Developing Mental Toughness – Part 7

Developing Mental Toughness – Part 6
August 30, 2018
Developing Mental Toughness – Part 8
September 3, 2018

Developing Mental Toughness – Part 7


here is a guy who came up with a quote on thoughts that I keep making reference to. At face value, the quote sounds so funny and condescending but when you take a closer look at it, it makes a lot of sense. In developing mental toughness, one comes to the realization that the primary tool of use here is the mind itself. This is the quote:

“The reason why many people get lost in their thoughts is because it is unfamiliar territory”

―Paul Fix

The Real Work

I found out that to engage the mind is real work. It is strenuous and laborious. However, the more you engage the mind, the more it stretches and the more you develop mental toughness. There are two ways that we can engage the mind and put it to work. The first way is when we do it deliberately. This is where intentionality comes in to play. The advantage of this way of development is that you are in control and you can determine the frequency with which to do it.

Also Read: Silver Bullet! One System Used to Excel in Anything

The second way is when we are forced by circumstances and situations to think. When your back is against the wall, which is the time that you are forced or compelled to engage your mind in order to come up with something that can help you. The problem with this method is that you only get to do this in several blue moons. The frequency is irregular and far in between.

Also Read: 5 Benefits of Living Your Life on the Edge

At the end of the day, mental toughness will be a function of how well you have engaged your mind, put it to serious work to either create products and solutions or to get out of a tough situation. Again, let us remind ourselves the following:

  • To be mentally tough means that you choose a particular direction, goal or objective and decide to go after it regardless until it is attained in the shortest time possible that you can muster.
  • Grit and persistence are necessary to become a top performer in any avenue
  • Mental toughness is the deciding factor that distinguishes between those who are good and those who are great. It is an essential factor, and it can even outweigh any inherent talent.
  • Your mental toughness is directly connected to your ambition, vision, or purpose. The higher it is, the greater the need for mental toughness.

Stretching of the Mind

If mental toughness is that critical in life, then we must explore as many ways as possible that we can improve or develop it. I think one of the methods we can use to develop our mental toughness is through the stretching of or mind. To stretch your mind is to put it in an incessant position of work as frequently as possible. How in the world would we do that? Let’s take a look at the following:

1. Conquering Procrastination

The moment you procrastinate, you forfeit that opportunity to develop mental toughness. Come to think of it, you seldom procrastinate things that give you pleasure or that come easy, do you? You do not procrastinate eating, sex or any kind of fun do you? However, when it comes to activities that engage your mind such as thinking, reading, analyzing, visualizing and so on, all of a sudden you get excuses that you need a better time or environment to do it. My point is simple: that which you are procrastinating is most probably the fodder for growth of your mental toughness. Analyze it carefully and see.

2. Meditation and Solitude

We live in a world that is full of noise and activity, hustling and bustling of people in a bid to eke out a living. In the process, few people take time to sit and reflect, pause and visualize. People seldom are in the intentional mode of daily meditating and seeking some solitude to reflect. Mental toughness is developed when the mind has clarity of some things. In a previous post, we talked about planning. Planning becomes easier and less laborious where there is clarity. Clarity of mind is obtained by meditating about your life. Asking yourself questions and visualizing your best possible outcome. It increases your self-belief which is a great ingredient of mental toughness. People who are mentally tough are confident and sure of themselves. Most of them are great meditators.

Also Read: The 4 Most Forgotten Power Habits of the 21st Century


3. Doing the New

I have already talked about this in the series on developing potential. When you are used to doing things in a certain way and you decide to either change that or to do something totally new, your mind is forced to develop. When you are used to reading certain kinds of books for example, changing the genre helps you to develop your metal capacity which in turn helps you develop mental toughness. If you have never done an adventure such as juggling, zip lining, bungee jumping or even swimming, it would be great to try it out. Engage in new adventures and keep at it.

4. The Actual Thinking

Where the rubber meets the road, thinking can no longer be an “unfamiliar” territory as Paul Fix said. I love it when there is pen and paper and I have to come up with something. For example, yesterday I developed a 6 minute speech that I was postponing all along in just 30 minutes. My head was blank and I had no flow. But when I trudged on, suddenly something popped open and I got my flow. Imagine if I repeated this kind of exercise every day? My mental toughness will grow through leaps and bounds.

There are several ways you can channel your thoughts:

  • Mind Mapping: This helps to document an idea and explore all its angles on one sheet of paper. The idea is a single circle in the middle of a paper from which other ideas emanate, connected with spokes.
  • Zero based thinking: This is a decision making process that takes into account your experience the last timeout. “Knowing what I now know” what decision Am I going to make?