A funny thing happened as I looked back on the past year. I learned an invaluable lesson. One that I had read about. One that I had been told in quotes. One that thousands of people have undoubtedly tweeted about, posted on Facebook, and probably made into memes. My most exciting events of last year were the result of my most challenging struggles.

Challenges lead to most exciting events
Your most exciting events are usually the result of your most challenging struggles. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

As I took the time to reflect on the previous year, I made a list of my highlights and my most challenging times. I did them separately. I made the first list to remember the good. I made the second list to think about how I could have improved.

And what resulted almost floored me.

When I happened to put the lists side by side, they almost matched exactly, even the order.

Highlight – Running my first half-marathon

Challenge – Training for my first half-marathon

Highlight – Having a potty-trained daughter

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Challenge – Potty-training our daughter

Highlight – Spending an entire week at Topsail Beach, NC

Challenge – Getting to Topsail Beach, NC (seriously, the trip down was a nightmare)

Highlight – Best year ever income-wise by more than six figures

Challenge – Literally no days off other than Sunday until the end of the year

Highlight – My two week vacation that ended just last week

Challenge – See previous challenge

Highlight – Watching blog numbers grow exponentially

Challenge – Writing…every single day

I only had two highlights that did not match a challenge and one challenge that didn’t result in a highlight.

And the best part is that I can already see it playing out in 2014 as well. I fully expect to see these highlights this year:

Launching a podcast and getting my first 100,000 downloads

Releasing my first fiction book

Taking a full week off to go to Disney World with my family

Running my second half-marathon, but in 30 minutes less than last time

And I also know that each of those comes with its own corresponding challenge. Early mornings, late nights, sore feet, the stress of disconnecting, etc.

But, like last year, I know that each challenge will be worth it.

What big challenges have led to the most memorable highlights for you?

0 thoughts on “The Origin of Your Most Exciting Life Events

  1. Isaac Dorrel says:

    Is it not amazing how that works! Just goes to show the importance of setting goals, sticking to them, and reflecting back on what you did or didn’t accomplish… I hope you continue writing every single day. I really enjoy reading your posts.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Oh, I will. Thanks Isaac!

  2. Mark Sieverkropp says:

    One of the biggest challenges I have faced was getting around people who would encourage and uplift me. This has led to me seeking out some absolutely amazing people and connecting with them in ways I never thought possible. Those associations have chabged my life. Matt, I count my friendship with you as one of those relationships.

  3. Jon Stolpe says:

    It was certainly a challenge pulling all the details and funds together for a trip to Guatemala this summer for missions work. The challenge was well worth it as this was easily the biggest highlight of my year in 2013.

  4. Joe Lalonde says:

    Last year seen a lot of challenges. One I’m still trying to overcome.

    Here’s a challenge though that led to some great memories and an enjoyable time: My first time ice climbing. We had to snowshoe, pack out, freeze our tails off, and I even got blisters on my heels.

    But would I trade it for anything else? Nope.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Sounds…cold 🙂

      But also fun.

      I’ve never done cold weather sports like that (I’m from the south, man) but I did recently withstand -40 degree wind chills to clear our driveway. I felt rather accomplished at the end.

      1. Joe Lalonde says:

        Actually, with the right gear, it’s not too bad. Last year we were climbing in the low to high 30s. Made it pleasant.

        This year we’re heading to Canada and sleeping outside. Going to be interesting.

        Those wind chills can be nasty Matt. (-:

  5. Mike Kawula says:

    Matt this is awesome. Reminds me of that cartoon image of the guy in the cave mining for diamonds with only a little more to go but seems like forever. That “Gap” between our Goal and where we are seems like a forever empty challenging space, but with that right mindset making the leap is achievable for anyone. Loved your examples ~ Mike

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      I love that cartoon! So true.

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