No one really likes to struggle. That’s why we are told to reframe struggle as something positive. I prefer, however, to stop using the term altogether. I suggest we simply replace it with the word challenge.
I can accept a challenge or take a challenge. A challenge stretches and pushes me to become a better version of myself. Plus, challenge helps me see what I’m made of as well as what is possible for me and helps me grow.
I can buy into a challenge—accept it, like it, want more of it.
But struggle? Not so much.
Stop Accepting and Embracing Struggle
You can find lots of advice about accepting or embracing struggle (even from me). Most of it is shared as witty quips meant to make you feel better about the difficulty you experience. For instance, Brendon Burchard says, “Honor the struggle.” During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Army Reserve Colonel Austin Bay told members of his brigade to “embrace the suck.”
Respected writers and teachers have offered more philosophical takes on struggle. For example, Napoleon Hill said, “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” And F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “Life is essentially a cheat and its conditions are those of defeat; the redeeming things are not happiness and pleasure but the deeper satisfactions that come out of struggle.”
But do we need to accept and embrace this view of our lives? Do we only grow and achieve happiness, pleasure, satisfaction, and success if we struggle?
I don’t think so.
Choose Challenge if You Want to Growth
Personally, I prefer the words of Bernadette Devlin: “Yesterday I dared to struggle. Today I dare to win.” Yes! Let’s leave struggle behind and choose ease and success.
I also accept Neal Donal Walsch’s view of struggle: “It is okay to be at a place of struggle. Struggle is just another word for growth. Even the most evolved beings find themselves in a place of struggle now and then. In fact, struggle is a sure sign to them that they are expanding; it is their indication of real and important progress. The only one who doesn’t struggle is the one who doesn’t grow. So if you are struggling right now, see it as a terrific sign — celebrate your struggle.”
Let me qualify what I said about Walsch’s quotation, though. I don’t choose to focus on the struggle but on the growth and expansion. That’s why we are here. That’s what our lives are about.
So, if you prefer, replace the word struggle with growth, if that resonates with you.
However, whether you choose challenge or growth, know this: As long as you talk about life as a struggle, it will feel like one.
Who wants that?
Not me. And I bet you don’t want it either.
So let’s choose challenge instead. Let’s grow and expand through life’s challenges.
Choose Challenges to Help You Grow and Expand
Now, you may not necessarily want to choose challenge any more than struggle. We all like things to be easy and comfortable. And saying, “Choose challenge,” could be interpreted to mean I want you to choose struggle.
Nope. I don’t.
However, I do want you to choose to see struggle as a challenge or a growth opportunity. And by simply making a choice to see struggle differently, you expand your consciousness and change your experiences of those things that feel difficult.
By the way, difficulty is different than struggle. Something can be hard but not a struggle. (Hint: You can choose to see hard things as challenging.)
Challenge Helps You Live Life Fully
I am suggesting that you choose to see your life in a way that helps you feel more engaged, alive, and energized. When you opt for challenge, you move toward being your best self, achieving your goals, and fulfilling your potential. You live life fully.
That’s exciting and exhilarating, is it not?
Challenge puts you firmly in the moment, not in the past or future. It makes you feel alive!
Real Challenge vs. Chosen Challenge
You may have experienced personal or spiritual growth from what could be deemed “real challenge” when you were forced by circumstances to grow. Now, you can choose to stretch yourself—your self-concept, skills, beliefs, and mental or physical capacities, emotional outlook—simply by demanding more of yourself.
But a chosen challenge is still a real challenge. It’s simply not one that has been forced upon you. Instead, it’s one you choose because you want to grow and expand.
Yes, choose to stretch! Stretch your efforts, abilities, skills, awareness, knowledge, presence, emotional state, and level of contribution. Give more to yourself and to others as you rise to meet a challenge.
If I could eradicate the word struggle from the English language—or any other language, for that matter—I would. I’d replace it with challenge.
The other day, I put on my “Honor the Struggle” sweats, which I almost didn’t buy at a Brendon Burchard event because I didn’t want to focus on struggle. Both the hoodie and sweatpants sport this phrase. I looked at myself in the mirror and though, “I think I’ll give these away.”
A friend convinced me to buy them. She said, “Honor the struggle isn’t about a focus on struggle but a different perspective on struggle. It’s about seeing struggle as something good.”
Yep. It’s one of those witty quips. However, Burchard, one of my mentors, knows a thing or two about challenge. He says, “Challenge is the pathway to engagement and progress in our lives. But not all challenges are created equal. Some challenges make us feel alive, engaged, connected, and fulfilled. Others simply overwhelm us. Knowing the difference as you set bigger and bolder challenges for yourself is critical to your sanity, success, and satisfaction.” That’s true, for sure. Give yourself big, hairy, audacious challenges that help you step into your best self and live fully—not ones that make you struggle.
George S. Patton said, “Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”
But decide what victory means to you…succeeding at the challenge or growing and expanding in the process of accepting and rising to meet the challenge. For me, it’s the latter.
Do you give yourself challenges so you can grow, expand, and succeed? Tell me in a comment below, and please share this post with a friend who might benefit from it. Also, consider joining the Inspired Creator Community to discuss this topic in more depth.
Never miss one of my videos! Click here to subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Photo courtesy of Jukan Tateisi.
Feeling like you're not where you want to be in life?
Get the coaching and guidance you need to become unstuck, and make progress towards the goals you really desire.