... a tennis analogy.
It's a natural given that in tennis, your ability of play usually matches your opponent. (Okay, at least for me.) Generally, you return volleys at a similar speed and strength as they're hit. If your opponent is a lazy player, typically you become one as well.
On the other hand, if your opponent's forehand travels with exceptional speed or he/she hustles to pick up balls and really commits to rallying--then as a player, I find that I rise to the occasion and my playing improves. Quite drastically. This is why I like to play up (thank you Sarah Schmidt. You are a killer.).
Here's the analogy:
In life, our output mirrors our oppositional input. If we're not challenged, with weakness or temptation or indecision, we become sluggish and slow in our progression. We plateau. We either mire in mediocrity or worse, we slide down what can quickly become a slippery slope.
On the flipside, if we're pushed outside our comfortable level of play, with the right attitude--we rise to the occasion. Our playing improves, and we better deal with the slicing backhands and cross-court shots we never would have hustled to before.
Without a challenge we cannot improve. Think on it.
And call me to play.