Constantly challenging yourself: How much is too much?
It’s easy to romanticize quitting your 9-to-5 to “follow your passion.”
But once you get settled in a rhythm, finding things that challenge you is difficult.
As a full-time writer for the past nine months, I’ve managed to automate 80% of my business. I usually get up, tick some set tasks off my to-do list, and manage the people working with me. That’s it.
There’s hardly any scope for newness, challenge, or intellectual stimulation.
This lethargy can set in whether in a 9-to-5 job, as a solopreneur, or as a full-time freelancer. When it happens, it’s essential to set out on adventures that challenge your creativity and push you out of your comfort zone.
My venture outside the comfort zone
That’s what I did last weekend when I performed poetry at an Open Mic event in Hyderabad.
I started my writing journey with poems, but it’s been ages since I performed in front of a live crowd. The experience was terrifying at first, but looking back, I’m so glad I accomplished it.
No, I didn’t enthrall the crowd or make them sit in rapt attention for hours. My performance only lasted 4 minutes, but by the end of the event, strangers walked up to me and told me their favorite lines from the poem.
The fact that people remembered lines from my poem was my biggest compliment. It made the whole nerve-wracking experience of performing in front of a crowd worth it.😍
Open mics are terrifying. But I intend to perform more every weekend until I lose my stage fright.
Creative challenges and confidence
Whenever an opportunity for adventure arises, I say yes.
I’ve made several impulsive decisions in my life. Some have had disastrous results, but each made me who I am today. So, there’s no place for regret, only a desire to derive lessons from the pain.
When you pick a new skill and devote yourself to it, you wake up daily with a sense of purpose. You gain confidence that if you can force yourself through this struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel, you can do just about anything you set your heart to.
This confidence manifests itself in your work.
The validation your soul gets from conquering an unfamiliar challenge lets you throw yourself at work and push yourself to get better results. It refreshes your brain and gives it more directions to think in.
Life opens up new dimensions when you stop seeking intellectual connections, creative challenges, money, fame, and validation from the same thing (your work).
It makes staying in your current success loop even easier.
If you’re ambitious and are willing to work to make your dream come true, your thirst for adventure will never be quenched until you find a challenge to keep you engaged and determined. Once you overcome it, there’s going to be no looking back.
Life will become akin to jumping from one high to the next.
And sometimes, that’s all you need.
How to fit this in if you’re passionate about work?
Being passionate about your work is impressive.
But sitting for 8+ hours a day staring at a screen five days a week and then over-sleeping or over-eating on the weekends is not.
To care for your mental health, you need to be proactive. You need to fill your life with experiences and challenges that energize you.
Do something (outside of work) that fills your head with adrenaline.
If you try to derive your pleasure and money from the same thing, you’re bound to get tired of it sooner or later — even if that thing is your “passion.”
To make sure this doesn’t happen, prioritize yourself. Treat yourself to many experiences that keep you n your toes and fill your heart with happiness.
This is especially true for people who are on an entrepreneurial path. Consider this post as your reminder.
Take care of yourself. There’s only one of you. And you are worth saving.
As a creator, your soul’s biggest reward is the dopamine rush from learning and mastering new skills. Call it the curse of being too ambitious, but if used right, this zeal can become your biggest asset.
I keep this spirit of curiosity alive by setting out on tasks I lack mastery of and slowly getting better at them.
The results boost my confidence and make me feel,
“If I can do this, I can achieve whatever I set my heart to.”
When was the last time you did something out of your comfort zone? Do share your story in the comments.
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