Our Brains Respond Better to Difficulty Than We Imagine

Written by Simi Gupta

The title creates a very interesting statement. I actually had to stop writing and think about it. When it comes to experiencing difficulty, individuals go through various phases. Some individuals resort to panic when they find themselves in a difficult situation. Examples of this could be found whenever you’ve been asked a difficult question in an interview, or approaching an exam question on a topic that you haven’t revised properly. Some individuals may even give up when they experience difficulty.

They don’t give their brains a chance to sink into the difficult situation and come up with a solution. As the title of the article points out, the concept of difficulty has many uses. The consequences of which are mostly positive, not negative.


Although I’ve provided you with a couple of examples on how individuals respond to difficulty, it would be better or more useful if you asked yourself, ‘Where and when have you faced the concept of difficulty, and how did you react to it?’ If you could go back in time, how would you have changed your way of thinking or your actions in relation to that difficult experience?

I’ve mentioned this before in my other posts, but completing applications can be stressful, time-consuming and tiring. All of which come under the form of ‘difficulty’. You may come across a question and wonder how on earth you’re going to be able to answer it to the extent where you’ll stand out from the crowd. How can you make yourself unique from the other candidates? You might leave the question and move on. Or you’d prolong the application altogether, other things will come in the way, and you’d get back to the question just before the deadline is about to pass; only resulting in a mediocre application. What happens when you’ve completed something that doesn’t illustrate the best of your ability?  You become anxious, start to worry and panic! You find it difficult to control your emotions due to the lack of time management.

Another example: in order to win gold medals, you have to go through years of training; in order to pass exams, you have to go through countless hours of revision. As you see, none of these come easy. Even the simplest of situations can be difficult, for instance, getting out of bed.  In order to achieve something, to challenge what we actually definitely want, a source of difficulty needs to be present with the goals we aim to achieve – to guide us; that’s right, ‘guide’ towards the right direction. It challenges our mental capacity.

Some individuals find it difficult to balance employment or gaining the relevant experience with working towards their degree at the same time. Let’s face it – you can graduate with a fantastic degree, but not having sufficient amount of experience or not having any at all will not land you a job or vice versa. I’m not saying that this is always the case, but it is a situation that many graduates are facing.

What would we learn if everything came easy to us? What would we achieve? How would we be able to teach others to become better individuals based on our experiences? That’s why the term ‘difficulty’ has its ‘uses.’ Despite the fact that it makes you stronger, it makes you think more on how to solve problems. It makes you stronger. It requires you to do a lot of logical thinking, increasing your brain capacity. The concept of ‘difficulty’ enables you to take a step back, allowing you to think outside the box and looking at the issue from a point of view of “the bigger picture”, increasing your ‘perceptual scope[1]’. Most importantly, you remember it in the long run. The more you focus on the challenge, the more you’ll remember.

If degree courses were so ‘easy’, every student would be popping out with first class degrees. Not 2.1s, but Firsts! Would its significance mean much? The answer is ‘no’, and they would decrease in value resulting in them not meaning very much to employers. Being able to respond to difficulty confidently results in individuals being able to improve their character. If you fall, it may be a painful experience, but eventually motivate you to work harder. Also known as ‘Will Power’.

To summarise, the main purpose behind this article is to make you aware of the positive aspects behind ‘difficulty’. As an article from ‘Intelligent Life’ points out, ‘Sometimes, the best route to fulfilment is the path to resistance’.

Image Credit: Pinterest


About the author

Simi Gupta

An aspiring lawyer and fitness geek , studying at the University of Hertfordshire, who also takes pride in helping others to make a difference.

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