Challenge Accepted

First Blood was about how I miraculously got over 5 years of procrastination planning, put up this blog and turned over a new leaf. What I didn’t mention is how it was part of a challenge I had with my doppelganger: Adim Ofunne.

There’s a proverb I heard growing up that I never quite appreciated. The child of the cobbler has no shoes. It doesn’t even sound like a proverb so I don’t feel guilty for not getting it right away. The wisdom tucked into that proverb is that when an individual is paid for a service, it’s unlikely they’ll perform it for free. I don’t believe its because they are cold-hearted. It’s in a parent’s best interest to provide shoes for their child, after all. I like to believe that when surrounded by their tools and placed in their work environment, most professionals will rather do paid work even if the free job is in their best interest.

Adim and I build websites of varying complexities for a living. Setting up a blog is hardly a test of our technical competence. We aren’t strangers to the importance of writing because a suprisingly significant percent of our jobs is keeping up with our field by reading other people’s blogs. We can set up a blog quickly and we know it’s important to blog. We can do it and we want to, but we never did. We were the cobblers who somehow never made shoes for our thoughts to wear while they traveled the internet.

How did we overcome years of procrastination planning and get our blogs set up within a few days of each other? We challenged ourselves.

As I read his first post, Child like thoughts, I realized that it was fear that was keeping us from doing it. Scared of what people will think of a Software Engineer with a so-so looking blog. Scared that what we’ve written won’t be anywhere near as impactful as the awesome content the internet is already filled with. Scared that it won’t turn out as planned. Somehow the friendly challenge made us forget all that and press on. The challenge got us where skill, desire or foreseeable benefit didn’t.

My girlfriend says I’m always ready to accept a challenge. I don’t know if that’s entirely true, but I have found great success in posing a challenge to myself and trying my best to accomplish it. Some of them are pretty ridiculous, in retrospect.

I challenged myself to walk to work one day. I was pleasantly surprised when I did it and challenged myself to continue doing it. What I didn’t know at the time was that it’s roughly 4.5km one way. Just found out a few minutes ago when I pulled up the route on Google Maps. I walk 4.5km a day (9 if I’m feeling up to it) and it all started with a personal challenge.

I challenged myself to learn Japanese. I’m still woeful at it and need all the help in the world, but I can identify most hiragana, some katakana and a handful of kanji. Stringing together a sentence is beyond my capabilities, but I’m not backing down.

I challenged myself to live off ramen for a month. That was a really stupid challenge. I lost a whole ton of weight and looked really sickly but I completed it! I’m challenging myself never to mess with having proper meals and eating well ever again. Please God, don’t ever let me fail at this.

Challenges are awesome! You’re capable of so much more than you know, but you won’t know til you push yourself. Do yourself a favor and take a page from Barney Stinson’s playbook: challenge yourself today.


challenge accepted