RhetoricLee Speaking

Girl, Stop Challenging People and Rachel Hollis

March 10, 2020

Unless you’re a CrossFit instructor, or an affronted 18th-century Duke, stop challenging people; I’m talking to you Rachel Hollis.

The phrase “I challenge you” seems like it’s almost become a prerequisite for getting into the motivational life coach entrepreneur market these days. With every sentence I’m being challenged to have gratitude, stop procrastinating, and live my miracle morning. And all of those examples just come from Rachel Hollis of “Girl, Wash Your Face” and RISE Podcast. Hollis isn’t the only example; she’s just the example currently toasting my muffins.

The challenge cliche constructs an “ideal” listener who does not include me because I am not a person who enjoys rising to a challenge. I associate challenges with unproductive criticism, winners and losers (of which I am always on the loser team), and a lack of meaningful connection. I associate the word “challenge” with being forced to do things because someone else decided they were for my own good. 

Now, certainly no verb choice is going to make someone get out of bed at 5am and write a novel. My point isn’t that there’s another verb out there with magic powers; my point is that you could try other things to get different results rather than putting all of your rhetorical eggs in the “challenge” basket.

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