here is a saint called Brother Lawrence (for real) who wrote an all time classic spiritual book titled, “Practicing the Presence of God”. Well technically it was not intended to be a book, it was a series of interviews and letters on the subject matter that were later curated when he had died. This brother had had a fair share of trouble in his life and through it all, he had learnt one constant: Now is the most important time. That is what we shall be talking about today when it comes to mental toughness.
It is amazing how many people either live in the past or the future and totally neglect the present, the now. The past might be having its glories. It is tempting to dwell there and talk about the “good old days”. It is tempting to keep playing that tape of the past and revel in it. That won’t help you grow. The past is gone. What happened there happened. Mental toughness requires that we shift immediately and start looking forward to the next big thing. I am not saying that we shouldn’t celebrate our victories. Far from it. I am saying we shouldn’t be stuck in the past glories so much so that we sacrifice the present moment that can help us get a better future. Celebrate and move on.
I will in no way play down the pain that people go through. However, dwelling on the pain of the past robs you of the present moment. There could be so much you can do today instead of dwelling on the pain of the past. If you are stuck in what happened in the past, you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to develop mental toughness. It would even be great to conquer that past pain and use it in the present to strengthen not just yourself but others.
The key is staying the course in what you want to do with your life. Letting go of the past pain is not a walk in the park. It is a process. Those who have overcome have already learnt to be mentally tough.
Today’s pain has a way of bringing illusions to your mind. Just the fact that you do not have a job today does not necessarily mean that it will be that way forever. Just the fact that you have been rejected today does not necessarily mean that nobody loves you and you are not needed. Just the fact that you are not cute or a hunk does not mean that you will not be accepted today. Jut the fact that you failed today does not necessarily mean that you are a failure. Having the capacity to look at today’s pain in defiance is a sign of mental toughness. Your defiance says that your present circumstance do not dictate who you are, rather they are shaping whom you are becoming. I am sure this is not easy to do, but in the end, it normally turns out to be the truth. Time is a great healer
“The glory is fading, the glory if fading, the glory is fading”. Those were words uttered by a herald who went ahead of a conquering army captain in the middle ages. Those words were to remind him that even though he is a conqueror, he is also mortal and things are bound to change. Your present glory might be a source of hindrance to your mental toughness if you do not put it in perspective. It is easy to get comfortable and dwell on the glory and forget to use the moment to grow, refocus and go for it again.
The concept behind Brother Lawrence’s book Practicing the Presence of God is a powerful concept with mental toughness. What he is saying is that we ought to live each moment in utmost reverence of God as if we are in his very presence that very moment. Therefore, living a life where you are conscious of God only when in a religious function or ceremony is a farce. Borrowing from that, there are very many things that we are postponing to do because we think that maybe the time or environment is not right.
Living in the now forces us to develop mental toughness.
All in all, we would learn not to procrastinate. Living in the now is a conscious choice. It will not be relegated to the subconscious mind, unless we have developed such strong and powerful conditioning about this concept in our bodies and mind. Living in the now is one of the most powerful things we could ever do, and I know that I am speaking for myself. Let’s get started.