Mental toughness can seem like an unreachable goal. Something reserved only for those born with some genetic predisposition for fearlessness. Something that demands that we take unbelievable risks, forgo the consequences, and charge bravely forward.
The truth is mental toughness does take work – a lot of it. It is a concept born out of deliberate and consistent practice, so much so that it simply becomes who we are.
But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make that process easier. We can hack mental toughness. Here are three ways:
Seek Growth. When we adopt a mindset that deliberately looks for opportunities to grow, adversity becomes our opportunity. Every challenge, setback, and failure becomes a way for us to learn something, stretch our limits, and get stronger. We see these things as we see physical stress placed on a muscle – it is the necessary pressure to achieve growth. Without stress, there is no growth. Similarly, when we are not challenged, we stop improving. And while the challenge itself might not be pleasurable, the growth is. And that is a tradeoff we are willing to take.
Adopt A Laser Focus. If you ask most high achievers what they were thinking about when they were pursuing their goal, they will likely tell you that they were thinking about nothing but their goal. Why? Because pursuit of something that truly challenges us requires our full attention. It requires that we are focused on nothing but the task at hand, that our entire being in involved in what we are doing in the present moment. Focusing on something so absolutely also requires that we are willing to let go of all the other things that might distract us in our pursuit – because our goal is simply too important to let anything get in our way.
Be Willing To Fail. Without risk there is no reward. And without challenge there is no growth. But to take on the kind of challenges that lead to growth, we have to be willing to fail. If we aren’t, we won’t place the challenge high enough because we want to ensure that we will win. But mental toughness isn’t about winning. It is about overcoming the odds, the setbacks, the failures, and the challenges that seem impossible because what you want matters to you more that playing it safe. And what you will find is that character is most truly revealed not when we win, but when we fail, get back up and keep trying.
Photo by Arya Ziai