How Challenging Yourself can Develop 5 Skillsets Crucial for Growth


Throughout the years, I have found that utilizing efficient ways to grow as an individual becomes necessary to maintain happiness and find fulfillment.

One of the best methods of fulfillment that I practice is by placing oneself in a challenging or unfamiliar environment. From my personal experience, the skills you gain from immersing yourself in a new culture or environment are extraordinary. 

A challenging environment ranges from extended periods in a foreign country, joining a new class at the gym, or even a cold shower in the morning.

When deciding whether or not to make the jump into something unfamiliar, consciously pushing your boundaries is an experience that I highly recommend for you to try. These are a few of the benefits I’d like to highlight:


How to spot Challenge

Finding a challenging environment is fairly simple.

Simply, brainstorm 5 areas of life that you feel need to be improved at this point.

Then, brainstorm actionable steps to create immediate improvement in these areas.

If you feel a slightly frightened, and anxious feeling surrounding these events – that’s usually a good indicator for a challenging environment to you.

As long as these slightly feared actions/environments don’t involve anything illegal, or harmful to others – Find the nearest time to complete said event.

If this means saying hello to somebody you’ve had your eyes on, the next day say “Hello”.

If you wanted to join the gym, that night research a gym routine, and stick with it.

If it means calling a family member, do it instantaneously with all effort.

Upon standing face to face with your challenging environment, the leap of faith you take towards breaking through your comfort zone will bring you these unprecedented skillsets.

When challenging the comfort zone, your body will be rewarded with endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and an extreme sense of euphoria – along with growth of that comfort zone.

Here are the 5 skills that are improved by challenging your comfort zone. 

1. You will learn to become resourceful.

Perhaps the conveniences you had in your home country are not anything like the one you’ve placed yourself in.

Basic infrastructure typically lacks, and receiving information is often more difficult in second and third world countries. 

In order to adapt successfully under these conditions, one will learn to not only use their resources, but how to find resources.

Having to be resourceful will amplify the gratitude you have for your current state of living, making even the simplest of luxuries seem awe-inspiring.

Conditioning your resourcefulness will spill into any endeavor you wish to pursue, whether it be academically, entrepreneurially, spiritually, or career based.


2. You will become self-aware.

One thing to keep in mind – there will be periods where you are alone.

You will have to become comfortable with being with yourself and knowing who you are. Being comfortable in your own company empowers you to rely on yourself, without depending on anybody or anything.

Pushing your comfort levels in a new environment allows oneself to awaken their deepest desires, and emphasizes the divine relationship one has with themselves.

You will now be the minority, and can see life from a new perspective. You will be asked questions about yourself and your culture, thus, developing your self-identification. 

The increased sense of self will improve your self confidence, vision, energy, and power.


3. Your communication skills will enhance.

To successfully adapt to a new culture, learning to communicate with those around them effectively is key.

Understating the culture, the environment, and what resources an individual has, all comes down to communicating.

Pushing your boundaries of comfort while communicating to people you don’t know will expand your self confidence, communication skills, and team working abilities. These experiences will help you navigate diverse situations with ease. 


4. You will become more disciplined.

One barrier most face to traveling is the financial aspect.

All you must do is save. Little by little – every bit counts.

Putting your money toward experiences around the world can take your dollar so much farther.

Dynamically working with your money while traveling is a fantastic way to learn the skill of budgeting.

You will have to adapt; resisting tendencies originating in your culture – to integrate into those of another culture.

Once you adapt to a single new culture, you are permanently better suited to face changes in your own environment. These changes range to from career changes, environmental changes, and personnel changes.   


5. You will develop into a leader.

With the combination of skills already discussed, leadership comes inevitably – Just take a look at Notre Dame’s “What Makes An Effective Leader” article.

Putting oneself in a challenging environment gives light to the fact that you have passion for a cause that is greater than just yourself. You are committed to finding a deeper fabric of life. 

You will need to manage money, adapt to new environments, build communication skills, become more resourceful, and grow a greater sense of self –  all while having an incredible time.

Companies seek those with experiences like this. These qualities reveal the true flexibility, adaptability and power one contains. These are powerful skills that cannot be taught within the class room – adding incredible value to those that posses them. 


Affordable Opportunities for you to Go Abroad:

AIESEC is the world’s largest youth run organization that works with the UN to send developing minds on cross-cultural exchanges in 150+ countries. Each opportunity is centered around one of the sustainable development goals proposed by the UN. After plenty of research and going on an exchange myself, this organization has got to be the most financially ready for bold individuals.

StudentUniverse and WowAir are also very reliable websites that often have incredible international deals for students aspiring to go abroad.


Take Action!

Through placing ourselves in challenging environments, we can condition our resourcefulness, self awareness, communication, discipline, and leadership skills.

Through traveling, or placing yourself in an unknown environment for a period of time, you can build incredible skills, and regain a connection to the human spirit. This challenge can mean joining a new class at the gym, saying hi to that special person, taking part in the new career opportunity, or creating a gym routine. When a situation that urges you to back away and say no, take that as the signal to dive right in. You can feel it in your gut. 

We hold the power for an amazing legacy. Don’t take your life for granted, and don’t take your ability to shape the world and create your vision, lightly. All by placing yourself in a new, slightly frightening, and challenging environment, you can grow to extreme heights. 

Remain curious, set high expectations, show gratitude, and enjoy the journey. – Rizer Media

“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” –Muhammad Ali

Sarah Khan

Akash Dharamshi




One can become more resourceful, a better communicator, a better leader, and more self fulfilled, through the art of placing oneself in a foreign and challenging environment. (Ex. Traveling, cold showers, events that push your boundaries).

Sarah Khan

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