December 4, 2013

The Nature of Challenge

by pyrad
Categories: General Running and/or Fitness
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Some peers and classmates tell me that they don’t feel challenged by their jobs anymore. Because of that, they want to change jobs.

I think about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: Satisfy the base things of security, food, etc. before going onto others. There are higher needs like self-actualization and esteem and such.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs (credit Wikipedia)

I find it a little counter-intuitive to jeopardize those base things to satisfy the things above them. Seems like putting the cart before the horse.

There’s a great webcomic illustrating Dean Karnazes motivation to transition from a marketing executive to an ultramarathoner. He says there’s no struggle in modern life.

Excerpt from webcominc Zen Pencils about Dean Karnazes
Excerpt from webcominc Zen Pencils about Dean Karnazes


It’s not a stretch to relate challenge and struggle. In her book “The Summit SeekerVanessa Runs writes “I imagine a life of complete comfort would make us sick, bored and miserable.” She also writes:
It would seem that one of the main goals in our society is to avoid suffering, and yet suffering is part of what we crave as ultrarunners. It’s a big part of what makes our victory so sweet.”

I find challenge in running. I find it a way to satisfy self-actualization and esteem criteria without risking the physiological or safety needs. I’m not about to quit my job and become a nomad and/or ultrarunner, but I find it satisfying.

I guess I don’t necessarily understand the risk-taking that other young people are so keen on. Maybe I’m nore risk-averse than my peers. Maybe I just don’t think like a typical Generation Y Yuppie.


What do you think about the nature of risk and challenge?

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