Have you ever wondered what gives someone the ability to push back limits or redefine possibilities when faced with strong resistance? What enables an athlete to be able to perform at a high level and lead their team to victory while simultaneously enduring an injury that pulsates excruciating pain? What keeps an author pitching their book after being rejected dozens of times? What keeps an entrepreneur determined to bring forth their idea when they've noticeably failed numerous times? The answer to these questions is simple: MENTAL STRENGTH
Mental strength is a muscle that's developed over a period of time. It's the power that you need to take your life to the next level. When you step into areas that are uncertain, undetermined, and unknown you need mental strength in order to stabilize your efforts. When we get hit with unforeseen setbacks, unpredicted occurrences, or even just misfortune, our efforts can get put at a halt...
Think about the times you've experienced moments of temporary defeat. Those moments when you felt like giving up. You asked yourself, "Is it worth it?". You questioned if things would work out...We've all had these moments. These can be very disappointing experiences, however they can also be character building experiences if we develop our mental strength and allow it to push us back into the fight for our dreams. Living a life equipped with a strengthened mind will allow you to discover how great you truly are and the phenomenal potential that is stored on the inside of you.
There's an African proverb that says, "When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.". Meaning, every day there's a battle taking place within you. There's a part of you that wants to remain comfortable and doesn't want to step into unknown territory and if or when you do...it will do everything in it's power to bring you back to that place of comfort. This is why many people have neglected to take that first step toward their dreams, because the enemy within won't allow them to step beyond their comfort zone and fully develop their mental strength in order to live their best life.
Here are three keys to help you stay mentally strong:
1.) DETERMINE YOUR VALUES
"It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are."-Roy Disney
It becomes very easy to give up on something that you don't value. When you truly do not care for something or have too much invested into something, you can give up and wouldn't think twice about it. When it comes to your dreams and goals in life, you first step is to classify these aspirations as values in your life. Our values will begin to reflect themselves in our behaviors if we are truly being our authentic self.
Remember: Authenticity is when you do and say exactly what you believe.
When you believe your dreams are important you will gain a new level of commitment and dedication towards your goals. This commitment will be tested from time to time because your dreams will test your loyalty, however because it's important, your mental strength will flex because you're now dedicated to completing the task that you've labeled important.
2.) REALIZE THAT FEELINGS AREN'T ALWAYS FACT
You fell short. You got rejected and told 'NO'. You're frustrated and feeling discouraged...Now is not the time to quit. Many times we can make permanent decisions based off of temporary feelings. Of course, when the news is hot off the press that you missed an opportunity to succeed, the struggle within you can be real. (Trust me, I know!) It's at this point and time that you have to balance emotion and logic. Your current emotion may be saying, "This is an uncomfortable feeling", but if you begin to use your logic in this situation it may say something like," Calm down! This is a learning process. That way just didn't work. Let's figure out a way to succeed next time." But if you're too immersed in your feelings, you can sometimes make a decision that can be detrimental to the success of your dreams.
3.) UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS OF DELAYED GRATIFICATION
One of the key components to being mentally strong is realizing that results will come with time. This isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. We know that the race isn't won by the fast or even the strong, but to those that can endure the elements of the journey. We have to understand the necessity of short-term pain in order to create long-term gain.
What's helped me with delayed gratification is by developing the mindset that everything that I do, face, and experience is simply an investment that grants me the ability to become the best version of myself. Every mistake is making me wiser, every setback is making more determined, every temporary defeat is strengthening my character. Eventually, my hard work will pay off and with this thought is what anchors my mental strength.
Remember, mental strength is a muscle that is developed over a period of time. If you know and stick to your values, realize that feelings aren't always fact, and understand the process of delayed gratification you can remain mentally strong.