Dealing with challenges

Dealing with challenges, handling stress & challenges
Malala Yousafzai – Photo credit STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

A challenge is defined as something that tests your physical or mental ability to overcome an obstacle. On the journey of life, we all have problems, and no two are the same. Some people face significant trials. Nelson Mandela, for example, was in prison for 27 years for fighting for equality. Another person with a major challenge was Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan who was shot in the head for empowering girls to be educated.

I have had many problems in my life, including depression, overweight, low self-esteem, and a negative mindset. These were trivial problems compared to those of the incredible people mentioned above, but when I was going through them, these issues seemed enormous.  You couldn’t have told me back then that my problems were minor. They only lessened in hindsight, when I compared them to those of Nelson and Malala. 

The benefits of challenges

Home shopping - woman with credit card and laptop in lounge thinking

Nelson Mandela came out of prison a peaceful, kind man who held no grudges against anyone. I would say his problems had made him a better, stronger person. He also became president of South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Malala almost died from being struck by a bullet, but after she recovered, she continued to fight for the rights of children. Her challenges only made her more determined. Moreover, she now has a global platform from which to continue her fight for the equal rights of girls and women. And Malala, too, is a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Challenges help us to grow

My mother, Delores Davis, had difficulties, she was born poor, a single mom of five children, worked several jobs to provide food and clothing for her family, but she did not let her challenges stop her. She rose above her circumstances and immigrated from Jamaica to Canada. She did not allow where she started in life to determine her destination.

I believe trials help us to grow. As we come through them, we gain wisdom. We understand who we are and where our strength comes from. Challenges may knock us down for a while, but they will also build us up, just as resistance training builds up a strong muscle. Also, with renewed strength, we can handle other problems that life throws at us.

Trials reveal our weaknesses, but they also show us the areas we need to work on.  To deal with challenges successfully, we need a mindset that believes we can overcome anything.

Nelson Mandela – Photo credit: Yousuf Karsh

Prison didn’t stop Nelson Mandela. Nor did a bullet finish off Malala. So there is nothing to prevent us from overcoming our challenges either. It helps if we remember who we are — we’re champions. When I had difficulties I became weak and depressed because I forgot who I was, a winner.

We are all champions! So let us embrace the road we are on and remember that God never gives us more than we can handle. Consider, if life were easy how boring it would be! Challenges make life exciting, especially as we overcome them.

From tragedy to passion

Sometimes heartbreak can lead to a new passion. In my interview with Nada Hogan, on the Sprinting To Success podcast, she tells the heart-wrenching story of the death of her 18-year-old daughter. Nada, a courageous woman, had enormous issues to overcome as she faced the reality of her daughter’s death. However, she turned her loss and grief into a new passion. Now she now helps other grief-stricken families because she is able to understand what they are going through.

Nada Hogan

If we simply resign ourselves to life’s problems, we will not grow. So let the challenge we are facing now be a springboard for a new passion and purpose for our future.


Malala Yousafzai:

Nelson Mandela: