ave you ever stopped for a minute and wondered, “What in the world is the purpose of life anyway?” The Preacher one day exclaimed sarcastically by saying, “Meaningless, meaningless, utterly meaningless, everything is meaningless!” He must have been evaluating the good, the bad and the ugly of life. I tend to think that he was not throwing away life as if it is all meaningless, but rather he was showing us that most of our endeavors and pursuits in life lack meaning. Whatever the case, where there is meaning, there will be need for mental toughness to bring it about. Meaning never lies on the surface ready to be picked. For some reason it is hidden and needs excavation of some sorts.
Have you ever stopped to think about the phases of life? How many phases do you think are critical in your life for it to have meaning? In my maiden book, Turn Your Setbacks Into Major Comebacks, I have a chapter where I talk about the different phases of adversity. The phases are: Before the Crisis, During the Crisis, End of the Crisis, After the Crisis. At the center of all those phases, we have the crisis. So if meaning is at the center of life, what are the possible phases that surround it? I am exploring that today. Whatever the case, mental toughness is needed in just about all the phases of your life if at all meaning is what you are pursuing.
The following are the areas that I perceive you and I will need to have mental toughness in as we pursue meaning.
All matters being constant growth is one of the consequences of being alive. It is both a natural process as well as an intentional process. Where growth is natural, we are talking about maturity of the body. Even then, there will be need for some nurturing input that will be needed. However, the greatest form of growth is the one that you have initiated yourself. Most definitely, you will need to do something new that you are not used to or have never done before. It is not easy to do that. You will need mental toughness to make it happen.
We all need tenacity when we are pursuing anything of meaning. Life has a way of showing us very many “shiny objects”. It is easy to dump the drudgery of what we are doing to and rush to something that is promising. In fact we are most susceptible to these shiny objects every waking day. Example. You are cracking your head over something and then a notification on social media comes on the phone. What do you do? Thirty minutes later after scrolling on your phone, you are back to where you started, still cracking your head. Mental toughness is needed to help you say “No” to the notification. Myself, I go one step before the mental toughness by disabling all the notifications on social media.
Mental toughness enables you to stretch and maintain the stretch so that you can deliver a consistency of high performance. Someone said, “No one wakes up and finds themselves on top of Mount Everest”. In other words, high performance of any kind needs you and I to be intentional until the job is done. That high level of intentionality will require a high level of mental toughness too.
You and I know that adversity is part of life. You can never insulate yourself completely from it. It attacks you from just about any facet of your life. When you are hit with an adversity, the whole of your life comes to a standstill waiting to see if you will rise up, dust yourself and keep going. Mental toughness is not only needed when you are in an adversity but also when you are going through it. The center of your life or the anchor of your life holds to the extent that you are mentally tough. I have realized though that if you were not mentally tough, adversity will make you so. There are several facets of adversity that you will need to bounce back from:
I personally discovered my life purpose in the aftermath of a massive relationship break. I needed that break but I was so scared of it. I have never cried and been disappointed with myself that much. I needed mental toughness though to see me through. Unfortunately, not everybody will love you all through life. There are some people that will reject you and there are some people that you will reject. It is not an easy thing though to go through. You will need the mental toughness to go through it.
Perhaps the most resilient people you ever saw are those with some medical conditions. Mental toughness is so critical in life especially to those having health challenges. All they do need is to mentally assent to the fact that they will not make it and that will be the end of it. I remember my father being bed ridden. We went to see him together with my mum and grandmum. When grandmum saw him, she started weeping and they promptly chased her out of the ward. My father’s mental toughness was important for his recovery and thus he needed no pity.
I have written a series of articles about this. Obscurity is the breeding ground for greatness. However, not so many people are Ok with being obscure. Many people want prominence. Prominence is more exciting than obscurity. However, it is in obscurity that great things happen. Everyone that is great was once an obscure individual. Mental toughness is needed to keep you on course albeit in obscurity.
Friends, it is with that thought that we come to a close of this series of articles on mental toughness. I hope you have enjoyed and learned all the way.