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Whether I am in school or on the water, I am always thinking: How can I challenge myself? It could be as simple as catching an eddy or trying a new line. It could also be more complex like learning a new combo in a hole or running a rapid with consequences. Challenges should be hard, and they might take a couple tries. Challenges also require you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. In a way challenges are goals because you are trying to accomplish something. You can use challenges as stepping stones to achieving your larger goals.

When on the water I challenge myself to run big rapids that scare me. The first time I did Dragon’s Tongue I was TERRIFIED! It was the first time I ran a rapid with consequences. It had a curtain on one side, a cave, and a body recirculating hole at the end. It was also my first class 5 rapid I ever ran. It didn’t help that the rapid was massive or that I was 12 year old. I knew I could nail but it was a challenge to mentally get myself to run it. I scouted the rapid with great detail and set up safety. The plan was for me to follow Kalob Grady, one of the coaches, down it. I decided to run it because I felt it was the way for me to challenge myself. Right before the rapid I felt the most nervous I have ever felt in my life. (Thanks to Kalob Grady for giving me confidence before we ran it). I had a perfect line, and afterward I celebrated at the eddy at the bottom.

Photo Credits: Peter Holcombe

When you step out of your comfort zone, your ability to achieve are infinite. Challenging yourself gives you an opportunity to achieve something you wouldn’t otherwise do. If you never challenge yourself, you won’t learn anything new or improve. The way you learn is challenging yourself and trying new things. When you challenge yourself you can’t be afraid of failure. Failure is a part of challenging yourself because you might not get it the first time. You learn from your failures and try again. Eventually you will get it as long as you stay determined and aren’t afraid to fail.

Challenge yourself everyday on or off the water. Whether it is to meet someone new, master a hard math problem or learn a new freestyle trick. Encourage others to challenge themselves to. How will you challenge yourself today?

SYOTR // Madz