As long as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed a good challenge. I’d like to say it’s because I’m motivated and hard-working (lets be real, I’m just really stubborn), but nonetheless, I thrive off of pushing myself. Being the underdog. Choosing the road less traveled (#sorry).
An early example of this is me strapping on skis at the age of five and refusing help down the mountain. I wanted to figure it out myself, which resulted in zooming straight down the trail. I had no idea how to stop, so I just counted to five and… fell. (Mind you, this whole scenario was way more intense in my toddler mind).
I always root for the underdog in sports, because it’s way more exciting (and surprising) when they win. And out of all the sports I dabbled in as a kid, I’ve stuck with the one that (to me) is the most mentally and physically challenging: running. When going abroad, I chose Ghana. Why? Because Ghana is hard. I wanted to carry my own bathing water, rely on unreliable transportation, and learn to enjoy blobs of mashed plantain doused in oily fish stew for dinner (mmm).
But I thrive off that. I genuinely would rather sleep in a tent in the middle of the woods than in a 7-star hotel room. I’ll take four trains to a friends apartment instead of a cab. I’ll work overtime for a company I believe in over getting out at 5pm with the rest of the Suit-and-Tie world.
And I’m quickly realizing that working for a startup fits the way I function. Work can be hard— really really hard. But the challenges we face everyday make it all the more worthwhile. The beauty of pushing yourself and setting high limits is that you actually see your progress. Every single thing you do (or don’t do) affects a much larger goal, which in turn creates meaning for every action. And meaning is so, so beautiful.
So yeah, embracing challenges often means fucking up and failing. But it’s been mulled over time and time again that failing is essential to learning and growing and eventually figuring it out. And had I been less curious as a kid, I probably would be leading a very safe, easy life.
And I wouldn’t be happy… like I am now.