The Next Challenge


Since getting back I have been asked quite a few times on “what next” or “how do you top rowing the Atlantic”, both very difficult questions to answer. Despite the fact that there was plenty of time to think on board and so many different forms, types and ideas for my next challenge it’s all about finding and more importantly actually choosing the right one. It all started whilst having breakfast with my dad the morning before flying out to the start, who asked those questions before I had even completed it. He then went on to suggest that it would be good to have an idea before I arrived back. Something I would definitely recommend you do before taking on any sort of challenge, adventure, career step anything always have the next step in mind. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to have a concrete one by the time I got back but I do have a good few ideas up my sleeve and still very much have the desire for one or two.

I have done some smaller events or challenges but it wasn’t until I read an article in a recent copy of national geographic (check the full article out http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/06/125-risk-takers/gwin-text) that made me think about the motivation for taking on a challenge, adventure or similar in a completely different way to previously.

national geographic

At the bottom of all challenges it points out that regardless of whether it’s exploring the unknown, starting a company, going for prime minister or shooting for a goal there is risk involved of varying degrees and types. It comes down to the balancing of the rewards vs the risk, the interesting bit is that this results in a chemical reaction within the brain. Similar to adrenaline fueled sports the difference being that adrenaline makes you effectively flee or fight where as dopamine associated with risk can push you towards the danger to achieve the goal. The article was summed up with a great quote from John Wesley Powell who explored the Colorado river and Grand Canyons:

“They entreat us not to go on, and tell us that it is madness to set out in this place. And yet to leave the exploration unfinished, to say that there is a part of the canyon which I cannot explore, having already nearly accomplished it is more than I am willing to acknowledge and I am determined to go on.”

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The important bit is that everyone has this effect to varying degrees. We take some form of risk every day. My take on it is that the more we step outside of our comfort zones regardless of what it might be to overcome the challenges and to ultimately reap the rewards then the more the mind and body will desire the chance to take on another. So whilst I am thinking and working out my next it would be great to hear yours that are coming up.

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4 thoughts on “The Next Challenge”

  1. Hi Benno,

    While I’ve been reading about your adventures for some time now I’ve always been meaning to get in touch!! I’m rowing the pacific in June of next year as a team of 4, it’d be great to talk you briefly about your atlantic experiences, particularly the mental challenge that comes with it. Also, we’re currently looking for a 4th member that could slot in – something to bear in mind:-)

    All the best and hope to hear from you soon, Philip

    1. Hi Phil,

      thanks for getting in touch. Thats awesome news your signed up for the pacific next year would be more than happy to talk to you about my atlantic experiences where about are you based?

      oh really thats interesting can have a chat about that too.

      hope training and prep is going well. benno

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