In today’s society mental toughness seems to be a trait that is becoming more and more extinct. Lack of discipline, lack of focus, and lack of commitment are all big red flags for a lack of mental toughness. When it comes to your training there’s no room for a lack of mental toughness. If you lack it then diet suffers, training suffers, and results suffer.
Building Mental Toughness
I’m always amazed at how some people seem to skate through life with what seems to be little effort and little commitment to anything. The truth is though if you pull back the curtain it’s most always revealed that these people create a difficult life for themselves. If you take a look around you see this all the time. The new year’s resolution crowd strolls into the gym late January and 3 weeks later they’re out the door never to be seen again until the next year.
Following this there’s an entire generation of kids that have been raised by helicopter parents handing them everything and never allowing them to experience responsibility, loss, failure, or disappointment. Because they’ve never experienced these things there is a lack of will and a lack of mental toughness and emotional resiliency to overcome life adversity.
As a solution in my own life I can tell you that there is no easy way to get mentally tough and the only way is through discipline. The only way to possess this trait is to awaken it inside of you…if it exist. The only way to awaken it is to expose yourself to situations in order to test yourself. You must experience discomfort.
There’s quote that floats around in the strength and conditioning community that says that you must get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This is something that I’ve personally grabbed onto and have held so tightly that if I start to relax then that is more uncomfortable than the typical discomfort that most would define in day to day life.
So to help out I thought I’d include some steps here in today’s article to help you build on mental toughness. Like I stated earlier the only way you can build this is to test your will. The only way is to put yourself into situations that involve discomfort. I can lay out the 5 steps here, but it’s completely up to you as to whether you apply them. If you do your life will be transformed forever. If you don’t then you’re going to struggle through life a lot more than you realize.
One of the things I notice these days is that people are way too emotional. Now don’t get me wrong as human beings we are emotional creatures, but I’ve had discussions with people over the years where they automatically want to turn a discussion into a debate. This is where emotion and ego injects itself into the situation.
If you want to test a very basic level of your mental toughness then learn to take criticism, or even an ass chewing if necessary. Leave your ego out of it. Now having said that learn to pick your battles and learn how to go about fighting them. If you’re at work and your boss is a terrible leader and chooses to throw you under the bus you must learn to keep your emotions in check. Figure out a way to perform even better than before. If you’re miserable then look for something else while you’re still proving you’re the bigger badass at work by getting things done and crushing company goals.
Think about it. Even if this may seem undeserving to the bossman or woman you’re still setting up a lose/lose scenario for them if they choose to maintain their standard course. If you are continuing to prove yourself and then leave the job (or client), or are run off then that’s going to be on them and not you. In the end they will suffer more from their lack of leadership than you will from a lack of mental toughness.
2. Commit To Your Training For Yourself:
This may seem like an obvious one, but when you decide to set up a training schedule stick to it. Over my 17 year career I can count on both hands and feet the number of people that stick to 4 or 5 days a week nonstop relentless pursuit to training. I understand that life can get hectic at times, BUT I’ve found that term hectic is way overused by some and has been watered down to being nothing more than a crutch for not training for many.
Once again, developing mental toughness is about discipline and a lack of commitment to a schedule shows a lack of discipline. Navy SEAL Jocko Willink titled his book Discipline Equals Freedom and I agree. A lack of discipline means a lack of mental toughness period. This is one that baffles me. How can you expect to achieve anything in life whether it’s a job, a business, a relationship, or anything else if you can’t commit to yourself and your health?
3. Train In A Miserable Environment:
As I stated earlier you must get comfortable with being uncomfortable. One way to test yourself is to purposely train in a miserable environment from time to time. Train in hot weather, cold weather, and train doing something you truly dislike.
I remember when I first started years ago and had my training facility one of my students used to complain that there was not a place to sit down and rest. That was intentional. I didn’t want anyone having a place to sit and rest. Rest time was reserved for after training. Training time is about training time. A miserable training environment forces you to adapt and to recover with what is available to you.
4. Stick To A Diet:
One of the biggest killers to fitness and performance is a piss poor diet and lifestyle. I have often heard people say you have no life when referring to disciplined people that structure their diet and lifestyle for optimal results. I strongly disagree. To me those people don’t have lives because they’re leaving a lot of potential on the table by not being disciplined and living a life that could yield optimal results both physically and mentally.
By not committing to a diet performance suffers, body appearance suffers, and most importantly your health suffers. People these days complain about healthcare. Learn to take care of yourself like you’re supposed to and healthcare will resolve itself. This only comes from the discipline to sticking to a good diet and lifestyle. Laziness only produces problems.
Even the most active individuals can train, but sticking to a structured food plan is the most challenging part. Good fuel for the body equals good results…period.
5. Identify Your Why:
One of the biggest ways to knock out goals and to develop discipline and mental toughness is to identify your why. Why are you doing this? By identifying your why you’re attaching significant meaning to what you’re doing.
You can see this all the time in life. For instance, a guy that chooses to pursue being a doctor is willing to do so by more than likely committing to racking up several years of study in school and thousands and thousands of dollars of debt.
So the question is why? Exactly. This individual has clearly defined their why as to the reason they want to pursue this certain goal.
If you want to develop your mental toughness you’ve got to be willing to figure out your why so this is the driving force behind your pursuit. If you’re talking about being able to eat the right foods in order to improve your performance then the why is being able to perform.
If your why is being able to look better when you go to the beach then that is your why. Your why may not be the same as everyone else’s, but that’s fine. The only right answer is the one that works for you.
Mental Toughness: The Takeaway
The only way you’re going to get anywhere in life is if you learn how to awaken your mental toughness. The only way you’re going to do this is by testing yourself. You’ve got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Do you do things to test your mental toughness?
Do you challenge yourself daily to be mentally tough?
Post up and share in the comment section below.
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