It seems like there are two types of people: those who decide that if it's not easy they're not going to do it and those who like to challenge themselves by doing hard things. My teenage sons generally fall into the first category. They prefer to take the easy road and play a video game along the way.
It's a good thing my boys have scout leaders. The scoutmaster came up with an idea to hike 20 miles then bike 30 miles in 12 hours. That's why my husband and our two oldest sons spent last Saturday hiking and biking. (They did 20 + miles on foot and 15 on bike.) I was so proud of them all for sticking it out.
Back in the eighties and nineties when I was growing up, adults used to teach us about self-esteem by having us list all our good qualities. But I'm now sure that passing a driver's test, getting a good grade in a difficult class, finishing a 5K, or completing an Eagle project will build confidence faster than a list of qualities.
Braden Bell wrote a blog post last week about his attempt to write a novel. He compared his experience to the Bible story of Peter walking on water. Peter, in his excitement, rushed out to walk on the water, then realizing what was actually happening, he started to sink. Like Peter, those of us who try to do hard things often come face to face with our imperfection. As Braden notes, people often criticize Peter's lack of faith instead of applauding the faith it took to step out of the boat.
I'm lucky to have friends and family members who are positive about our attempts to accomplish hard things. When my kids were younger, I was all about them avoiding failure. (Yes, I'm a little type A.) But I've learned to let go of my fears a little. It's a good thing.