We have a new puppy. She’s made the house more fun and getting things done more challenging. We’ve also learned about opportunities, challenges, and the connection between them.
The Challenges of Having a Puppy
We have three cats who we’ve shown on Wowful Living before: Sammy and Loopy and Nolo*. They’ve been pretty easy to deal with for the most part, minus Sam relentlessly slapping me at 4:00 am when she’s hungry.
When we added Loopy and Nolo to the house, they used the litter box immediately and were not much of a challenge other than Loopy loving to pounce on Sam.
So, we were woefully (as opposed to wowfully) unprepared when we brought Zara home from the SPCA. She was definitely more loving and friendly, but she was also a lot more creative with her bathroom schedule and location. She got up early, and required a lot more attention. Plus she had so much energy – energy that she was sure meant eating everything – us included.
The frustration of the challenges hit us. Luckily I have an awesome girlfriend and great partner who’s all up for being proactive. So we came up with a plan. We saw the opportunities, challenges, and the connection between them. This was a world of opportunities.
The Opportunities of Having a Puppy
The thing is that our sleep schedule had been a bit of a wreck. In fact, our whole schedule had been a wreck. Sure, we did all our work, but it was often fit into the cracks of the day as opposed to preplanned.
We’d also been a little more sedentary and a lot more homebound. This was a great opportunity to fix our schedule and get a little more outside and activity into our day.
So we came up with a schedule where I got up at 5:15, took Zara out and hung out with her until 6:00. Then I took her for a walk until around 6:20. Meanwhile, Cristi would get up at 6:00 and do her morning chores until the time I came back.
At that point she was on puppy duty, while I got my workout in and got ready. Then the puppy would take turns in our offices until lunch.
We realized we could fight this schedule and be miserable, or embrace it to increase our motivation and actually have a more productive and accomplished day. We saw the opportunities, challenges, and the connection between them and decided to embrace them.
Finding Opportunities in Challenges
Challenges range from minor to soul-crushing. Sometimes it’s not about finding opportunities as much as it is surviving. To be honest, that’s where Cristi and I had been for the last year. Between what seems like a decline in empathy** all around us and a pandemic, it’s been tough.
But with Zara, this was a challenge that was not only full of potential, but one that could help us get back on track after being derailed.
I’m not here to tell you that every challenge is an opportunity. Some of them just suck. Getting crushed by a boulder isn’t an opportunity. It’s painful. Sometimes the things that are the most painful aren’t physical, but they still hurt just as bad.
However there are times life will give you challenges that can actually be to your advantage. Sometimes those challenges can lift you out of a painful situation if you let them. When you see an opportunity in a challenge, take it. Life can often beat us down. We need to take advantage of all the opportunities we have to stay on top.
Opportunities, challenges, and the connection between them are often easy to see if you look for them. Keep your eyes open and your hope alive. That thing that’s making your life difficult may just be the thing that pulls you out of a painful situation.
If you want to see a zombie version of Zara or if you haven’t yet checked out our site Zombie Goals, helping you build amazing habits even when you feel as motivated as a zombie, check out this post on how to build a habit easily – Do it Daily – then sign up to receive some exciting zombie gifts!
* The proximity effect in psychology involves becoming more like those we hang out with. Does this mean I’m going to become a cat?
** Sadly, some of this boils down to moral issues in politics, or, more accurately, what some consider politics that should just be moral. When did figuring out IF we help those less fortunate become political?