When faced with a new challenge, do you dive headfirst into the unknown, or do you pull back and shrink into the darkness enveloped by fear?
I’ve known the feeling of fear all too well.
There was a time I was homeless.
Talk about fear.
When you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, or where you’ll lay your head at night, or even if you’ll make it through the week, fear doesn’t just hang over your head, it becomes your shadow following you through every step of life inhibiting one from reaching their potential.
Eventually, the fear starts to become a familiar cocoon of sorts perfect for a bevy of excuses that get tossed around in one’s mind, firmly planted in the subconscious and brought to fruition by verbal repetition often repeated when shit has really hit the fan.
“I’m not good enough, so why try?”
“I’ve failed so many damn times before, so what is the point?”
“I wasn’t born into the ‘right’ family and this is just my lot in life…”
“I must have done something really messed up in a past life to be constantly facing such hardship…I deserve this situation”
Careful, our thoughts turn into mental gymnastics which manifest themselves in our lives causing us to spin out of control and into the figurative and sometimes literal gutter.
When I traced the WHY behind my spiral into absolute poverty, it stemmed from fear, but not the fear you would think.
It was caused by fear of failure.
This was a mistake.
Being afraid of failing can cause one to play it ‘safe’ and as we know, playing it ‘safe’ usually leads to a life of mediocrity and even real failure.
Because failure isn’t falling and not succeeding.
Failure is falling and not getting back up again.
Fear will inhibit you from every getting back UP again, because you’ll tell yourself, “See! You failed. You. Are. A Failure” and the cycle continues.
Facing challenges is a part of life and it’ll never end. To not have challenges is to not live.
To not challenge oneself is not to live.
To not live, is to die.
Are you facing ‘death’ today? Do you feel like you’ve failed so many times in the past that getting back up and trying just one more time is too agonizing?
Have you faced the end of the rope so many times that at this point you’re ready to just tie the knot yourself?
Webster’s Dictionary describes ‘Audacity’ as: a confident and daring quality that is often seen as shocking or rude : an audacious quality (bold or arrogant disregard of normal restraints)
The definition of ‘challenge’ is: to demand as due or deserved
Thus, the Audacity of Challenge is, essentially: The Daring Quality To Demand What Is Due
When you face challenges, do you instantly believe in your heart that you have the right to demand that you overcome that challenge?
Do you feel, in a good way, that you’re entitled to overcoming the roadblock in your life so you can rightfully claim your reward?
I want you to know that no matter how bad things are for you right now, no matter how beat down by life you feel, no matter how much shit has hit the fan recently for you, that you have not failed…if you don’t give up.
I can write confidently on this subject BECAUSE I know what it feels like to fall flat.
I know what it feels like to fall short.
I know what it feels like to fail people close to me and see the look of disappointment in their eyes.
If I had never experienced these life-changing events, I couldn’t write about it. For you writers out there, understand that when you write for your blog, or a book, or the next great American novel, write from truth and write from pain, and then offer a solution that worked for you and may just work for others. No one likes a pity party, or someone spewing their Dear Diary on-screen. Offer real solutions. The readership will come.
But that’s skipping around and this post is for someone else out there. I hadn’t planned on writing a post today. I’m in the midst of major change in my personal life and while my posting has been sporadic (and plans to return to regular posting are etched in red magic marker on my whiteboard calendar), I woke today knowing someone out there is going through some real shit.
But, let me show you something.
Now, before I do, if you’re squeamish about hardship, physical deformity or anything like that, then you probably should hit the back button.
However, for those of you ready to face your fears, overcome your challenges and reach your goals, then keep reading.
(Photo Credit: CNN.com)
This is Yein Yang with two of his three children.
As you can tell, he’s physically disfigured, but has the heart of a lion. If you want to go down into the rabbit hole of WHY he is, you can read it here, but the focus of this article isn’t on the WHY, it’s on what he’s facing in his life and how you can overcome your own challenges.
Yein is 30 years old, just two years younger than me.
He’s from Laos and was just 22 years old when a hidden old bomb exploded while he was doing laborer farm work and essentially disfigured him for life.
THAT’s a challenge.
Working as a farmer around possible bombs buried in the soil for wages so low you wouldn’t get out of bed for them, so your family and village can eat; that’s a challenge.
But yet, Yein get’s up everyday and continues on.
That cute girl at your college? Approaching her? That’s not a challenge.
Asking for that raise at your cushy job? That’s not a challenge.
Pushing yourself in the gym to hit your new gains? That’s not a challenge.
Now, you might be thinking, “Well, that’s terrible about him, but everyone faces different challenges and my life is tough!” and you know what? You may be completely correct, however, when you stop looking at challenges as being a CHALLENGE and start looking at them as being OPPORTUNITIES your rate of success will skyrocket.
I challenge you today, no matter how bad things are in your life, no matter how discouraged you feel, no matter how much shit has hit the fan, to just do ONE thing…
Flip the script.
Look at your challenges and see how they’re opportunities in disguise.
The challenges you face will cause you to grow in ways you never thought possible, to stretch your mind, capitalize on your talents and see just how fucking bad you really want true success.
Because if you don’t, your old friend will tap you on the shoulder. You know the one.
He’ll come wake you up in the morning, greet you with a smirk and get ready to fuck your day up every step of the way because you haven’t kicked him to the curb and decided to look at your challenges as opportunities.
Will this be easy?
No. If it was, then everyone would be winners. But most aren’t.
And it’s not because they’ve failed. It’s because they’ve stopped TRYING. They’ve stopped getting back UP and approaching the challenge from a different perspective.
Consider a different perspective on life today my friend. Remember, that no matter how bad you might have it, someone else has it even worse and they’re STILL trying. Consider Yein and his three children. Consider his challenges.
I can promise it’ll start to put everything into perspective for you so you turn your challenges into opportunities.
You know what to do with it. Wake up saying ‘hello’ to opportunity and ‘goodbye’ to fear.
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