Concert pianist Albert Frantz beautifully expresses the meaning of challenge. He says the following:
“Breaking my wrist thus became my breakthrough. Looking both ways may mean finding a new approach to an old problem – turning it inside out, seeing it in a new light – as a new kind of challenge.
“I believe that challenges are symbols. If your goal is to scale Mt. Everest you can’t simply fly a helicopter to the summit…
“Meaning is measured in challenge, and the greater the challenge the greater the uncertainty. Realizing our dreams thus means embracing uncertainty. Our goals, dreams and aspirations will always involve challenge, although we don’t know whether or not we will meet that challenge. We speak of ‘rising to a challenge,’ or being ‘up to the challenge’ because the purpose of challenge is growth. This is the true purpose of our dreams.”
He suggests that more than physical impediments, beliefs pose bigger obstacles to realizing your dreams. Yet, if you can find the determination and commitment to do whatever it takes, you will find a way. Even in the absence of external certainty, you can have internal certainty.
What allows us to overcome our psychological barriers? Emotions. These can be powerful resources. They determine whether or not we will accept the challenge. They help us to welcome every obstacle as a new challenge.
He ends by saying that our culture recognizes the big dreams, yet internal successes are just as important. Not all of our dreams can change the world but they can change our world. Sometimes the challenge is to say “I love you” or “Thank you.” Maybe there’s something nagging us in the back of our mind, something we secretly want to achieve.
I would add that the emotions he is talking about are a special kind of emotion, the kind Viktor Frankl had in mind when he talked about values. If you value your dream enough, you won’t allow anything to get in the way of reaching for it.