Are you as mentally strong as you want to be? Does your willpower need a little energy boost? In all honesty, most of us fall into the “could do better” category. Throughout our day-to-day, we are constantly faced with challenges that overwhelm us. At some point, it begins to feel never-ending, as if struggling is simply the new norm. So, we seek out ‘tools’, anything that helps us mend and thrive in the mayhem. But what is true mental strength? We cannot measure or place an objective value to it. It is the undefinable “thing” that stops you from falling apart, in the face of life’s challenges, and, well-used, can propel you to greatness.
We all want to overcome what’s holding us back and live the life we dream of. But how do we do that? Easier said than done right? In my life, I have my sights set on everlasting happiness and freedom to do what I love. At times, while in pursuit of these goals, I fall short at paying mind to the bad behaviours that undermine my efforts. These bad behaviours are what lead to hard times –be it, self-doubt, or depression. Life will always throw you curveballs, which is a blessing and a curse in itself. It is essential that we react to these difficult circumstances, with a clear, calm, and collected head.
Your mental strength comes from a deluxe combo of your genetics, character, history, experiences, and the feedback the world has thrown at you. But from wherever you are, tools, and good habits, can be learned. Mental muscle can be ripped and honed, in other words, we can learn to build it! The first thing we have to ask ourselves is, what change would we like to make in our life? How will this change make you feel? Inevitably, those creepy little negative thoughts will be on the prowl, “Why try, I’ve always failed in the past.” Sound familiar? It does for me Fret not, these pesky negative thoughts… they are normal.
I am not one to believe in a one size fits all method for overcoming these problems. The person who knows you best is yourself, but we can consider some techniques that can be helpful. These can include setting yourself a short-term thirty-day goal, a list of daily changes you want to make, a list of anticipated hurdles, and keeping a measurement of your progress. This can keep you on the right track and overcome those pesky negative thoughts. Remember, do not waste time on what you cannot control. The one thing we can control is doing what we can for ourselves. Above all, self-care and understanding are paramount to keep us mentally strong. From eating healthy to a skincare routine, we need to think of what we need and stick to it.
We can achieve happiness by taking steps to steer our lives in the right direction, while accepting the unruliness of things beyond our control. Be willing to take risks… success does not come without risk. Although, it is crucial that those risks are calculated. For example, say you are working at a job that you hate, but you have been dreaming of quitting and starting your own business. The thought is the beginning…
One day, you reach a breaking point, so you leave your job in pursuit of your ‘dream’. However, it was a decision, which had no concrete product or plan to work toward. This is a severe risk, one that will likely leave you incapable of carrying through again. We need to calculate and wait for the opportune time. Start with a small risk, then rationalize it; weigh the pros and cons in your head. Start paying mind to the fear of risks that are holding you back.
Learn from the past, yet do not allow it to control you. Rather, allow yourself to enjoy life, be happy, and take the risk, despite what you have chosen for your life in the past. We must allow ourselves to move forward. Mistakes are okay… it is how we react to those mistakes that strengthen us mentally. Ask yourself, what did I do wrong? What could I have done better? These two questions allow us to learn, recalibrate, and be better prepared to try again.
Most importantly, I advise you to self-reflect… to look within, and to see yourself in all of your glory. As human beings, we tend to be our biggest critics, analyzing our every move, as if one wrong step will lead to utter and total social embarrassment. What follows is that we condemn ourselves, feigning from accepting the good within us. Compliments begin to feel less and less deserving, as we lack the mental strength to accept them. This culminates into a toxic relationship with ourselves – a vicious cycle of anxiety, harassment, and pain unto us.
You and I, we are imperfectly perfect human beings. Which is to say, the lack of perfection is what makes us so unique and special. To err is to be human, how can we begin to grow, if we cannot accept mistakes? The fear of failure, it is a complicated emotion, however, it is something that we must face head on. It is one thing to accept negative feelings, however, it is another to dive in and be consumed by them. Take the lessons. Carry them with you. Within yourself. Turn them into a system…whatever it takes to close the gap between your present state and your true potential.
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Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors in history, most famous for his invention of the light bulb. However, he failed many times. Did you know Edison created an electric pen? A ghost machine? Probably not. Well, that’s because they were complete and udder flops.
Allow yourself to take some pride in your failures and mistakes. Now, at the end of the day, reading this article is not enough to make a change. Hopefully, it can bring you to a mindset of mental strength, which may persist as you pursue your dreams. We are all capable of infinitely more than we believe.