woke up this morning feeling great and excited about myself. This is because in a previous article, I gave a personal description of what I think mental toughness is. I took my own advice last year that before you can rush to google for answers, ask yourself first. Check it out in your mind and see if there is anything. Come up with something and then rush to google to guess what? To compare! That is exactly what I did with the definition of mental toughness. So my excitement is based on the fact that I consider my definition much better than the first one I read when I googled.
Before we can delve deeply into the ways to develop our mental toughness, let us check out several definitions so we can come to terms with what we are talking about.
The very first thing that will help one to develop or build their mental toughness is having a long term goal. The most common example we can use is that of an Olympian. Winning any discipline at the Olympics is one of the greatest aspirations of any athlete. The thing with the Olympics is that it comes in cycles of four years. That objective is a medium term goal which can be equated to purpose or vision. Do you know my very first ambition after High School? It was a mega dream to be a UN Secretary General at some point in time. At that time, it was the helm of Kofi Annan whom I admired. I think he had just replaced Boutrous Boutros Ghali, if I can recall very well.
Do you know what I did immediately after falling in love with that idea? I put aside cartoons and started reading. I started watching CNN mostly because that is where I could get some information. There was no internet and libraries were not well stocked. I had a serious sense of focus and ambition that compelled me to say “No” to boyish things like watching movies and cartoons to seeking to be somebody. You cannot want to be the Secretary General of the UN and keep waking up at 10:00 am. Something else is compelling you as you go.
Author, teacher and speaker T. Harv Eker said:
“If you are willing to do always what’s easy, life will be hard. If you are willing to do what’s hard, life will be easy”
The importance of purpose is that it gives you focus in life. Mental toughness is directly connected to having a sharp focus. People who are mentally strong have the ability to be single minded. The single mindedness helps them to zoom in on what matters to them. In so doing, they develop their mental capacity to stay the course in that area. The converse is also true. This is what I mean. A man or woman who does not have a clear focus in life will find it rather difficult to have mental toughness developed. Please note that I am not talking about multi-tasking. Take a new mother for example. Much as she has so many things to juggle around her most enduring focus at that point in time is the survival and growth of her new born baby. She might have a career, a home to take care of as well as other pressing needs, but at that moment, they all coalesce into one emotionally connected goal: protecting and nurturing her child. Towards that end, she will develop unimagined mental strength that will help her juggle everything but still fulfill her goal.
There are two things about this. If you want to develop your mental toughness, there has to be a reason behind it. You do not develop mental toughness just for the sake of it. You develop it to serve you in your pursuit. Which follows that if you have already downloaded your focus, purpose or vision, chances are that you will not get there without being mentally tough. The CEO of Dream University Mercia Weirder teaches about the CBAs of success.
If you are all action without clarity, you will be disadvantaged when it comes to developing your mental toughness. If anything, action without clarity and belief results in disillusionment. Therefore, the clearer you are about your pursuit, the easier and necessary it is to build your mental toughness. Great achievers do it using great amounts of mental toughness. We shall keep this up in the next article.