The fact that you are reading this article, says that you deserve a pat on your back! Taking on a new challenge can be daunting for dedicated individuals. Especially during the pandemic, stress buildup and burn out is the new normal.

Hence, these are the questions I ask myself whenever I am faced with a dilemma of taking on a new challenge; and my answer thus determines the level of confidence I have to take on new challenges.

1. Do I have a plan?

This is the most important step anyone needs to take. By having a plan, we have a better chance of reaping various benefits, such as:

  • Being able to visualize the process in a timely manner
  • Being able to prioritise
  • Being able to picture the end-product with better precision
  • Being able to adapt to changing circumstances
  • Being able to ask ourselves, are we ready to commit? Or is this new task a way to run away from existing ones?

The benefits can be a checklist, as to how prepared you are to take a new challenge, you can list them down in your planner, or write them down on sticky notes and stick them where you’ll always see them. Ultimately these are guidelines that give you the answer when you ask yourselves ‘Can I visualize the entire process in terms of weeks, days or hours?’

2. Do I know what were the causes of my past failures?

Mistakes are your best teachers. However, we don’t want to be having the same teacher over and over again, because it shows that we have not moved on, or even learnt from our past mistakes!

There can be 1000 reasons or excuses for our failures. Therefore we need to understand the significance of the cause of each failure, as this helps us understand ourselves.

Hence in that situation, we should rationalize why didn’t other alternatives work? Just like my 2019 resolution of being shredded not working out, it’s because I learned that body-building was just my past-time, I had other passions, so naturally, my efforts wouldn’t yield the same results if I were to focus on it more regularly or pursue it full-time. Knowing the causes of your failures is important, otherwise, we are bound to face the same problems repeatedly.

Undoubtedly, by virtue of trial and error, we eventually get to the roots of our problems. However, I discovered that having an environment built with trust and loyalty gets the work done faster. I would ask insightful opinions from college mates whenever I am stuck in the ditches, even knowing they aren’t experts on the field. Why? It’s because I get to have an outside view of myself. And that is even more important than being correct, because how can I fix the problem when it could begin with me? Just remember one thing leads to another: A problem is always in relation to another, they are always a by-product of an underlying issue.

3. Do I know what were the causes of my past successes?

Love the people while you can. It is a blessing.

By answering this, we can understand what our true motivators are when working towards our goals, and we don’t risk deviating from them due to others’ advice that is applicable to themselves.

Another factor to consider, who was there when we had our success? Do we take them for granted, now that they are still here or away? Success is never one person’s credit, often there is lots of emotional support that we don’t give enough credit. The fastest way to understand this is literally not asking help from anyone for a week. No allowance, no free food, no free rides to anywhere. Trust me, it will scare you because that is how reliant we are to our privileges. What scares us is not the deficiency of needs/wants, but the number of things we take for granted.

We so often hear rich tycoons being depressed and alone with no one to trust, this is perhaps the reason that they didn’t appreciate the value of companionship. So, identify those who were there to help you push through your previous successes, they are important in your quests.

4. Will this challenge add value to me?

The term ‘success’ is subjective depending on which phase of life you are at, whether it is material wealth or having a peaceful family.

Hence what determines the value of a challenge is how you define success. If you define success by the account balance, then your version of value lies in how much the challenge (new jobs, business acquisition, trading) can generate for you. To gauge if a challenge adds value to me, I will ask myself if it aligns with my core values, personal goals, and current priorities

Finally, I would like to end off with this:

In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.

Albert Einstein

The idea that problems are opportunities sounds a lot like wishful thinking, we may often worry: How can we compete with people who are already ahead of us, who invested a fraction of their lives to get to where they are? Let us get one thing straight: we should not take up challenges for the sake of competing or beating someone in a race; we are not trying to be perfect, we are here to make mistakes and allow these mistakes to help us grow.

Of course, I am not asking you to aimlessly run into a gunfight with a knife. Rather, it is important to prepare yourself by doing enough research, have a better idea of what you will be facing, etc. Then, when you finally decide to take up the challenge, face it with confidence and give it your best shot. Even if you fail, at least you can learn from it and bring these lessons with you throughout your lifetime.

Featured image courtesy of Les Finances