Harder The Challenge – The More Satisfying It Is

All challenges come with a risk-reward aspect. And this is one of the primary reasons why people look for something tougher.

I love playing Sudoku. As you are aware, Sudoku usually comes in 3/4 levels – easy, intermediate, and hard/ tough. I like to play the hard level only. There are no monetary rewards, no people watching, no competition….just me! 

And it’s a special feeling when I crack the puzzle.

Challenges provide for people (like me) with a way to test themselves and their limits. People want to raise the bar for themselves. And the only way to do so is by first challenging their limits. The more people challenge themselves, the closer they come to understand their limits, and the closer it is to understand themselves and their potential. 

Any challenge can lead to failure but all challenges come with a risk-reward aspect, degrees of which are different. People usually don’t like failure but failures allow people to grow. And this is one of the primary reasons why people look for something tougher. 

Failure does make you feel unhappy, devastated at times. You spent a lot of your time and energy trying to make something happen. And for whatever reason, it fails. 

On the flip side, when people accomplish something, it feels good and tastes sweet ( I felt good when I cracked a tough puzzle).

We feel intense contrasting feelings in life. That is because our brains are activated in ways that support this notion. In a study that appeared in Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience, 28 individuals were provided money for correctly completing math problems of different levels of difficulties. They were asked to give back some of the money to charity to facilitate a “loss.” Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was conducted on the subjects to witness brain activity during the process.

Interestingly, the fMRI of the brain showed that people were excited when the math problems were tough. Similarly, people were disappointed when they gave money away, only when the money was earned by completing difficult problems. It can be inferred that the amount of effort the individuals put into completing the problems seemed to modulate the intensity of their responses, not the reward or loss in isolation.

While money was used as a convenient and easier reward in the study, this can be extended to the fact that there are bigger rewards like love, security, etc. These can have a far greater impact.

Life Lessons

Life is not a bed of roses for many people. But when we overcome a challenge, we appreciate each outcome more because we have surmounted it and with the experience, we get better at dealing with similar things. It certainly makes us feel better equipped and assured.

Don’t take the easier route always. Taking the path less travelled makes it tougher, no doubt, but we get tougher too and the experience is far more enjoyable and rewarding

Now, are you ready to face more challenges?

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