or one to think that mental toughness is a fixed state would be wrong. I have come to learn that it is a continuous improvement each day or season. There might come a time much later on that someone peaks with growth of mental toughness and I think that is the time that they have done it all and are now waiting to transition into the next dispensation of their lives. If we are always growing like we are meant to each day, then mental toughness is something that will keep improving as we go along. Remember, you do not need mental toughness if you are not dedicated to doing something that improves you and impacts either your world or the world itself. This quote brings into focus one more idea of developing mental toughness:
“One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions”.
If today I had a greater capacity of mental toughness, it would mean that I did something towards attaining it. Mental toughness does not happen arbitrarily. Oliver Wendell Holmes talks about the mind being stretched by a new idea. I want us to pick up from there and explore the concept of stretching. In the many ways that you can use a rubber band, most of it’s usefulness will be as a result of it being stretched. Stretching of our bodies and minds is something that is outright uncomfortable, that goes without saying. However, there is no growth and usefulness of our potential without us stretching ourselves.
There is no way that you can stretch yourself either in the mind or with your body and your mindset remains the same. The moment you set out to stretch, the challenge of developing your mental toughness gets started. At the very beginning, the excitement will be there to get you started, but soon enough, your mid or body will realize that this is a different thing altogether. Naturally, the brain will want you to stop what you are doing because it wants to protect you from this new unknown. That is when Kanter’s Law kicks in. Rosabeth Moss Kanter is a professor at Harvard. This is what he said:
“In the middle, everything looks like a failure”
So that means that even in stretching, there will be feelings of giving up or a notion will come to your mind that nothing is changing. The key is to persevere through the experience until you have conquered.
Life can be boring if you want it to. Life can also be exciting if you dare make it. One of the ways of making life exciting is to approach it from the angle of adventure. Did you notice that people love adventure naturally? And that is why we need to “trick our minds” when we set out to do something that is stretching. Go and do it with the spirit of adventure which makes you not to worry about failure or how bad you will look like. The secret is that you go out there and give it your best.
Take a look at your life for the past one month. Is it the very same as it was in the previous month? For some people, it normally is the same as it was for years and worse for others, it’s normally the same as it was for decades. The only difference is that they are aging. What a sad fact. If we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we have always got. And therein lies the boredom. There is no mental toughness development in boredom. None at all. After critiquing your comfort zone, you ought to then become so uncomfortable with the status quo that you make a decision to change it.
This goes without saying that any new thing you do has the potential to develop your mind. Mental toughness has a function of how your maturity of mind is and that maturity is obtained when you do have some experience. We normally borrow our experiences from different fields to help us in the moment. So the more “experienced” we are (that is in different exposures) the better it is for our mental toughness. New things have a way of forcing us out of the comfort, the known and the tested.
I had always been writing an article a week when I started. However, somewhere around mid 2017, I made a decision to write an article each day. Boy was it tough. In the first month of doing it, I totally shut down. My body could not handle the stretching. I had to take a break. I went back at it again. Although I have not been able to write an article each day, my productivity has increased in that each week, I write a minimum of four articles without fail. This is what I used to do in a whole month. I am still stretching and have become mentally tougher to handle it.
To innovate is to dare do something differently. For example, I have always inspired people through my writing. To do the same through my voice will be considered an innovation. This forces me to learn different aspects of that new channel that I am using to do the very same thing that I have always done. In turn it increases my mental toughness especially if I stay at it long enough to become a master. Therein is the secret to mental toughness. It is not starting new things over and over again, but it is in starting and finishing what you started. So learn to change things and approach them from a different angle.
Again, it is important to take a look at our lives and ask this question: When is the last time we dared a mighty challenge? The secret to mental toughness is to always be in the daring mode for mighty things. Even after we have dared and succeeded, we congratulate ourselves and set in a new target. Like I said earlier, it is good of you took it on as an adventure. Let me remind you of my favorite quote of all time:
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy or suffer much, because they live in that gray twilight that neither knows victory nor defeat”
~ Theodore Roosevelt