As a 22-year-old senior at Nevada, I used to leave the Nevada Sagebrush (the school newspaper at the University of Nevada, Reno) office around 2 a.m. every Tuesday morning, walk across the street to my house behind the Knowledge Center, sit down on a sidewalk near the front door of my house, and cry.
I’d look up to the sky as I crossed my fingers in front of me before giving in and letting my head hang in my arms. After tears filled my shirt and I couldn’t breathe because of the tear glands that had mixed with the mucus in my nose, I stood up, wiped myself off, told myself to “man up,” went inside, and fell asleep.
This went on for 18 weeks.
Mainly because I was unhappy.
I was unhappy with the work I was doing in everything I was involved in. Since I had my hands in so many things as an undergraduate, much of the work I did was half-assed because I had to balance it with other projects.
The work I was putting out for school, The Sagebrush, my fraternity, tutoring, fitness, community service — it didn’t live up to my standard.
So, I was doing all of this work, but not seeing fruitful results.
But after months of keeping this to myself and keeping a straight face in public (like men are taught to do in our society), I reached out for professional help at the University of Nevada, Reno counseling services.
This was a turning point in my life.
The counselor I spoke with saw that I was a good young man with good intentions and a good mind – I just needed someone to talk to.
She didn’t offer me any advice or techniques, she merely listened to me empty my soul and confess my shortcomings — shortcomings I had never made public.
After these sessions with her, I became much happier.
Not because my workload changed or things fell off my plate, but because I realized that struggles are essential to personal development.
Struggles are what make us change direction in life, they’re what make us hungry to achieve great things, they’re what drive us to become legendary.
But if you don’t realize the struggles in your life are an opportunity to develop, then they’re merely going to be struggles that overwhelm you and eventually overcome you.
That was my biggest challenge — accepting and making purposeful personal development a part of my life.
Purposeful personal development is something you do intentionally to push yourself outside of your comfort zone to become a better person.
It’s a challenge when you accept purposeful personal development (PPD, if you will), because you’re essentially saying, “I enjoy the struggle.”
You’re saying you’re happy working full-time, keeping up with full-time credits, performing regular community service, teaching yourself a new software at night, staying in on a Saturday nights to start a side business, and using your weekends to plan your weekdays, because you see the person you will become after balancing so much so effectively will be amazing.
This is what separates the average from the good, the good from the great, and the great from the legendary.
The legendary are willing to struggle hard, but they do it because they see the development that will result from it.
So, I offer you an ongoing challenge: Make every day purposeful.
Realize every event in your life as an opportunity to develop, and change your mindset from focusing on your struggles to focusing on the person you will become as a result from them.
Embrace your struggle, accept your shortcomings and don’t allow yourself to sulk in front of your house, crying for 15 minutes every week because you don’t like your situation.
If you don’t like something, change it.
And understand that struggles are in our life for one reason and one reason only: To make us better.
What steps do you take to purposefully challenge yourself every day? Share your comments below.
[button font_size=”20″ color=”#00a1b9″ text_color=”#ffffff” icon=”twitter” url=”http://ctt.ec/uGi53″ target=”_blank”]Tweet This Article[/button].