How to Make Challenges More Manageable

While challenges are often the catalysts for growth and development, it isn’t always easy to tackle them. Here are some tips to help you get them right.
The gradsingapore Team
Brendan Yee
 How to Make Challenges More Manageable

Like it or not, facing adversity is a universal experience. Everyone’s bound to encounter some form of struggle at any point in time, and they can come in many different forms. Some of them could be easily manageable, like completing a simple task, while others may be more demanding and require more commitment, like picking up a completely new skill set.

Regardless of what they are, being willing to work through challenges is a critical part of maturation, and the perfect setting to cultivate personal growth and transformation. However, managing these challenges can be easier said and done. Dealing with problems, particularly the more difficult ones, without having a reliable and appropriate approach can often lead to feelings of frustration and disappointment, or even push you to just give up altogether.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution; it’s up to you, as an individual, to figure out what works best for you. Instead, here are some general ideas that can help make tackling challenges more manageable if you’re not exactly sure where to start.

Set achievable goals

Facing an obstacle can be a journey in itself; especially when you need to invest a lot of time and effort into it. So before you get going, it can be quite helpful to plan several stops on the way to a destination, like segmenting the task into smaller, more achievable goals.

Not only does this help make the more difficult parts of the task seem less daunting, but it also gives you some breathing space, which can be necessary when running into roadblocks. This allows you to reconsider the approach you’re taking if you’re struggling to get past a certain problem while making sure that you can track your progress accurately.

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Credit: Better Up

For example, if you’re looking to learn how to use AI systems for your job, it’s wise to break down this incredibly dense subject into small segments. This would consist of mastering the basics like statistics and mathematics before trying your hand at more advanced parts like programming.

Moreover, these intermissions also provide a sense of accomplishment when a certain task is completed, further boosting your morale and motivation to face the next step. Throughout the process, it's important to remember that the benchmark of what’s achievable differs from person to person. Therefore, the goals you set should be a realistic reflection of what you’re capable of, rather than a standard set based on other’s expectations of you or an overinflated evaluation of your abilities.

Find the right level of challenging for you

As you progress through your career, you eventually settle into your job role, and things that were once intimidating now feel like second nature. Despite the confidence you may get from this, you might also start to feel too comfortable with the current level of challenge, which can lead to complacency and a reluctance to step outside their comfort zone.

To avoid this, a delicate balance needs to be struck between over- and under-engagement. This refers to how stimulating a challenge is to you based on its degree of complexity. If the tasks are too easy, you might be getting a lower level of stimulation, and hence feel bored. On the other hand, an incredibly difficult task can overstimulate you and lead to higher feelings of stress.

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Credit: Positive Psychology

This can be seen in the workplace, where some staff have simply fallen into a routine by just completing the jobs they’ve already been doing for years, with little to no change. By getting comfortable, not only do they stunt the growth of their professional capabilities, they also indirectly ensure that they are overlooked for future opportunities, especially if they work with top performers.

Instead of following suit, you may consider requesting to join a job rotation scheme that provides you the chance to try out different types of work or embed yourself in a different project that is somewhat related to your current job scope.

By constantly pushing yourself to tackle obstacles that are just a little outside of your safe space, you foster an environment where you can stretch your abilities and get a sense of satisfaction when you conquer a demanding project. This not only promotes productivity and resilience, but encourages you to push past your boundaries in the future.

Seek help from experienced individuals

It's not uncommon for you to come across challenges that are beyond your capabilities to resolve. In times like these, there’s nothing wrong with reaching out to others for help, especially if they’re well-experienced as they have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to draw from.

More often than not, this happens when it's your first time working through a completely new or different kind of challenge, and you are in need of some guidance to take the right first steps. This may prove to be an issue if you’re an introverted person, are too nervous to ask for help, or have no idea how to initiate a conversation to begin with.

In spite of this, you should still try your best to approach a senior when you’re in need of help. Most people are more willing than you think to help those around them, and having gone through a similar path, they are able to advise on various matters like common mistakes to avoid. This gives you the confidence and assurance to rely on their information since it's been tried and tested, allowing you to save valuable time and leapfrog ahead of those who do not have such guidance.

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Credit: LinkedIn

It's important to keep in mind that what type of help you are asking for reflects on you as an individual and your potential as an employee. According to a study done by the University of Illinois, there are two forms of requesting assistance: autonomous help-seeking, and dependent help-seeking.

The former aims for a person’s eventual self-sufficiency at a task, and is viewed positively by superiors, while the latter is simply aimed at resolving the immediate issue, and is viewed negatively. By engaging in autonomous help-seeking, you are taking ownership of your work, and exhibit competence and willingness to learn; attributes that are highly valuable as an employee.

It also helps to foster a stronger professional image that showcases your interest in cultivating continuous improvement and autonomy as an individual.

Making challenges more manageable to tackle

Adversity and challenge are often viewed negatively. But in truth, they’re not just inevitable, but can prove to be incredibly useful and necessary for growth when viewed through a more optimistic lens. Instead, try seeing them as opportunities rather than adversaries, that not only cultivates a conducive environment for growth on a professional level, but also bolsters traits that are valued by employers like fortitude and self-assurance.

Embracing challenges is not always just about overcoming obstacles, sometimes it's about testing your mettle and embarking on a journey to better yourself. When you face a hurdle head-on, you’re tapping into all the traits and skills you possess, and also uncovering aspects of yourself that you didn't know you had. Adversity is not just a great teacher of invaluable lessons and wisdom, but it serves as a reminder that our potential for greatness is never limited as we grow from each trial too.

With this in mind, go forth and bravely confront the challenges that you have in your life. If you ever feel like the odds are against you, just remember that behind every successful person is a lifetime of hard work and setbacks, and if they could achieve greatness, why not you?