Have our lives become so easy that we have lost the joy of the challenges in life?
We have things so easy these days in so many ways (at least in the first world countries), that I wonder if we are really doing ourselves a disservice with all of this ease.
There is an elation that comes from overcoming challenges. I remember pushing myself one year to climb the CN Tower. Now keep in mind that I am not normally the most physically active person – I am that person who is last picked for any team sport, so this was a big deal for me. I trained with a friend for three months leading up to the climb, adding on to the number of stairs every day.
My then sister-in-law, Paula and I found one long set of stairs that was 102 steps and worked our way up to being able to do 17 sets of that run of stairs as a preparation of climbing the tower.
The day comes and we join the throng of people who have come out for this event and wait our turn at the steps. The thing that I remember is the energy of anticipation from the crowd. There was a buzz in the air, knowing that everyone was going to challenge themselves and they were going to do it together.
Total strangers engaging in easy conversation about to embark on a shared journey up the 1776 stairs to the main platform. The energy was indeed palpable and one of anticipation, similar to kids in line to ride an amusement park ride. Some with nervous giddy laughter, and others relaxed and laid back having done this climb a year or two before.
Finally, it is our turn to enter the stairwell and the energy has intensified as the unfamiliar surroundings of this huge staircase going straight up is now right in front of us. You can hear the echoes of more laughter, although some of it grimacing laughter of those who failed to train and thought they could just jump in and climb the tower – how hard could it be right?
As we ascend the stairs, there is a sharp awareness that there is a distinct difference in a climb that is all up than one where it is 100 up and 100 down. There is a burn in the legs and lungs that was not experienced during training, however the energy of the crowd almost make it easy to keep going. It is easy to laugh at yourself as you step aside at a landing for a quick rest and hydration.
There is of course the emotional pain of watching people sprinting up the steps past us with ease as I dig in to will myself up those stairs, wishing I had trained harder. Damn those athletic people! LOL!
We get to the top and there is a cheery woman congratulating us as we pass through the doorway. Woo hoo!!!! I did it! Wait, what is that? …. Another set of stairs to get the actual opening of the observation deck. Personally, I think that was a rather cruel joke to congratulate you and then make you go another 30 steps more to actually finish.
At last we are out and we get out times, Paula and I have made it up the tower in a respectable 22 minutes! For a non-athlete, the fact that I made it all the way up was remarkable on its own.
I notice that as we walk around the observation deck the wave of excitement both in myself and the crowd is now different. It is comparable to the runners high, but also the shared experience of overcoming a challenge. People are more open with one another, they are high five-ing and hugging total strangers. This small physical challenge as a shared experience has brought people together and opened their heart a little wider than they had been down on the ground.
That for me was the most remarkable part of the journey, to witness the afterglow of this group of people.
In so many ways we have things very easy at this time in history. We have many things that allow our lives to be less effort – like washing machines instead of washing by hand (which I am so grateful for). The thing is, we are actually wired for the reward that comes as a result of working hard.
I have noticed that with many people who say they want change and yet take no action to change things, they seem to be disconnected to the joy of the challenge, the joy of overcoming.
I suspect that all of the things we have in place to physically make our lives easier has also robbed us of the joy of the effort exerted and the rewards that come with that effort. I also see that there is the same thing on the emotional/energetic level, we have some really amazing tools to clear out pain, sadness, anger, grief in time frames that are remarkable – yet that seems to have some people resisting moving into situations that are uncomfortable instead of rushing towards them.
The work that I do with my clients has evolved into a process where it is both about clearing out what is in your way AND taking action that moves you towards what you want. Digging in to find the joy of the breakthrough, not because you are broken but because you are staying fit and doing more.
If you are ready to live a bold, sexy, fun-filled life then click on this link to set up a 30 call with me. Get a sample of the process I use to move my clients rapidly to a space where there is nothing fucking wrong with them.
What bold thing or action will you take this week?