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18. Extreme Challenges are Underrated

Extremely challenging situations reveal our weaknesses and challenge our capacity to keep it together. On its surface, this doesn’t sound like fun.

But when the dust settles, we commonly self-reflect and realize that we’ve matured or learned something new.

Taking it a step further, dealing with the impossible makes us more marketable. For example, when screening potential new hires or deciding who to promote, organizations are drawn to the individuals with a story to tell - the ones who can breakdown how they grappled with uncertainty and change.

Ironically, there are also beneficial performance implications of diving into the impossible. The bar for performance is low because no one actually expects you to succeed. Even if you simply survive, not thrive, it’s considered a win.

Arguably, given these benefits, we should be running towards the potentially insurmountable obstacles. But why don’t we?

Our default is to strive for security. We want the sure thing.

Interestingly, if you stay somewhere long enough, a big challenge will eventually hit, and likely when you least expect it. Instead, then, perhaps it’s better to pick the challenge yourself and dive in with eyes wide open.


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