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What does “challenge” mean to you?

Jousting Knight Challenge

You see, I was taking part in a sort of goal-planning exercise in a networking meeting and I was asked to share 3 positive words that will help me to achieve my goal. My words were:
“Challenge, Teamwork, Belief”

The exercise leader asked me to change the word “challenge” because it was negative. We had a discussion about this because I don’t think it is. To me “challenge” is something just out of reach that you need so you devise a way to reach it. I think it’s only recently it’s got a bad reputation as meaning obstacles in your way that you need help to overcome, as in “visually challenged”. Who invented that as a politically correct way to say “blind” or “partially sighted”? Normally I’m a fan of political correctness, as it is polite and respectful. But sometimes it has unintended consequences, as in this case. It’s taken a positive word and turned it into a negative one.

Let’s have a look at the word “challenge” itself. Where did it come from? Well in days of old, when knights were bold and ran around on horses with lances, there used to be jousting tournaments or tourneys. In order to challenge an opponent to a lance-off (ha! I can’t remember the word but lance-off will do!) then the Champion would throw down his gauntlet at the feet of the man he wanted to fight. This gave us the phrase “throw down the gauntlet”. If the knight accepted the challenge, he would pick up the gauntlet. This was all part of the life for a knight in shining armour, you see. Nothing negative about it: it was part of life. And after all, all a challenge is is a dropped glove!

But still I got told that the Universe hears only negative from the word “challenge”. No I don’t accept that, because it is not negative. It is a part of life! We all face things we have to overcome, every day. For me, even standing up straight is a challenge on cold, damp days. So I overcome that by having a hot bath first thing in the morning, and keeping plenty of hot packs around. They really do help.

And I am ready for the next challenge. When I first started the journey that led to the Amethyst Centre, I knew that I had to create something that (a) had to keep me occupied until I could retire, which was a good few years later than I’d originally thought, and (b) had to give me something that could be liquidated and form my pension. So I came up with a 10 year plan, which involves creating more Amethyst Centres around the country. This is my next challenge – but, as you can see from the three words above, is unattainable on my own. I need to recruit a team to help with this: people who believe that we can improve our health ourselves, and that medicine is not the only way we can do this. Is this you?