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Overcoming Challenges

Getting a topic for today's write-up was kind of hard for me because I had a whole lot of ideas in my heart, mind and head and they seemed to conflict. At a point they seemed to be too similar and I worried about messing up the write-up by over flooding it. Again I worried about not being able to pass the real message I set out to put across, as a result. Yes. Little details like that worry me a whole lot and as a result, I try to pay attention to things that I feel might take the beauty of the story away.
Today, among those ideas that have flooded my heart, mind and head are CHALLENGES!!! Every human being faces challenges in life in one form or the other. It's an everyday occurrence. It's a part of our daily existence. It's something that either brings out the best or the worst in you, depending on your kind of person. Yes. Challenges can lead to progress. It can lead you to seek the face of God in your situation. It can also make you turn the way of the devil because of a lack of patience in waiting for divine intervention. Challenges!!!
Let's look at some of these challenges. In what forms do they come? Challenges could come in the area of Peer pressure. This is usually for our teenagers and the youth generally. When a young well brought up boy from a good home enters the university and all his friends are smokers, it becomes a big challenge for him because he will always be torn between pleasing his friends by trying to 'belong' or damning them and remaining the good boy he is. Challenges!!!
Challenges could come in the way of unemployment. When a graduate who has been trained in school by the collective help of his parents and a host of relatives, all because they see a bright future in him and believe that once they train him and he finishes from school he would take care of them, unfortunately, he graduates and even after serving his country for one year, still doesn't get a job and still depends on his parents for his daily existence when his mates are already earning their pay and taking care of responsibilities in the family. Now, that is a very serious challenge because he knows that much was given to him and much more was being expected. But, what can he do about it? Challenges!!!
What's my point? No matter what way you look at it, Challenges abound in our everyday existence. It doesn't just stop at the aforementioned. It could be centered on financial problems, health issues, education, family, managing competing demands, making good decisions, domestic violence, wayward children, etc. These are all challenges and they are actually an everyday thing in most homes.
 This brings us to the question HOW? How do we overcome these challenges? Perhaps we can overcome them if we see them for what they really are. Yes. A lot depends on your definition of the word, 'challenge'. A certain scholar, Brendon Burchard, described challenges as the pathway to engagement and progress in our lives. That's the way he sees it and I agree with him all the way. I remember also reading in the Book of James that 'when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy'. That is so true, as the Bible never lies. The problem however lies in the individual facing one challenge or the other. How do you tackle these challenges? Do you face them headlong or do you run away from them? Well, I would rather face the challenges that come my way face to face than run away. I also think everyone should do same,  because running away from a challenge never solves the problem or take it away.  
So, how do we handle challenges? I'll always advice people to have a goal. If you have a goal, a vision, a mission and a sense of direction in life, then the work is half done. Then, when these challenges crop up, you will be more motivated to empower yourself into being well equipped to jump over those hurdles. It's as simple as that. Sometimes, our major enemy is fear. Our major enemy is a lack of self confidence; a total lack of belief in ourselves; timidity; hesitancy, unassertiveness; skepticism, etc. I could go on and on.  There is nothing that negates one's sense of purpose like these factors. I call these factors, self limitations. If there's anything that can prevent you from scaling a hurdle, or overcoming a challenge, it's the aforementioned. So, I say you do the first thing which is, overcome that fear in you. Take the limits off. Stop the self doubt. Believe in yourself. Yes. Don't wait for people to say that they believe in you. You have to believe in yourself, first. You have to set the standards and be ready to jump. You have to know your unique value and capitalize on it. You are the only one who can eliminate those internal limitations that hold you back each time you want to reach for a goal because, if you don't remove that fear of failure, you can never achieve any goal in life!
Now, talking about goals, how often do we even set goals in life. Have you ever set a goal for yourself? Do you have a goal presently? If you don't, then you might probably go through life without achieving anything worth remembering you for. Well, if you don't have a goal, think of one thing now. I mean, something that you really want to achieve. Something you really want to celebrate. Something that will definitely change your life. Have you thought about one? Just visualize it. It has to be something you really want to accomplish in life. You have to be precise about it. You don't make guesses about what is supposed to change your life for good. So, be specific!!
If you have thought about that one goal you want to achieve, you continue to sing it like a song in your heart. You write it down. You think about it every minute of the day. You make it top priority in your scale of preference. You think it, dream it, live it and then work towards achieving it! That is when you can now look for ways to evaluate this goal and know when you are progressing in achieving it and even know when you finally make it a dream come true. Lest I forget, your goal has to be an achievable one. You can't wake up one morning and say you want to be the president of Nigeria, whereas you're just Uche Amunike that works for FIDES. A more achievable goal for Uche Amunike can be to aspire to be the NUJ president. That is more achievable. Very achievable. Your goal should be challenging, but also within your ability to reach. Be realistic, but be willing to push out of your comfort zone. Again, your goal should be relevant. Any goal you set for yourself should fit into your big picture goals. For instance, if Uche Amunike becomes the NUJ President of Anambra State Council, it is relevant in her area of specialization because she is already a media person. She is a journalist. That's what I mean by relevance. Then, one of the most important factors in goal setting is Time. It is when you have set a date, that you can target the completion of the project and actually measure your progress.  So, in summary, it's really important to set goals because they give you something to aim for, let you measure your progress and ultimately defines your purpose.
So, my next question is, are you ready or not to chase your dreams or do you still want to continue chasing shadows? Are you ready to face the challenges ahead or are you still afraid of taking risks. Do you still remember that you have failed many times and therefore, not sure that you will make it this time? Well, I'll tell you this. It's time for you to take action. Face your fears and JUST DO IT! I know you have failed before. Change perspective! Move from your comfort zone! Broaden your network. If Uche Amunike wants to be NUJ president, she needs to realize that it's time for her to go a step further in her professional scope. Professionally, she should have mentors that she looks up to. Organizationally, she should prove her worth by her commitment in her line of duty and her inputs in her organization because in journalism, your works speak for you. These are support systems that she needs to help herself achieve the goal she has set for herself. This support system includes her family background. If you don't have a supportive family, it affects your speed in achieving your goal. What of your circle of friends? Are they the types that have no plans for tomorrow? Are they goal pursuers like you? Or are they just a community of people who just take every day as they see it?  Please, if you have friends who don't motivate you, walk away from them. If your friendships add no value to your lives, kindly take a walk. There has to be a meeting point, or they can never be your support system. If they are chasing shadows and you are chasing your dreams, then you are definitely not like minds.
So, please, be true to yourself and walk your path; even if you have major achievements in your life, don't rest on your laurels so as to achieve more; don't let self doubt sabotage you; build meaningful relationships and broaden your network; seek respect and not cheap popularity!!!
I came across a very interesting quote by Pablo Picasso, where he said, 'Our goals can only be reached through the vehicle of a plan in which we must fervently believe and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.' He is so right! So, dear reader, if you don't have a goal, please set one for yourself. If you have one already, it simply means you're already in the race, so, get to the finish line. This article is all about overcoming challenges. You'll definitely run into lots of challenges while reaching for your goals. I've come to realize that these challenges make life interesting, but overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. Think about it and good luck in achieving your set goals in life!!!     

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