Life isn’t fair, and things don’t always work out as we planned or wanted them to work out. It is difficult to deal with everyday situations, and even more so when we are stressed and life situations are particularly hard. You will need armour to protect you from sticks and stones life throws at you, but how do you achieve it? How can you become as tough as the best athletes are, or calm as great leaders? Is there an effective way to develop your mental toughness?
Mental toughness defined
All the greatest leaders and athletes have been able to look fear and adversity in the eye and hold their ground, and they have been described as strong and determined, seemingly untouched by the difficulties they encountered. Staying calm and focused on your goal is the virtue of great people, but what about regular, ordinary people and their troubles? Our lives seldom work out the way we imagined and hoped that they would, and we often make mistakes and wrong choices. Mental toughness will have you learn from your mistakes rather than being devastated because of the failure.
Play it cool
Fortitude and resilience will also keep you calm when everything around you is collapsing and most people feel like breaking down. You will be able to keep emotions in check when something goes wrong. Learn to make yourself feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations simply by training: don’t avoid them; fear of the unknown is the biggest obstacle you’ll encounter in your life. Once you have been in several difficult and tense situations, you will learn about your emotions and understand there is nothing to be frightened of. Prove to yourself that you can overcome anything, living in comfort zone will not make you strong.
Know your reasons and motives, ask yourself why do you need to solve this problem, why do you need to get through the tough situation, why is it important that you become the best. Asking yourself these questions makes it easier to understand your own motives and accomplish your goals. Simply saying “because I have to” is plain wrong, understand that there are people who need you, family, friends, teammates, and always have a specific goal in mind. There are people who not only count on you but depend on you as well and you are like a soldier with a mission and a duty to yourself and others.
Focus on the right things
Athletes are among those who need to stay tough and who face a lot of critical situations. You become a champion by stepping out on the court when it’s hardest and you win; and so many athletes have proven that this is right. Michael Jordan said: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” The greatest athletes find the strength to dig deep and learn on their mistakes. They focus on growing and improving rather than sitting back and enjoying the fruits of their labour. Even when it seems like everything is lost, they keep playing, and this is exactly what makes them greatest.
Whether you realize it or not, you are going to need this mental toughness in your life. Perhaps you will not be dealing with things too hard for you, perhaps your stress is not going to be great, but without mental toughness, even the smallest storm can tear you apart, and even the tiniest problem can look tough and unsolvable. Be strong for yourself, your friends, and family – everyone needs a beacon of light in their lives.