Challenge by Choice

by | Aug 5, 2018

Challenge by Choice is one of the guiding principals here at Firewalking International. It is a concept that is mentioned at almost all the training courses, events, and retreats that we offer. In this post we are going to unpack what we mean by Challenge by Choice and why it is very important.

What is Challenge by Choice?

The Challenge by Choice concept gives individuals’ freedom. Freedom to choose whether they participate in an activity, or not. Freedom to own their decisions and to be free from peer pressure, opinions, and judgement. It means that individuals can relax into a challenge knowing that they do not have to follow through with the activity, if they choose not to.

Challenge by Choice is easy in theory, however, there are many considerations when it comes to working with it on a practical level.

Copping-out or buying in

We discourage people from using Challenge by Choice as a “cop-out”. That is, it’s ok not to do the activity or challenge, but you still need to be present and participatory. You might think that this is especially important for Team Building events, but it equally applies to Charity Events and Retreats.

Imagine you are attending a Firewalk and there is someone who does not want to participate on any level. They are vocal that they will not do the Firewalk. Instead of supporting those that do, they stand to the side, in a mood, or worse, making negative noise. How would this make you feel?

Sure, we understand, you don’t want to do the activity. That’s cool. But you have an obligation to the other people there, even if you have just met them. You have an opportunity to support them and you never know, you might find that to be very rewarding.

We have had loads of people, particularly at Firewalks, who said they would not walk on the fire and did everything else with the group. These people consistently tell us that they loved the whole experience even though they didn’t do the Firewalk.

On occasion, because they joined in with everything else, their minds open, their perspectives change, and they do the Firewalk. And they are glad they did. That would not have happened if they copped-out early on and a reminder that Challenge by Choice is not an absolute decision.

“The strongest principle of growth lies in the human choice.”
George Eliot

Challenge by Choice and Responsibility

Life is full of risks. Admittedly, we live in an age when risks are fairly minimal and perhaps, to an extent, we are becoming more and more risk adverse. That is a topic for another day though.

Challenges such as Firewalking and Glass Walking all carry some level of risk, although the perception is much greater than the reality. For us, it is very important that people understand the risk against the reward and make their own choice from there. It is important that the “Choice” element of Challenge by Choice means informed Choice.

The Two Faces of Peer Pressure

Peer Pressure can be very beneficial at times. It can be supportive and encouraging for those on the receiving of it. And it can be rewarding for those who are providing it.

On the flip side, peer pressure in the form of positive verbal support and encouragement, can have a negative effect. It can distract a person from what is going on within themselves. It can blur their thought processes and emotions and, get in the way of listening to their gut.

Furthermore, people often put themselves under peer pressure simply by thinking about what others might be thinking or what they might say.

Challenge by Choice is a personal decision. Peer Pressure, both positive and negative, can make it harder for people to own their decision. Part of Challenge by Choice is being aware of this and giving people the space, they need to make their decision.

Challenge by Choice increases your awareness

It is widely documented, and generally accepted, that we live in a reactionary age. Smart phones, social media, and advertisers are constantly vying for our attention. And that’s after the family, social, and work commitments that are all competing for our time. With so much going on, it is very easy to bounce from pillar to post without much thought.

The Challenge by Choice process allows people the time and space to tune into themselves. They can think and, pay attention to their gut instincts. This can be very empowering and liberating for people, especially those who are bombarded by external pressures and demands.

It’s not uncommon for people to complete a High Impact Empowerment Activity and say that they feel grounded afterwards. You would imagine that their fears and adrenaline would leave them a little frazzled, but no. An opportunity to be in tune with yourself and in control of your actions is hugely rewarding.

What now?
Start something new!

Make the choice today and join one of our courses!