Challenge Accepted!

BoF: Ch 6, Vrs 16-21

So last weekend I went skiing.
Oh man do I love skiing.
That adrenaline rush you get when you strap two boards to your feet and barrel, head first, down the side of a mountain.
Oh yeah, that’s the good stuff.

I’ve skied for a number of years now.
My skill level?
I’d say intermediate.
I’ll rock a blue run and some of the easier blacks, but put me on something with a ton of moguls and I’m out of my league.

So I was riding down the mountain…
I like to switch things up and try different combinations of runs to keep things interesting, cutting through the trees from time to time and popping out on a different run.
I popped out on a run I wasn’t familiar with…

“Whoa! This is one moguly run, and steep to.
This might be a little out of my league, I should cut back through the trees to find something more suited to my skill level.”

Then I thought of something…
I’ve been skiing for a number of years now, and in the last few I haven’t really noticed any improvement.

Why is that?

I’m reminded of the movie “Revolver” (or as I call it “Guy Richie gets deep”).

“The first rule of any game – You can only get smarter by playing a smarter opponent”
Fundamentals of Chessrevolver372

Hmm…
Let’s take that to the current situation, shall we.

“The first rule of skiing – You can only get better by riding the tougher runs”

I have fun skiing.
Even when I’m skiing the same runs or at the same skill level.
But I’m not improving my skills, I’m just repeating the same things.
It’s kind of like the movie “Groundhog Day,” repeating the same day over and over again.
(Funny story but this event actually happened on Groundhog day, Feb 2, True story!)

I’m tired of being the same me.
Don’t get me wrong, I Love me, just the way I am.
But this me has gone as far as he can on this journey.
If I don’t improve my skills, I’ll remain at this level forever, repeating the same things (groundhog day).
Never reaching my full potential.

Ok then,
let’s get better,
let’s try to reach our full potential.

Challenge Accepted!

I look back at that mass of moguls lying below me.
Let’s go!

I start my descent.
I cut back and forth.
I clip the top of a mogul.
I skip across one.
Hit another.
I fall…

Defeat?
Failure?

Hell no!

A bump in the road, a lesson learned.

It used to be a point of pride if  could ski all day without falling. It meant I succeeded.
But all I succeeded in doing was the same thing I always do.
Where’s the difficulty in that?
Where’s the challenge?

Now I’m looking at falling as a form of success.
Every fall means I pushed my limits, I tried something new.
It means I’m improving.
I’m approaching my full potential.

I pick myself back up and try again.
There are several more falls on my journey.

But that’s ok.
Because if you never failed it means you never tried anything new, never took a risk, and therefore you never improved.

I had several moments coming down when I saw a cut through the trees, an escape route to a good old blue run. Something I can handle more easily. But where does easy get you?

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” ― Bruce Lee

I just keep reminding myself that I must rise to the challenge.
If I wish to be the best that I can be, I have to keep trying, keep challenging myself.
Weakness is easy, strength requires determination and perseverance.

So with some time and some perseverance I made it to the bottom, and in one piece.

It wasn’t a pretty sight, I mean I probably looked terrible, like it was my first day on the hill.
But who cares?

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” ― Bruce Lee

I am here to do the best that I can. To be the best that I can.
I’m not perfect, far from it, but I know in my heart that I can be better.
And every challenge that I accept gets me just a little bit closer to being the best me that I can be.

So I finished my skiing weekend. (after many more moguls, falls, and jumps. I loved it.)
We were driving home, I was in the back seat.
I had some time to ponder my lessons as I watched the mountains roll by.

What other challenges will I accept?
In what ways do I wish to improve?

My Challenges:

For several years now I have battled a constant addiction…
Smoking.
I know, a dirty habit. A daily dose of poison. A waste of money. A few minutes taken off my life.
I’ve heard it all before.
I’ve said it all before.

Why is quitting smoking so hard to do?

A lifetime non-smoker will rarely understand the true difficulty. Let me try and explain…

When you decide to quit smoking, you may think it’s one moment.
A moment when you say, “I’m done! I’m never having another cigarette!”
And that’s it.
It’s done.
You’re now a non-smoker.

But sadly it doesn’t work like that.
You don’t conquer an addiction in one moment.
It take place over a thousand moments.

Every time you have a craving, you have to make a decision…
Do I smoke or not?
Every time you go to the store, a decision…
Do I buy a pack or not?
Every time your friend lights up a dart, decision time…
Do I ask for one or not?

It’s not one challenge you’re facing.
It’s a thousand challenges.
Dozens everyday.
All those times you used to smoke, you get a craving…
First thing in the morning,
With a cup of coffee,
When driving,
After eating,
On breaks,
When you’re bored,
When you’re angry,
When you’re sad,
When you’re anxious,
When you have a beer,
When you’re out for a walk,
When sitting around the campfire,
When you’re with smoking friends,
After writing a blog post 🙂 ,
When you have writer’s block,
When you’re just trying to break up the day,
Before you go to bed.
And you start it all again tomorrow…

And at everyone of these moments, you have to ask yourself,
Am I up to the challenge?
Am I strong enough to overcome?

Weakness is easy.
Strength is raw determination.

You need to psych yourself up.
Don’t just berate yourself when you fail.
Note every time you succeed, love that feeling.
Positive reinforcement is key.

Remember you are strong enough to overcome you’re addiction (whatever it may be).
It is within your capabilities.
You’ve got the power! (insert “The Power” by Snap here)

I have other challenges for myself, albeit somewhat easier ones:

Learn new songs, chords, scales on guitar,
Practice other instruments,
Paint / draw more,
Read more books,
Turn hobbies into opportunities,
Be a more open person in my daily life, Be aware of how I communicate with those around me (don’t leave things unsaid, be honest),
Do more yoga,
Meditate more, (mindfulness, and living in the present moment)
Write more! (keep up with the blogging, put down the ideas floating in my head, and finish the stories I’ve started)
Love more! (because you can never go wrong with a little more love in your diet)
Practice Compassion. (Understanding and Empathy are key)
Take on more challenges that come my way 🙂

So on that note,
Thanks for reading 🙂

Let me know what challenges you’ve accepted.
I’d love to hear about them.
It helps inspire me. 🙂

Namaste,
And may you rise to the challenge.

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.”
Paulo Coelho

“Fortunate are those who take the first steps.”
– Paulo Coelho

4 thoughts on “Challenge Accepted!

  1. Since I came to your blog through your liking my post “Journey,” you can see that this is very relatable to me. Doing something outside our comfort zones. Successful people dare to venture outside of comfort and I am going to do it more often.

    I love your metaphors to life. You are like “Zen and the Art of Motorcycles.” 🙂
    Nice to meet you.

    (¯`✿´¯) (¯`✿´¯)
    *`•.¸(¯`✿´¯)¸.•´ * *Ḻ✿ṽ℮
    *✿*.` •.¸.•´*✿*• .¸¸.`•´¯✿
    Sindy

    1. Thanks so much Sindy! I really appreciate that.
      I really enjoy seeing how your adventures are going.
      I especially love the artwork that accompanies your posts, beautiful choices.
      I’ve been finding lots of inspiration lately through people who do exactly that, venture outside their comfort zone. I’ve been getting tons of positive response to it in my own life. This blog is a prime example, I never really expected to be an inspiration to anyone, just plain old me. Now I can see that we are all capable of far more than we give ourselves credit for. We just have to genuinely believe in ourselves.
      Thanks again!

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