’ve outlined below to help you overcome your problems now and in the future.
Have A Plan On Overcoming Challenges
Whether the challenge is easier or difficult to overcome, you need to have some kind of plan in place. As many other people have said before me: failure to plan means you’re planning to fail. A plan provides you with a map of what needs to get done and can form the basis of an entire system that you can use to ensure consistency.
For example, one thing that I’m excited to be bringing back is videos. I’ve already been doing some videos on Instagram, but I’d like to be coming back to my first platform I started videos on: Youtube. I’ve spent a good amount of time learning more about videos, editing, and overall learning about myself and my views towards video creation.
By no means is it something I’ll be focusing as heavily as my writing, but I want to enhance my work once more with videos here and there.
Ironically, the video I published over the weekend is appropriate for this topic: overcoming challenges.
Even though I’ve failed plenty of times at uploading videos consistently on the channel, I have in place a system. This system is built upon how my life is going right now. It’s looking at when I have free time to work on bits and pieces of the video process. From topic generation all the way to editing and uploading the video.
When you have a plan, it’s easier for you to be making promises. Maybe not to other people necessarily, but more so to yourself. And that’s what’s most important.
Leverage/Expand Your Network
The second tactic is to be using your network, whether that’s leveraging it or expanding it. What I mean by that is using your network to help you with a problem that you have. Alternatively, you can expand it to have other people by your side to help you address a problem you have.
My suggestion is to first look at your own existing network before looking to expand it. Even if your network of people isn’t ideal, there are plenty of ways to strengthen it. In my own experiences, the groups of friends and bonds I’ve built in the past crumbled because of one thing: lack of communication.
Specifically not communicating particular things that are going on in life.
So instead of not being a good friend, I would look at the connections you have and talk to them about the problems that you are facing. Being able to confide in someone allows the opportunity for your friends to feel trusted and give you trust in return.
And maybe after mentioning your problem, you might have a new direction or new insight from it.
Only Consider Expanding After You’ve Tried That
If a friend points you to someone they know they can help, of course, you want to follow up on that. And if you have no leads, then take some time to search out for people. Whether that’s googling your specific issue or asking questions on platforms like Quora or other forums.
As odd of a tactic this is, it does work wonders. When I struggled with my own depression as a teenager, one thing I found solace in doing is helping others by offering advice. From other people who were struggling with depression to relationship struggles.
By helping others in anything, you may find some way for solving your own problems in your life. Whether that’s through what you are saying or doing at that moment or letting your conscious mind wander. It’s all good.
The reason this works is that it pushes you away from the restrictive mindset that you have for yourself. When you reach out and help someone else, you often find yourself thinking from that person’s perspective. You’ll be taking stock of their situation and what sort of options they have available to them.
From there, you can provide your own sort of assistance.
Of course, helping doesn’t always have to be that complicated. It can also be volunteering at community events to help people directly that way or something. Regardless, these are experiences that make you feel good and can help you in overcoming your own challenges in a sense.
Work On Overcoming Challenges Smarter, Not Harder
Some of the talk revolving around challenges can certainly be amped up. People talking about smashing and crushing their goals or something to that effect. I can understand that sort of feeling. Who wouldn’t;t want to power through and hustle harder on dealing with their challenges in life?
Who wouldn’t want to assert dominance over their challenges?
It’s all really inspiring, but I would say it’s not the best option out there. Brute forcing a problem can lead to you agreeing to things you don’t want to do. Sure people say you need to do things you don’t like to get where you want in life, but still I disagree.
There is a difference between working harder and working on something so stupid and pointless it gets you nowhere.
If you want your effort to move the needle on overcoming challenges, you want to be focusing on the little things that’ll bring you forward the most. Another way to look at this is leveraging the 80/20 rule.
For those not familiar with the 80/20 rule it’s as follows:
80% of your effort goes into 20% of your results. Conversely, 20% of your effort can go into 80% of your results.
Working harder is spending 80% of your energy and getting only 20% of your results. Instead, you want to be looking at what specific actions you are doing that’ll take up 20% of your energy and give you 80% of your results.
This is working smarter.
The best way to look at what you are doing is to look at your own efforts on overcoming this challenge. What actions felt easier for you and brought progress for you? This can be a way of thinking, an action, or a sequence of activities. The key is to build your habits and mentality around the thing that’s helping you out the most and ensure you keep doing that thing.
Look At Overcoming Challenges From Another Perspective
As I mentioned at the start, how you grow is based on how you view the challenges you have in life – if at all. If you give up on your challenges or move past them every time, you’re not growing as you are pushing them down and never dealing with them.
Those challenges will come to overwhelm you eventually in life if left unchecked. Speaking from my own experiences, it took me years to develop confidence in speaking to people all because I shifted my problems and avoided them.
In order to overcome challenges or even start, it’s important to look at your challenge from a new perspective and to experiment. For example, going back to my Youtube channel, I’ve had a bad habit of starting something and then stopping suddenly.
For years I couldn’t figure out what the problem was:
Why wasn’t I able to upload consistently?
As time went on, I looked at the problem from different angles. I checked my attitude, my approach, my habits, and saw how those might conflict or support this habit I wanted to create.
In the end, I realized I was taking my channel too seriously and prioritizing other habits over others. Instead of finding joy in making videos, I found it easier to play video games and procrastinate on video production.
Dopamine is a big problem in not only myself but for many others. Hence why I shifted my perspective to how can I manage my dopamine levels to focus on bigger activities. Furthermore checking my own attitude.
These days, I see my channel as a hobby rather than a money-making machine. That’s not to say I won’t put any care in the videos I make. Someday I do want it to make money. But the attitude I have allows me to be more patient with it rather than trying to make it generate revenue in the coming months.
By changing your perspective of the challenge, you are changing the challenge and your own mindset as well. Don’t be afraid to take a different view to the problem. You may find a much better solution than you previously thought of.
Manage Limits And Negative Thinking
Along the same vein as the previous point, you want to be looking at your own limits and negative thinking. These things can occur at various stages and can happen to even the most mindful of people.
Similar to the previous point, you want to be coming prepared when these roadblocks emerge and be able to change your perspective on these.
Whenever you think of your limits, think back to the times that you’ve exceeded them or have made a difference in your life. Be it big or small, change is still change. Be it big or small, progress is still progress.
And whenever you have negative thoughts, consider the validity of it. Often times negative thoughts are your own doubt or hesitation talking. In most situations it’s unfounded and you’re coming up with an excuse to not do something.
By learning to manage these during the crucial parts, you’ll find it easier to deal with these in the future.
Prioritize Small Steps For Overcoming Challenges
As I mentioned above, progress is still progress, even if you are moving a little. The key is to know that the steps taken are indeed meaningful to you. One thing that I’ve talked about in my weight loss journey is how little weight I’ve lost overall. Since starting back up my training four months ago, I’ve only lost 10 pounds.
It’s about the average you’d expect from weight loss efforts.
That said, I’ve noticed a lot of small things in my life. For one, my figure feels different. Overall I feel stronger than before I started. On top of that, I can lift heavier weights than ever. Almost every week there’s an increase in weight in some or all of my exercises and I can still manage them properly.
All in all, the point is even if you feel like the challenge isn’t being directly addressed through your efforts, you’re building yourself up in a way to tackle the challenge in some other way. A way you never expected would happen or even thought of.
So don’t be afraid to take small steps, there are many ways to be overcoming challenges in your life.
Overcoming challenges in life is not an easy feat, but there are ample of rewards in the end and during it. There are always new insights and new ways to explore and tackle challenges that open up to you. All you need to do is have an open mind and explore those things in your life.
Talk with people, make experiences, help others. These things all provide us meaning too in our lives and can help us overcome the challenges that we may be facing. Keep this in mind, and you will grow further.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon