Life is an uncertain roller coaster. You can choose to embrace it and enjoy the ride, joyfully learning from your experiences along the way; or you can choose to rebel against all of life’s challenges, resenting every moment of your journey. The latter robs you of any growth or development, while the former gives you the opportunity to learn from those challenges and become a better person for having experienced them.
While “better” may be relative, one thing is certain – “better” means improved. No matter where you find yourself, there is always room for improvement. Even a monk strives daily to improve himself, striving always to become a better person.
Challenges in life are a given, and they can be used to your advantage. Each one is an opportunity for personal growth and self-improvement. Ultimately, the goal is to use what you learn as you grow to become the best version of yourself.
Here are 6 common challenges in life you must overcome on your road to becoming a better person:
Whether you lose your job, an opportunity, or a relationship – loss is an inevitable part of life.
Regardless of how it happens, loss is one of the life’s biggest challenges. It can feel abrupt and disruptive. However, loss gives you the opportunity to reflect on what is truly important so that you to keep moving forward.
Losing something that you had, or really wanted, can be a welcome wake up call. Loss forces you to ask yourself, “What about what I lost was valuable to me?” and “What am I willing to do to get what I want?”
Choosing to examine your loss through the lens of these questions causes you to assess the true value of what you lost, as well as why you value it. Having a clear understanding of what you value and why you value it, is key to becoming a better person because it gives your words & actions integrity.
There is not a single person alive who hasn’t experienced failure. To grow, you must fail. Failure offers a natural checkpoint on your journey, one that allows you to evaluate your recent behavioral choices so that you can make improvements. When you fail, you get the chance to review your decisions and behaviors, like an athlete reviews the taped footage between games.
Reviewing the decisions and actions that lead you to fail is an invaluable exercise. Understanding how the decisions you made led to certain behaviors and actions can prevent you from making the same mistakes again. Such a review can also reveal important details you missed the first time that would allow you to take a better and more informed approach the next time.
The experience of failure causes you to develop compassion, empathy and sympathy. Your experience gives you a point of commonality with anyone who has had a similar experience. Those three emotions are essential tools on your journey to becoming a better person because they allow others to feel safe and seen around you.
They have many names: missteps, monkey wrenches, unforeseen circumstances. But setbacks are ever present on our journey to becoming a better person.
We have all experienced a slow in progress, hindrance or delay on our journey. The challenge is understanding why the delay happened. What caused our progress to slow down or plateau?
You can intellectually know all the right things to do or say, but there are those moments when your humanness gets the best of you. Despite your best efforts to be a better person, you suddenly do or say something you regret. Perhaps you react in a way that is negative or out of alignment with your desire to become a better person. ITS OKAY!
Setbacks are learning opportunities. Having a firm understanding of the types of things that slow your progress will allow you to both avoid and preempt them.
Resilience is one positive side effect of overcoming setbacks. The journey to becoming a better person requires that you be mentally tough. Setbacks are an organic way to build that mental toughness while still maintaining integrity in your actions, and a sense of emotional awareness that promotes a safe environment where others feel seen.
4. Establishing Your Moral Compass
Distinguishing right from wrong for yourself is an ever present life challenge. You may agree with one ideology today, and another tomorrow. Changing your mind is your right, and deciding where you stand is your responsibility. The two go hand in hand.
Deciding what you believe is important on your road to becoming a better person. Self-improvement is anchored in your own personal sense of right and wrong.
Most people act in accordance with their values and beliefs. Giving yourself permission to grow as person means taking time to reexamine them both. It is possible you will discover that your values and beliefs are no longer in alignment with your end goal.
Thankfully, your assessment of the misalignment will lead you to do what is necessary to once again find your true north. The ability to self-correct will serve you on you journey.
5. Mastering Your Mind
Your mind can be a formidable opponent on your path to becoming a better person. It can pipe up with all kinds of negative commentary when things are not going well, and can have the power to derail you with doubt and fear – if you let it. Mastering your mind is one of the greatest life challenges of all.
Your mind controls your perspective, it informs how you receive and process your interactions with the world around you. Unlike other things you can claim mastery over after a finite amount of time, the mind can take some a lifetime to master. The challenge is showing up willing to do the work of mastering the mind everyday, while having a complete awareness of the infinite nature of this work.
Where ever you go, there you are; thus it’s impossible to hide from yourself. If your mind is unruly and unkind, then it will be hard for you to become a better person, primarily because you are not being better to yourself.
Luckily, there are a myriad of ways to begin the work of mastering you mind. The key is to create space for you to be with yourself in a healthy way that promotes growth. Some common methods to facilitate focused personal time are therapy, meditation, self-reflection, prayer, intentional silence, journaling and being out in nature.
6. Overcoming Your Story
Everyone was once a child. There are things you experienced that were outside of your control, regardless of their severity those experiences stay with you. Those experiences become part of your story. Overcoming the story you tell yourself about your own experience can be quite the life challenge.
Whether you grew up poor, didn’t have a lot of love in your house, or didn’t feel seen, it affects the way you move through the world. There are the facts of these experiences and there are fuzzy edges where our minds fill in the blanks.
For Example: if you say “I grew up poor and I am always going to be poor,” that is an example of your story taking control.
Comparatively, if you said “I grew up poor, but I am working hard now. I’m doing whatever I can to make sure I have all the things I need and am comfortable”– even if it’s hard, that is still an example of overcoming your story.
I grew up in an out of apartments, worried about money, with feelings of unworthiness because of what I saw around me. I thought struggling was normal and survival was a default mode of being – it became part of my story. Yet as an adult, I had to make a choice, either I allow the past experiences shape my current narrative OR I focus on the circumstances of the present as a reflection of my current reality.
While the choice may be clear, the action required to shift the narrative is challenging. It requires intentionality and self-awareness. You have to be willing to let go of the stories that don’t serve you anymore, in favor of exploring the present moment to the fullest. Carrying around stale, negative narratives stifles your ability engage in positive self-reflection which is the corner stone of personal growth.
When you have set your story aside in favor of embracing the present, you encourage others to do the same. Overcoming your story empowers you to embrace this moment as opportunity to write a new story – one you are in control of. On the road to becoming a better person focusing on what you can control and letting go of what you can’t control is critical.
These challenges in life are common. No matter who you are, or where you are, if your goal is to become a better person, you will encounter these 6 challenges in some form or fashion.
Fortunately, you are now prepared to overcome them with grace and strategy. As you continue along your journey to becoming a better person, remember to let go of the things you can’t control in exchange for being present in the moment, create space for healthy self-reflection, give yourself permission to reexamine your values and beliefs, embrace the resilience that comes from encountering setbacks, allow your failures to be the source of compassionate resonance, and let loss teach you about what you value.
Now that you know what you have to overcome, get out there and summit those peaks, life is waiting for you on the other side.
More to Help You Stay Motivated
- 5 Steps to Bounce Back Fast When Life Knocks You Down
- How to Get Your Life Back on Track When Things Are Out of Control
- How To Be True To You When Life Pulls You Off Track
Featured photo credit: Luke van Zyl via unsplash.com