Are 10 Year Challenges BS?

Forget "the 10 year challenge." How many times have you challenged yourself in the last 10 years? I mean succeed where at least 50% of others, or maybe even 99% of others would fail?

Are 10 Year Challenges BS?
Photo by Daniel Mingook Kim / Unsplash

The Cultured Warrior #035

So, you posted a selfie with a #throwback picture your phone auto-generated and tagged it #10yearchallenge.  But, did you actually do anything challenging?

I'm chugging my way through Michael Easter's "The Comfort Crisis" which is everything you'd expect and has given me a lot to think about already.

In a recent training article I talked about "1% Gains and Winning", and wanted to list a few times "I'd been a 1%-er."  The prompt at the end of Tim Grover's "Winning" was for just that, except he simply called them "wins", nothing special about being a 1%-er.

An enduring concept in The Comfort Crisis is misogi – a ritualistic, self-initiated, trial-by-fire utilizing the physical body / elements to transform spiritually.  The are are a few "rules and guidelines" per Easter.

  • Rule 1: It has to be really f*ing hard:  There should be at least a 50% chance of failure.
  • Rule 2:  Don't die.  Self explanatory.
  • Guideline 1: It should be quirky or unusual.  This helps in 2 areas.  It reduces your ability to train for the event and keeps the failure odds high.  It also reduces the urge to "comparison shop" – e.g. my friend John bear crawled 5 miles, so I'll do 6.
  • Guideline 2:   Don't publicize it.  A livestream defeats the purpose of solitude and creates an external rather than internal focus.  Perhaps documenting or recalling the process afterwards is a bit different especially if the emphasis is on encouraging others to, again, search inside themselves by way of physical challenges, rather than "one-up" your recent or their last endeavor.  If you're doing these every week, they're not hard enough.

Okay, so some "wins" or misoges I've had:

  • 2006: Eagle Scout
  • 2010: First generation (male) college graduate
  • 2011: First MMA Fight
  • 2015: First generation (male) master's degree, won the annual award named after the department's founder
  • 2018: 3 of 6 traditional climbing pitches at 5.10 or harder and redpoint or better
  • 2020: Bought a house 3 years after being homeless, completed LPC residency, started competing in BJJ again at age 32
  • 2021: BJJ Brown Belt

Do hard things,


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