All too often, the human experience is a tenuous balance between the monotonously mundane and the ominously overwhelming. The prospect of these extremes cause a wide range of emotions in us, from being frozen in fear, to accepting a given situation with apathetic resignation. The truly exhilarating and meaningful aspects of life come in the balance between these two extremes. It is in this middle ground that the human spirit, our intellect, and propensity for ingenuity are unleashed in their most potent forms.
I recently heard an incredible insight about this in a podcast interview with elite ice climber Raphael Slawinski. He was asked about what inspires him in the mountains and he offered this wisdom; “Interesting is the balance between possibility and challenge.” He went on to explain that things which are too easy do not generate significant emotion or enthusiasm. On the other extreme, a feature in the mountains that was beyond the realm of possibility fails to hold allure, as it is perceived as unattainable. It is only those challenges that push the limits of possibility to the edge of our potential, that call the best out of us. Only when we find ourselves on the fulcrum between what is possible and simultaneously challenging, do we find ours potential activated and our spirit most fully alive.
We were not created to be bored. Neither were we created to live in fear of the impossible. When we allow ourselves to live at either of these extremes, we are choosing to be a lesser version of who we were designed to be. Our creator considers us a masterpiece, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10. The word masterpiece evokes the greatest achievement of an artist, designer, musician or author. God didn’t make us as his masterpiece, so that we would live a life of fear or boredom. If we choose to allow our lives to wander into the vicinity of either extreme, more often than not, we are choosing to live outside of the plans and purposes God has for our lives.
When we accept that we are a masterpiece, and reorient our lives to finding the balance between possibility and challenge, we move towards the exhilarating life God intended for us to experience. We also, add the most value to the world around us and will ultimately be the most fulfilled and satisfied that we have ever been. Here are a few ideas for how we can work our way closer to the balance between possibility and challenge…
10 Ideas to Cultivate an Exhilarating Life:
- Take a risk every day, and write about it in a journal
- Pick up a new hobby that is challenging
- If you don’t run… run a mile. If you do run… go a mile further
- Ask someone you don’t know very well out for coffee
- Get a Groupon voucher for something you haven’t done before
- Read a Shakespeare play you didn’t read in school
- Listen to a Miles Davis album and try to describe it in words
- Book a trip to a country where they don’t speak English
- Go to an authentic Chinese restaurant and order the 7th item on the menu, regardless of what it is
- Ask someone who is very different then you for a book recommendation, and then read it!
Trying new things like these ideas can begin to develop a propensity in us to move away from the extremes of life and into the middle ground between possibility and challenge. I guarantee that if we find ourselves in this middle area more often, we will find life becoming more and more exciting.
You and I were designed to live an exhilarating life… the only question is will we choose to cultivate one?
What other ideas would you propose that we add to the list above? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.