Context: two guys are talking about a fictional futuristic sport, which is basically athelets racing each other in some huge mecha suits. One of the guys seems interested about becoming a racer in the future, which by the character's description seems like it's hard work (you need to master lots of techniques and be good at lots of sports). The other one suddenly says:
I think 努力を問われる means activities that require or put to test your own strenght and effort, but im not sure. Going by context and a bit of guessing, i simply interpreted it as way to say that this character doesn't like doing things that require lots of effort (i know it isn't the exact meaning of やりたいことがない) and he just questions why he's "aging" (not in the literal sense of the word, but rather "becoming old" like in his own spirit) i think.
The thing is, i can't seem to make sense of that 以前に: i usually read it as "before" or "previously". Those meanings here don't really seem to make sense; either because i've intepreted the phrase in the wrong way, or maybe there's another way of using 以前に which i haven't seen yet.
Keep in mind that this is a pretty hard novel to read (at least for non-japanese learners) and it uses old grammar points and generally words that aren't used a lot in modern novels; i've been using it as a way of practising and for now despite my low skills i was able to follow most of the story. I would appreciate some help on this specific part of the dialogue. Thank you very much for reading this post!