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At all time periods in a man’s life he must face challenges.
Some challenges may be small and seem meaningless,
Such as learning to ride a bike or tying one’s own shoes,
But every challenge overcome leaves a lasting lesson learned.

These challenges are faced differently by everyone and everyone’s challenges are unique.
Some find some easier to overcome than others, while others struggle at the simplest tasks.
Timing and circumstance go hand and hand as to when we face these challenges,
And experience, knowledge, and effort are the tools to overcome them.

Then, there are life’s challenges that we will never overcome.
Preventing a disease from taking a life or a loss of a child.
No one could stop or overcome that challenge.
So, this creates new challenges in which we must face such as grief.

Every time we overcome or fail to overcome a challenge it creates a new sense of being.
I am now a bicycle rider; I am now a shoe tyer; I am now a widow.
But why does there have to be so many challenges to overcome?
Why can not life be easy and fulfilled from the start?

Some say it builds character. But what if I was satisfied with the character I was before?
To avoid challenges is to avoid life.
To avoid life is to avoid love.
And to avoid love is to die.

Therefore, life is a never-ending struggle to take on new challenges.
Every moment wasted avoiding new or existing challenges leads to despair.
Challenge – a stimulating task or problem. A calling to account or into question.
An invitation to compete in a sport. To dispute or confront boldly.
I have challenged life’s sets of challenges again and again.
Each one leaves me with that lesson learned once completed.
I have avoided life’s most challenging challenges again and again.
Therefore, I never learn the lesson meant to be learned and have despaired.

The one thing remarkable about challenges is that they do not have to be accomplished alone.

Take for example learning how to swim. You could get thrown into the water and possibly overcome the challenge and swim to safety… or you could drown. The highest chance of success of overcoming this challenge is through assistance; floatation devices, instructors, instructions, and most of all, practice. With practice comes more experience and then eventually the challenge is completed. Now, one can continue with the swimming experience to challenge themselves further. To become faster, breathe underwater longer, swim for longer periods of time or distance. Every challenge leads to a new set of challenges that are chosen by that individual or group of individuals. Michael Phelps did not stop at simply learning how to swim. He became the world’s fastest swimmer at his time and to which people are challenging those records to this date. This year’s Summer Olympics will have hundreds of people challenging themselves to overcome his previous records.

This applies for all things in life. When the challenge is too daunting to face alone and you have exhausted all resources, do not accept defeat. Understand that challenges are based on time, circumstance, experience, knowledge, and effort. In order to overcome a certain challenge, it will require an improvement upon one of these key factors.
Unfortunately, the one factor that is hardest to improve is time. Time is steady. Man did not fly to the moon as soon as we created the airplane. It is hard to accept that some challenges we so badly want to overcome will not happen in our short existences. But what we can accept is that there are those small, seemingly meaningless challenges that must be overcome. Otherwise, the challenges will build up into larger ones.

Circumstance (a fact or condition connected with or relevant to an event or action) is another finnicky subject that cannot really be controlled well.
Being raised in the right household, being surrounded by the right peers and mentors, or even unexpected occurrences that lead to having the upper hand are up to uncertainty. To make circumstances more certain is a challenge which includes risks. Michael Phelps could have used steroids to improve his circumstances. Insider traders could game the market for their advantage. Thieves can rob a bank. These are all negative ways to improve circumstances to beat challenges.

So, how can we positively improve circumstances to beat challenges? Effort is a good start. A never-ending motor of motivation to put yourself in the right place at the right time. Working out every day and training your body, mind, and spirit is another way. Finding the right mentors, coaches, peers, etc. can improve the circumstances to overcome challenges.

I’m not going to go into experience, knowledge, and effort since those are complexly self-explanatory. Now, what happens when you feel trapped against a set of challenges? You have done everything in your power to overcome it and now you are feeling hopeless. That is when avoiding the challenge becomes avoiding life, which leads to avoiding love, and dying unhappy.

Mankind has overcome previously thought impossible challenges in our history. An individual’s challenge is nothing compared to someone else’s. It is not fair to judge another person’s challenge without first understanding the key factors they have available to them (timing, circumstance, experience, knowledge, and effort). What should be done is to help improve one or more of these factors in that person’s life. This charity, or act of kindness, is the true reason challenges exist. We all need help; we all struggle; we all suffer from personal challenges. By helping others and letting others help you overcome your challenges creates that lasting lesson learned, but it adds an additional flavor to the lesson. It was help from others that sticks just as much as the overcoming.


I am learning this now. I may have known it before, but not realized or cared as deeply as I do now. I have avoided my challenges which has led to more challenges for others for which they cannot overcome. This has led to the avoiding of life and love for myself and others. I knew I had to catch it before the final deadline of a crippling failure of death. I cannot overcome these challenges alone and my loved ones cannot overcome their challenges alone.

A man today jokingly said I was selfish for not thinking about the American populous as a whole (we were talking politics) and only thinking about my own wellbeing. I thought I was thinking my own challenges were similar as others, but then, I quickly realized that is entirely not the case. But how can I help every person overcome each of their challenges? I can’t. But I can improve these key factors for those I can for the rest of my life which will eventually add up to something. It reminds me of a woman I know that grew up with my family from a less fortunate household. They helped her overcome her challenges early and for 50 years she continuously helps them, and now, countless others overcome their challenges around her.

It is the only thing we can do.

Do not avoid challenges. Face them. Find out which of these factors needs improvement and make the effort to improve upon them. Find the right people, resources, or information to get the job done. And then when that is all said and done. Face the next one, or better yet, their next one.

Timing, circumstance, experience, knowledge, and effort.
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Written on July 11, 2021

Submitted by rafrancis13 on July 20, 2021

6:16 min read

Quick analysis:

Characters 7,363
Words 1,254
Stanzas 18
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 8, 1, 1, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1

Robert A Francis

US Navy submarine veteran/song writer/poet more…

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    "Challenges" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 28 Mar. 2023. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/105374/challenges>.

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