Back in 2018, as I was about to board an 8 hours flight, I found an article titled “30 challenges for 30 days”. At the time I had never heard of the concept of 30 day challenges, but got curious about it. During the flight, I had plenty of time to read the article through and think about it. Made a list of a few challenges I would like to do. Eventually I came up with my challenge: for the next 30 days I would wake up early in the day and start the day writing on a subject in which I am curious, not a fixed subject, and post it on my blog that no one knew about, but at least it would force me to write something half decent. My writing skill it pretty bad, especially in my native tong weirdly enough. So I wanted to practice writing to improve my skill, and at the same time, I could do a bit of research on some subjects I was curious about and learn more about. Needless to say I had no idea of the difficulty of this challenge, but I thought it could be fun.
On the next morning, I woke up earlier than usual, everyone was still asleep. I turn on my laptop and wrote my first article which was an explanation of why I did my challenge. I posted my article on my blog. I though for a bit if I wanted to share it on Facebook and make it public or if I wanted to keep it private… I was not at all sure if people would like, if they would consider it as spam or whatever. Eventually, after a lot of hesitation, I clicked on the “post” button. I told myself that if they are not interested, they will just pass the post and forget about it in the never ending flow of Facebook feed.
At the time I was living in China and did have access to Facebook, never checked it, and never posted. So I didn’t expect much happening. But something quite unexpected did happen: throughout the day, I got several likes and comments, encouragements for my challenge. That really comforted me in the feeling that would continue posting on Facebook throughout my challenge.
And day after day I posted my articles on various subjects: personal finance, dating, politics, food… basically a bunch of things I didn’t know much about but that I wanted to learn more of. And people would keep on liking my post. I would get several dozens of people going to my blog to read that crazy thing I was writing about.
But after a few days, I started getting more tired, missed a few days and didn’t post. It’s a cool challenge, and I like learning about new things and getting the likes and views, but it takes me at least 1 hour in the morning to do a minimum of research or thinking to write the article. And who would miss it anyways. And i was wrong, after a few days without article, a few friends started sending me messages asking when was coming the next article. I can’t say enough how good those message made me feel and how much I needed those messages, I’ll be forever grateful to those who sent me those messages.
So I started writing articles again. However, I realized writing an article per day was way too optimistic, but I could write one every few days. That would allow me to have a bit more time to think about what I wanted to write about. It eventually took me over 3 month to write my 30 articles, but I finished my challenge, thanks to those who kept encouraging me.
I don’t think I would have ever been able to do even half of my challenge if it wasn’t for my friends and their encouragements. There really is a lot of power even in just a few words. I thought it would be great if this kind of supporting environment could be reproduced for everyone who wanted to start their own challenge. But obviously I got lucky in my challenge and in my friends. If I had chosen a different challenge or if I had chosen a different way of communicating, it probably wouldn’t have gone the same way.
It eventually took me a year to think about how this could happen. I didn’t know where to start, what to do, how to get people to encourage others, especially if you try to gather strangers. But eventually, with the help of a couple friends, we found a way we could try out with. Let’s create a group chat and ask other people to join us to with their own 30 day challenge. The beginning was rocky, after 2 weeks of sharing our group and inviting people to join, no one had joined, and we were supposed to in only 2 days. In a last resort we scrapped our enrollment process to make something simpler, and that worked. In half a day, nearly 30 people joined up! We were live! And we could start our first experiment.
People had various challenges, yoga, meditation, workout, writing a novel, early wake up… It was all over the place, but many of them liked it. It gave them the energy to start something new and to go farther than if only by them-self. So we did another round and this time we called it Challengers. We would try to get more organized this time, trying to organize different groups to allow people to share similar challenges together.
Today, Challengers has seen over 500 challenges started by the community. I thank everyone who participated in Challengers and joined the community. It could only become a reality thanks to you.