Maybe you completed a very difficult challenge in a computer game, maybe you finished an intense and brutal workout. Maybe you wrote the next chapter in your novel.
Whatever the case, chances are that this was followed immediately by a huge dump of endorphins that made you feel pretty epic.
Accomplishing any task feels great.
But here’s the thing: most of us lack challenge in our lives and that means we lack the opportunity to accomplish anything.
And, without accomplishment, we just kind of… drift.
The Computer Game Analogy
To understand this problem, consider computer games.
A computer game drops a player into a world and asks them to survive, to get the best score, to reach a certain destination etc. This provides the challenge.
The player then needs to get familiar with the game via trial and error in order to get better at it. Eventually, they are ready for that final test and they can ‘complete’ the game. They get a sense of closure and reward and then they can move onto the next challenge.
But what happens if they find a way to beat the game that works the system? What happens if they discover an overpowered weapon hidden in a crate?
Well, game developers will tell you that this is the surest way to immediately kill the fun in that game.
Likewise, if a player realizes they can beat every fight by just hammering the same two buttons over and over again… the game immediately loses its appeal.
That’s because, even though the game is no fun that way, our natural inclination is still to take the easy path.
Even having that easy path available will rob the satisfaction and reward that comes from choosing the more difficult option.
And, most players abandon the game board.
This is what has happened in our lives. Life was meant to involve challenge but the industrial revolution, technology, modern conveniences… these have robbed us of the challenge. Now we have the option to sit at home comfortably doing nothing and to just relax.
And, as a result, life has lost its challenge and its reward.
This is why it’s so important that you set yourself challenges and set yourself goals – to artificially inject some difficulty and to aim for even bigger heights.