Not once, but on several occasions, we had to tell a customer that the colored case they wanted was out of stock. We might suggest that they switch to another color, and sometimes they would accept. Other times, they decided to wait for new stock or, sadly, even ask for a refund.
We always assumed that the majority of people would wait for the color that they really wanted. Then, one day, a customer from Italy enlightened us: he loved the black and yellow case, but he eventually swapped it with the black and grey one. Why? Because he was afraid of making a mistake.
It’s true, black and grey are classic colors and rarely look out of place together.
Sometimes we want to stay on the safe side. I get it.
But mistakes are inevitable, so why not embrace the challenge, and the outcome may be different from the one you expected.
Why Is It Important to Challenge Yourself?
According to Sigmund Freud and Maslow, we all need to exert our potential and convey our development skills once we fulfill our basic needs. Only when a person brings out the best in themselves can they feel a sense of joy and satisfaction.
The truth is, sometimes we fear the unknown and avoid taking risks. So, there's nothing wrong with staying in your comfort zone from time to time. We need a space to recharge our minds and body, and we should respect it. It's the place where things are predictable and where we feel comfortable to be ourselves. We don't need to figure things out. In this space, we know what we're capable of.
However, after spending some time here, everything becomes the norm, even our sense of contentment. By and by, we are less and less satisfied with ‘comfort’. This explains why we sometimes need to make changes in our lives and challenge ourselves.
I'm not talking about turning our world upside down or going on an epic adventure. We don't have to break out of the comfort zone like animals escaping from a zoo; we just need to EXPAND it bit by bit. We have to experience a little fear, but that's what a challenge is. It's the challenge we have to complete to overcome that fear.
Challenge yourself; make that call you've been putting off or take up a new sport. You might discover more about yourself and increase your self-esteem, happiness, and sense of satisfaction.
We know how happiness feels because we've experienced sorrow, agitation, and maybe worse. Sometimes, challenging yourself doesn't feel great or comfortable, but once you achieve your goal, you'll feel a sense of achievement you don't experience every day. You may even get rewarded with material things, just like winning a contest.
What if I fail?
There are no guarantees in life. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we make mistakes. It's a natural part of life.
But if you don't start, you can't fail, and of course, you can't succeed either.
Even if you fail once or ten times, it's not the end of the world.
When James started PITAKA, it wasn't easy.
Those wooden cases may look beautiful, but we only sold dozens, despite spending hundreds of thousands of dollars developing and manufacturing them.
Aramid fiber cases are now one of our best sellers, and many people get to know PITAKA through these innovative phone cases.
Later, when James decided to make magnetic wireless chargers, he didn't receive a lot of support. He was told that he would fail because no one had done it before. At the time, the industry was still under the impression that additional magnets inside a charger would impede wireless charging and damaged phones. James didn't give up; even if he hit a dead-end, he was motivated to see how far he would go.
It's not a dead-end, as it turned out.
If our idea doesn't seem possible at first, and we give up, then it was only ever an idea. If we start taking the first steps to turn it into a reality, we can improve the original thought and develop a better idea.
Remember that we can learn from failures or mistakes and grow wiser and stronger. More importantly, failure is not the only outcome. Don't be frightened away by your imagined scenario.
How to Challenge Yourself?
Climb Mount Everest, skydive, and win the ultimate street skateboarding contest! OK, take it easy. That's not how we do it. Of course, if you're interested and can train for it, then do it!
Challenging yourself is not easy, but it's not as hard as you think. Here're some ideas you can try:
1. Don't settle. Once you find life is dull or stagnant, it's time for changes.
2. Define your challenges. List as precisely as you can all the things you find intimidating, things that scare you off, but that you can overcome them if you try.
3. Face your small fears.
"If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you."
The things you want to challenge should not be so easy that you can do it without putting in extra time, energy, or attention. Without those things, you can't make any real progress. On the other hand, your goal should not be so difficult that you might quickly get scared and give up.
If making a call fills you with fear, try to make one phone call the first day and two calls the next day.
4. Don't be afraid of making mistakes. It means you're doing something instead of sitting still. A mistake is not a disaster. C'mon, we're not working at the International Space Station. Most times, things aren't as big a deal as they seem.
5. Question everything. It's not asking "why?" a thousand times like a 5-year-old. To question is to consider, and to consider is to dig into a subject or possibility of a goal. You learn and understand.
When others tell you "you should do it" or "you can't do it," question them: how can they define you? And question yourself: why do they think I can't do it? Try to understand the logic behind it. Whether you continue on your path or give up your fantasy, find more reasons to back your decision.
6. Get creative. It’s not just "geniuses" that can be creative. We often hear how creative children are and that it's a quality in all of us. Unfortunately, most of us lose it when we grow up.
You can create art to unlock your mind. If that's not your thing, try to be more creative in everyday life. Be more imaginative with your clothes, or put on those neon green sneakers you bought but were afraid to wear.
Don't swim with the tide. And don't be afraid to be different.
"I'd rather be a freak than a clone." – Joanne Harris.