“What do you want?”
The question was posed open-endedly in creative writing class last spring. Multiple students answered—some saying that they wanted to be anywhere else than in that classroom. When it came my turn, I thought for a bit, and then I said what came to mind.
“I want a challenge.”
The professor knew I’d double-majored in biology for a while, and brought that up as an example of a challenge.
“Yeah,” I said. “But I want a challenge that’s . . .”
“Doable,” she finished. I nodded, though that wasn’t what I might have said.
I’ve thought about that question, and I don’t want a challenge that’s doable. I want one that’s worthy—a noble challenge. It doesn’t have to be doable—that’s optional. The fight for a cause can be just as satisfying as actually overcoming the obstacles.
If you can find something that you love the process of (whether or not you succeed in the end), I think you’re close to finding your noble challenge. For me, writing is one noble challenge—I may or may not always succeed at getting my message across, but striving to make another human being think and feel and see as I do for just a moment, just one fleeting moment—that’s worth it.