We have an exercise bike in the house. In the summer it’s one of those things that I dry laundry on. In the winter, I try to get on it a few times per week. It’s not my favourite thing to do, but with a good audiobook, it’s not half-bad.
Each evening that I’m grudgingly pulling on my stretchy shorts to move my body a bit, I grumble to myself, “What is the point of exercise?”
Seriously though, grumbling aside, what is the essential purpose of exercise?
Is the essential purpose of exercise to rock your lululemons?
If it is, then the weights, the increased intensity, the stretching, the running, and all the hard work would get in the way of that. You’d be all sweaty, and tired, and frazzled. Ugh. You wouldn’t look smashing in your matching stretchy suit.
But that’s not the purpose of exercise, is it?
The essential purpose of exercise is to build strength, flexibility, and endurance.
In order to do that you need to increase the weight, up the intensity, stretch further, go longer. In order to fulfill the essential purpose of exercise you need challenge. There is no exercise without challenge.
What is your essential purpose?
Is it to have fun? Is it to enjoy life 24/7? Is it to be smiling and instagram-worthy all the time?
If so, then challenge, hardship, struggle and adversity would get in the way of that. You wouldn’t be having fun, smiling, or taking selfies when things get hard. Ugh.
But that’s not your essential purpose.
Your essential purpose is to be the best version of yourself.
Your essential purpose is to build character, practice virtue, love harder, be better than you were yesterday.
In order to do that you need challenge. You cannot build character when things are easy. You cannot practice virtue in calm waters. You cannot love harder without difficult people and situations. You can’t be better than you were yesterday if you’re on a smooth path.
You need challenge in order to be the best version of yourself.
There is no best version of yourself without challenge.
So next time challenge arises, be grateful for the opportunity to practice being the best version of yourself. Open your arms, smile at it, welcome it in. Whisper, “Bring it on.”
Here’s to Conquering Stress,
The Stress Experts
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Practical Strategies to Deal with Daily Stressors
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