The story talks about Pete, a man in his late 20’s who was frequently grouchy and always complaining.
“Life is full of challenges!” he’d say, over and over again to anyone who’d listen. Because of his attitude, he always chose the easiest and less complicated way for doing things.
Pete did the bare minimum at work and at home, so as you can imagine, he lead a rather simplistic and monotonous life. His attitude prevented him from trying new things, prospering and achieving new heights in life. He just seemed content in his very confined comfort zone, despite of his wanting many things in life.
Years later, an amazing thing happened. All of a sudden, Pete started getting everything he wanted as if by magic. No matter what he wished for, he somehow got it soon after. When he went shopping, he always found more than enough cash in his pocket to pay for it. If he felt like traveling to a nice vacation spot, an opportunity would immediately show up for him to go. When he played chess, he won every single time. If he was bored, he’d get a call from a friend inviting him over to do something fun. One day, he realized it was time to find a partner and get married, so when he went to a party and bumped into the woman of his dreams. They talked for a while and a few weeks later they were happily married. One day he woke up and decided to play golf. He’d never played before but soon after, he was hitting eighteen holes on many golf courses around the world. And so his life went. He was elated. He was living his ideal life. It was truly amazing!
Eventually, Pete got bored and started wondering what was going on. It seemed quite strange to him that he was getting everything his way 100% of the time without putting forth any real effort. As soon as he became aware of this odd situation he got intrigued; so much so that he finally decided to investigate what was happening.
A few days later he met an angel who told him he’d died and that he was in a special station in heaven. Apparently, in this station people got to do all the things they ever wished for but never got to to do while they were alive. Finally, things started making sense to him, and he felt thrilled for a while. He went to do many things that he’d never got to do for one reason or another; and started experiencing success after success enjoying each instance thoroughly.
A week had passed when the angel found him sitting under a tree doing nothing. He looked quite sad and bored, even upset and disappointed. The angel approached him and asked what was going on. He replied that no matter what he chose to do, he was achieving success every single time. Sometimes, the mere thought of getting something was enough to make the thing he wanted appear in front of him.
“One day -he said- I remembered I’d always wanted to learn French. I walked to the library to pick a book and shortly after, as I started reading, I realized I already knew French!”
“The next day -Pete continued- I went to a coffee shop and was thinking it’d be great to meet Joe, a sports coach I’d truly admired since I was a teenager but was always too shy to approach. Two minutes later, Joe walked in, asked for a coffee and sat at my table to chat with me!”
Pete kept on talking for a few more minutes while the angel listened attentively. He finally stoped talking and the angel asked what was wrong with any of that. “After all -the angel said– those were the things you’d always wanted to learn, do, achieve and own when you were alive, Pete.”
Pete replied that it made no sense to try anything or want something because he knew he was going to get it every single time. He then said that success didn’t feel as good and enjoyable as when he had to confront challenges and overcome them.
Then, Pete sat back perplexed at what he’d said. He realized he’d just experienced a big ‘aha’ moment. The angel just looked at him quietly, as to not to interfere with the insight Pete had just experienced. Pete finally broke the silence and accepted that when he was alive challenges made him think creatively and use his imagination to solve problems and overcome challenges. “That was an awesome feeling -Pete said- and it made me enjoy success so much more despite my frequent ‘life is full of challenges’ complaints.”
The angel sat quietly next to him, and after a few moments of deep thought, Pete completely forgot where he was. Suddenly, he blurted out “I’m so bored, I wish I was dead.”
The moral of the story is that oftentimes, we yearn for an easier life without realizing that it is challenges –precisely– what make life an interesting –and sometimes exciting– experience. Think about it… What on earth would be the point of life without challenges and the opportunity to overcome them? Life would be so dull that we’d stop trying to accomplish anything! Pretty soon, it’d be the same as being dead.
There’s an ancient proverb that describes this perfectly… “If you find a path with no obstacles it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” So we may as well sit and wait in boredom forever!
Challenges are teachers. They motivate us toward innovation, to seek solutions, to think “outside of the box.” Challenges ignite our creativity and imagination. They push us to stretch ourselves outside of our comfort zones and achieve amazing things. Stretching ourselves is not only fun, but necessary for self-growth. Challenges give us a purpose, something to get out of bed for each and every day, so let’s welcome challenges with open arms!
What would life be without challenges? Can you even imagine it? Do you still believe life is full of challenges with no particular meaning? Did you get some insight from Pete’s story? Please leave your comment below. Thank you for participating in the discussion.