*** Fresh Fish Challenge: Put a Shark in Your Tank ***
The Japanese have always loved fresh fish. But the waters close to Japan have not held many fish for decades. So to feed the Japanese population, fishing boats got bigger and went farther than ever. The farther the fishermen went, the longer it took to bring in the fish. If the return trip took more than a few days, the fish were not fresh. The Japanese did not like the taste.
To solve this problem, fishing companies installed freezers on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer. however, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen and they did not like frozen fish. The frozen fish brought a lower rice. So fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, fin to fin. After a little hashing around, the fish stopped moving. They were tired and dull, but alive.
Unfortunately, the Japanese could still taste the difference. Because the fish did not move for days, they lost their fresh-fish taste. The Japanese preferred the lively taste of fresh fish, not sluggish fish. So how did Japanese fishing companies solve this problem? How do they get fresh-tasting fish to Japan? To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies still put the fish in the tanks. But now they add a small shark to each tank. The shark eats a few fish, but most of the fish arrive in a very lively state. The fish are challenged.
As soon as you reach your goals, such as finding a wonderful mate, starting a successful company, paying off your debts or whatever, you might lose your passion. You don't need to work so hard so you relax. Like the Japanese fish problem, the best solution is simple. It was observed by L. Ron Hubbard in the early 1950's: "Man thrives, oddly enough, only in the presence of a challenging environment."
*** The Benefits of a Challenge ***
The more intelligent, persistent and competent you are, the more you enjoy a good problem. If your challenges are the correct size, and if you are steadily conquering those challenges, you are happy. You think of your challenges and get energized. You are excited to try new solutions. You have fun. You are alive!
*** Recommendations ***
-Instead of avoiding challenges, jump into them. Beat the heck out of them.
-Enjoy the game.
-If your challenges are too large or too numerous, do not give up. Failing makes you tired. Instead, reorganize. Find more determination, more knowledge, more help.
-Don't create success and lie in it. You have resources, skills and abilities to make a difference.
-Put a shark in your tank and see how far you can really go!
Some of us vegetarians might not identify with this fish-y story but the lesson is valid. The "flow" state of optimal performance is also achieved only when people are engaged in slightly difficult goals and not when something is beyond their perceived ability nor when something is too easy.