I really like reading and hearing about no-spend challenges or buy-nothing-new and so on.
I like reading about how people’s lives are changed, with their relationship with “stuff” now different. I like seeing people pay down debt with what they didn’t spend, or increase their savings (or vacation fund, or whatever they put the money towards that they value more than their gazingus pins or whatever they were buying habitually without really appreciating). I can’t really seem to get tired of reading about people’s personal journeys with challenges that limit what they can buy. Even their failures are instructional. (I googled “no spend challenge” and it seems like it was really a THING back in January 2018! But it’s still a thing even if not a THING.)
I don’t know WHY I like this brand of challenge so much. A friend suggested it’s because I’m uber-frugal, and I’m like, so I like watching people challenge themselves at doing something I’m really good at! (I’m not actually uber-frugal, given that we spend more than the median family makes each year, but conditional on our income one could make that argument.) But that can’t be it.
Because I’m also REALLY good at reading novels. Like SUPER good at reading novels. And I find people’s novel reading challenges to be supremely boring. Like, read 12 books a year or 30 or whatever. I don’t count and I don’t get counting. So me feeling superior is not it. Though, I do kind of get a kick out of when people who read only white dood books do a “read only women authors” or “read only authors from underrepresented groups” challenge. Because then they discover all these great books that they never knew existed, which is cool. I do already read mostly women authors and a lot of underrepresented authors, but because the fact of bias in the publishing industry means that anything by an underrepresented group actually published is probably going to be better than average or it wouldn’t be published. Similarly self-authored stuff is going to be better on average for the same reason– more underrepresented group people aren’t getting regular publishers because of bias so there’s higher quality. So… that’s kind of selfish on my part even ignoring the benefits of diversity. I’d love for a world in which mediocre books by underrepresented groups are also published just like they are with white authors, but we’re not there yet.
So I guess I like challenges when people’s eyes are opened and they learn something about themselves or about the world. When challenges help people grow.
I do kind of like wheezywaiter‘s random challenges even when they don’t work. Because I’m curious about people’s experiences with things even if they’re not things I’m going to want to do. So it’s not just challenges that are likely to be successful and life-changing, but seeing what happens and what works.
I am not the only person in this world who loves reading about challenges. I mean, that’s kind of wheezywaiter’s current brand right now, and it’s made his popularity go way up according to a couple of his videos.
But I don’t like all challenges. Maybe the question is more about why I don’t like the reading some number of books challenges. And maybe it’s just that I don’t like challenges that are about doing something fun. Which makes sense– a few years back #2 did a read steampunk books challenge and she hated it. Challenges take away fun from things that are already fun, but they add something to things that aren’t. Sort of like taking that Jane Austen class in college was the last time I ever reread Pride and Prejudice without zombies, but it made Mansfield Park somewhat interesting.
Do you like to read/watch other people’s challenges? What genres are your favorite? Do you prefer doing or watching?