Every life has challenges. We often look at them as the low points in our lives, things to avoid, but should we? There is an argument that the challenges we face in our lives give our lives meaning.
I don’t know about everyone else, but I tend to look back at my life and remember the challenging parts. (And, perhaps, focus on them a bit too much!) During conversations I’ve noticed that people love to tell stories about their problems, and often try to out do each other. Maybe it’s human nature to focus on the bad, but maybe there is another reason we focus on the negative; not because we are negative creatures, but because the negative gives our lives meaning. Not in a “build our lives around negativity” way, but in a “build our lives around challenges” way.
The reason challenges are viewed as negative, is how we approach them. As Captain Jack Sparrow so perfectly put it: “The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.” We tend to focus on our problems to such an extent that we don’t even look for solutions. Accepting that there is a problem, and looking at it as something that not only can be overcome, but will be, changes the nature of it. It changes the problem from one that “makes my life suck” to a problem that “will make ME better, once I overcome it”.
Growth comes from struggle. Whether you’re a tree, a person, or an animal; daily life is a struggle. In most cases in nature, that struggle is life vs death, and perhaps that is where humanity’s obsession with struggle comes from. In most cases our struggle is not life or death, but we can (and perhaps SHOULD) approach our daily challenges with similar enthusiasm, and view our challenges not from a literal “life or death” stand point, but from a metaphorical.
Challenges, and rising to overcome them give our lives meaning. How satisfying is it when we finally get something we’ve truly earned? How boring would our lives be if we instantly got everything we wanted? If we got up every morning and everything was perfect? Why would we get up at all if there was nothing to overcome?