The Charm of a Challenge

If someone challenged you to jump off a bridge, would you? Some people might. Why, you ask? Why would someone risk injury or humiliation? It makes me reminisce of the holiday season, watching A Christmas Story and poor Schwartz getting his tongue stuck to the flagpole as a result of a triple dog dare.

There is something about a challenge that is compelling. It makes us do things we typically wouldn’t do. Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? A lot of us (including me) dumped a bucket of ice water over our heads and/or donated money to the ALS Association. Where I live, dumping ice water over your head isn’t a daily ritual. But, I did it, in part because my brother challenged me to.

There is value to be found in every practical challenge. I believe we should challenge ourselves every once in a while to satisfy our natural craving for curiosity and, more importantly, to learn.

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Online defines the word “challenge” as both a noun and a verb. Read an excerpt from the definitions below.

challenge, n.

  • “An accusation, charge, reproach, objection;”
  • “The act of calling to account; esp. the act of a sentry in demanding the countersign;”
  • “A calling in question or disputing; the state of being called in question;”
  • “A claim; the act of demanding as a right;”
  • “An invitation or summons to a trial or contest of any kind; a defiance” (OED Online, 1889).

challenge, v.

  • “To accuse, bring a charge against, arraign, impeach;”
  • “To find fault with, reprove, reprehend; to call upon to answer for something, or to give account of oneself; to a call to account;”
  • “To call in question, dispute;”
  • “To assert one’s title to, lay claim to, demand as a right, claim for, arrogate oneself;”
  • “To have a natural right or claim to; to demand, to call for” (OED Online, 1889).

These connotations make it clear that a challenge can be many things. A challenge is…

  • A human right.
  • A competition.
  • A question of strength.
  • An opportunity to improve.
  • An impulse to prove that you are capable.

Don’t know how to begin? Remember that thing you kept saying you would do, but never did? Do it now. Or, you can conduct the Google search “how to challenge yourself;” you’ll receive a ton of ideas.

This post is my contribution to the Your Turn Challenge. I am joining thousands of secretly inspiring people in challenging myself to write and ship one blog post every day for seven days. There is still time to participate! Click the hyperlink above for more information.

So, what is your next challenge? Share your challenge and experience in the comments section.


“challenge, n.” OED Online. 1889. Oxford University Press. 19 January 2015. <>

“challenge, v.” OED Online. 1889. Oxford University Press. 19 January 2015. <>

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