An artist must be creative to reach the top.
A scientist must be smart, a politician must be a good strategist, a businessman must be good with people.
But we forget that you need to make crucial decisions everyday to build a strong career. Decisions that will either make you or destroy you. And for that, you need to be mentally strong.
People with high mental toughness are the only ones who reach the pinnacle of their career. They are the ones who achieve all their dreams.
Marines have high mental toughness. They have to take decisions under extreme pressure. Decisions that could save lives of other people.
Politicians have high mental toughness. They have to make policies that affects the lives of millions of people directly or indirectly.
CEO's have to make decisions daily that could make them another 100 million or destroy their decades of work.
There are people around you who achieved unbelievable goals. No matter how long it took. It was because of sustained mental toughness.
In each area of your life, from education to work to health, it is the amount of mental toughness you have and perseverance that predicts your level of success.
What makes people mentally tough?
There are people in this world who spiral down to depression after losing their job and then there are people in this world who lose all their money and still have a smile on their face. They have high aspirations to make it big again.
We don't have control of how and where a tragedy strike us. But we can control how we react to it.
Reaction, like any other mental muscle builds slowly. You don't wait for a big tragedy to happen— you learn how to react to it through similar but small situations. You have to build your response slowly and consistently.
Mental toughness depends a lot on your discipline.
Discipline is about "not letting the small stuff affecting your happiness". Discipline is about you being in control of yourself at all times and events.
A person with a toxic family background will become alcoholic. And a person from similar background becomes a top level executive because they have built their mental toughness. They don't get scared easily. They can survive in the difficult situations. And they come out of worse things alive.
Mentally tough people have clear goals and work towards them each day. They don't let short term problems come in the way of their long term goals.
They achieve small wins. Not just once but over and over again.
Be Uncomfortable At Least Once A Day
You may not be as gifted as others. You may have adverse circumstances as compared to other people. But you can build yourself slowly to survive anything you are scared of.
Mental toughness is like a muscle. You need to work on it everyday for it to grow. If you don't push yourself in small ways, when something big hits you, you will crack easily.
- Choose to work 15 mins more when you are exhausted
- Choose to work out on a day when you don't want to
- Choose to make a hard decision you were avoiding
Physical action proves commitment. For example working out proves you are committed. But just thinking about it doesn't build anything. Small physical actions repeated daily— over and over again will build high mental toughness.
Build mental toughness by going one step further
You won't get time to prepare for a bad situation. It will happen out of nowhere. You need to sharpen your mental strength everyday.
So, when things go bad, you will be prepared for it. You will do the right thing in a tough situation. And perform better on your worst day of the month.
You will always be prepared.
But you cannot be committed with a weak mind.
Developing mental toughness could mean going one month without missing a workout. Or writing daily for one month.
If you do double the amount of work you usually do— you are building your mental toughness.
If you are mentally tough, you won't need motivation to work more. You can deliver more. And that too consistently.
Start by building habits. Focus on small behaviours, not something that is life changing. Develop a routine that you will work everyday regardless of how motivated or depressed you feel. Stick to the schedule and when you slip, get back on it as fast as possible.
Can you keep yourself together if things go against you? Something bad happens with you or your family member?
Will you be okay if you lose your job, your source of income?
If not, your mental toughness is weak. And you need to start building it today.
Just ask yourself, "How quickly will you bounce back after a really bad day?"