Mental toughness is not just something for athletes or people in the military. Yes, that may be where you most hear it, but it absolutely has place in ordinary lives. Our success in life is 80% mental (how we frame things and think about things–including ourselves) and 20% physical/action steps.
6. “Curiosity, rationalization, and laziness are no match against courage, self-control, and mental toughness.” — John Bytheway
There will be times in your life when you feel like you can’t go on. Maybe you’ve suffered a terrible loss. Maybe you faced another setback about your goals. Maybe you’ve hit a dead end. Maybe you’ve been traumatized somehow. First, allow yourself to have the feelings that will come up–be they anger, hatred, self-pity, sorrow or grief. Sometimes the mental toughness is in doing that. Sometimes, however, the mental toughness is in pulling yourself out.
You may lash out. You may go inwards. This quote, though, is really more about plucking yourself up off the couch to take action on your goals, leaving behind your doubts about yourself, as well as other people’s doubts about you. The curious mind is a healthy mind, as is an open one.
5. “In terms of instilling the values of mental toughness and work ethic, discipline is the gift that keeps on giving.” — William Baldwin
Discipline is not punishment in this case (even in that kind of terminology they’re very different.) Discipline, in this case, means practice. Allowing for failures and mistakes so you can learn from them (not taking action because of a fear of failure is why you’re tired of your life and you’re stuck. Every single successful person who has walked, is walking and will walk the face of the Earth will have failures and mistakes. Big ones, even.)
Goal-reaching takes practice and discipline. It means, sometimes, making yourself quit the new video game you want to keep playing (this is me in this case) and go outside in the nice weather and exercise. Or do something that puts you towards your goals. The video game can absolutely serve as a needed break, but it’s a break.
Practice can be a few minutes or a few hours. It depends. Work ethic simply means the ethic you apply to the work you’re doing. Keep that practice, that discipline, in a place of honor.
4. “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” — Thomas Jefferson
(As long as you’re choosing a goal that’s truly one you can achieve.) You are the biggest roadblock in your life for getting where you want to go. Your emotions create your thoughts, your thoughts create your choices and your choices create your results. Mental attitude is also applied to realizing you have made and will make mistakes, but to keep going by learning from them (I say this a lot, I know.) Putting yourself down, sometimes merely because someone else in your life doesn’t think you can do something, calling a goal worthless or hard and therefore unattainable is what keeps us stuck.
If you’re struggling with a goal, try changing how you phrase it to yourself. “I’m going to achieve X in a way that’s suitable for me.”
3. “A lot of people are afraid to tell the truth, to say no. That’s where toughness comes into play. Toughness is not being a bully. It’s having backbone.” — Robert Kiyosaki
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries! It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to draw lines. It’s okay to stand up for yourself. (In fact, you should.) If someone doesn’t like that you’re calling boundaries that are healthy, that’s their problem, not yours. If someone gets mad at you for saying “no” when you really want to, that’s their problem, not yours. If someone calls you selfish and egotistical for drawing a boundary and saying no, again–that’s their problem not yours.
Trying to please everyone all the time is impossible, and it means you’re forgetting trying to please the one person that really counts most of the time: You
Boundaries are what lead to you having a healthy mental attitude in life and in overall happiness.
2. “You have power over your mind–not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” — Marcus Aurelius
You have zero control over anything that exists outside of your mental world. I’m leaving out biological things here. You can’t control when your stomach decides to dislike a food it’s normally fine with. You can’t control when your allergies flare up. You can’t control when your body decides needs to urinate. I suppose with the right focus someone could learn how to do this, but let’s just leave that out of here so I can continue with my point.
You cannot control when someone decides to mug you on a busy, normally safe street. But you can control how you choose to react to it and where your thoughts remain (you have no control over when you’re victimized…unless you are continually in situations where that keeps happening…but you can choose to remain a victim.) You cannot control what other people think or choose to believe. You cannot control how someone chooses to treat you, especially if they have ignored boundaries you’ve drawn. You can control your place in that relationship.
The more you realize that the world outside of you, at least where people and weather are involved, is as fully beyond your control as being able to reach up and grasp the Moon, you’ll find the strength to control your reactions to what comes from that external world.
1. “Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.” — Oscar Wilde
There is an even further spiritual argument that everything around you exists only in you. Meaning, that when you die, all ceases to exist. That everything that’s “history” and “currently happening” is really coming from you. (As I said to someone once, in humor, to further this proposed idea, “Prove to me you’ll continue to exist after I die.”)
But what Oscar Wilde is saying here is that how you construct the world around you comes from your beliefs, your values, your filters and your thoughts. Your perspective. Think of situations that were once galling to you, but then, later, were fun. People you at first disliked but now admire and do like. Or the other way around.
But since that’s a long stretch of an idea–that everything comes from you–let’s go back to what Marcus Aurelius said above. Since you cannot control events and decisions outside of you, the world is actually your world. Some things you can change, many you cannot. So what kind of world do you want to live in–inside your head?
Questions? Comments? Email me at heather (at) smallchangelife (dot) org or drop by my Facebook page and leave me a message, leave a comment below or feel free to start up a conversation in the discussion forum.