How challenging do we want our lives to be?

Note to my future self..

Today I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of how challenging should our lives be? The premise being that to live a good life we should be constantly challenged. This begs the question. How much “challenge” is enough?

This might seem like a silly question because challenging situations is something that doesn’t tend to get quantified in the same way you measure $$$, steps you’ve taken, etc. Even though problems fall on a spectrum of difficulty, challenging situations tends to be perceived as a binary event. You are either facing a challenge or you’re not.

Another problem with this question is the way it’s phrased specifically the word “challenging”. Is a challenge the same thing as a problem, hardship, a moment of suffering, etc. I feel that all of these are related but they each have their own connotations and that affects how we answer the question.

One last consideration is that the answer to this question is very much dependent on who answers it. Some people will want to avoid any challenges and just live a chill live that’s predictable. Some people will accept suffering as part of their lives because they believe it’s part of the human condition. Some people will fall somewhere in between. Neither of this is a good or a bad choice. It all depends.

The Takeaway

I feel that this is one of those deep philosophical questions that can’t be answered in one essay but for now I think that we can draw the line on the distinction between feeling challenged but not suffering.

I think that it’s ok to feel challenged and seek those tough situations but we should avoid feeling that we’re suffering. This epicurean take on how to life a good life is simple but I feel that it works for me. Feel challenged, solve tough problems but make sure that you’re not suffering. Every time you feel down, confused or stress think to yourself:

Am I suffering? Or am I just being challenged?

If the answer to the former is YES, then stop and fix that issue asap. Don’t let it go.