Mental Toughness – 10 Rules for When You Feel Lost
There comes a time in every person’s life when frustration starts to dominate every aspect of your reality. You start questioning yourself, your choices, your ideals and even your own existence. You start feeling lost, without even the slightest sense of direction and your understanding of what matters and what doesn’t starts fading away along with your dreams and aspirations.
This was my reality a few years ago and this is the constant reality of many people I know and interact with. It derives from a deep feeling of uncertainty that characterizes our times and the various choices we force ourselves into. It comes from years of trying to decode the secret meaning behind the terms living and existing and it usually manifests itself into a wild combination of insecurity and doubts.
Living our lives on our own terms has never been an easy thing. It is easy to complain about it, but if you don’t really know what these terms are you will never be able to achieve it.
In this blog, I have suggested many “rules” every person should live by in order to shape a quintessential reality. Today, however, I am going to propose a different set of rules.
I wrote them for a friend who found himself in a difficult time some years ago. But then I thought, we are all friends in a way. Lost souls in need of direction and hope. Hope that there are people like us that can bring us together and share the same ideas and collectives.
Hope they will inspire you the same way they inspired my friend.
10 Rules to Help You Keep Mental Toughness
1. Your vision is your fuel
The Great Psychotherapist Carl Jung, once said:
Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside awakens.
Lack of a clear vision and purpose is probably the foundation of what makes us experience the feeling of being lost and frustrated. A vision is the driving force behind our actions and if this force isn’t strong enough our mental and physical apparatus will eventually stop working.
Your vision is the manifestation of your ability to visualize your future.
We are visual creatures and, by visualizing yourself, you stay motivated and you create meaning in your life.
Your vision will be your reference point every time you are in need of direction and your anchor whenever you feel the need to reevaluate your actions and achievements.
2…but first define your values
When it comes to values, you should bear in mind one thing: Your values will help you define the reasoning behind the vision of your choice.
If your vision is to get into politics, for example, there are many ways to do it but your values will define the most pertinent.
When your vision is established, it needs to be in congruence with the set of values that define you as a person. It needs to be like a crazy dance, where the two areas are like perfect partners working together in order to achieve a balanced result.
Your values define, to a large extent, the stability and strength of your inner world, and that is very crucial when it comes to mental toughness.
3. Move beyond Self-Awareness to Heightened-Awareness
Heightened-awareness comes from a place of deep understanding of your world and the way this world is perceived by others around you.
If I would attempt to present it graphically, heightened-awareness would be the sweet spot inside the triad of:
- Understanding your identity
- Understanding how other’s perceive your identity
- Understanding the identities of other people
Finding this sweet spot puts you in a position of heightened awareness and improved perceptual identification of your environment.
In that state, your thoughts can be in total alignment with your actions and you will experience a dramatic decrease in self-doubt and negative self-questioning, because you will understand the mechanics of the world around you.
They say that knowledge is power, but what they actually mean is that awareness is power, mental power.
4. Don’t just give. Give-Give-Give
People are more receptive to you when you give first and then ask. Although this is true, there is always a better way to establish strong bonds with others. Give, give, give and then ask.
This is a lesson that mainly pertains to business but it also applies to interpersonal dynamics. It is a lesson that helped me improve dramatically every aspect of my life. It helped me redefine my friendships and at the same time distinguish the people that mattered the most.
Giving and then asking, is easy. Almost everybody does it. Giving, giving, giving, and then asking helps you identify people who are willing to go the extra mile for you, as you did for them.
We are reciprocal beings and it is through reciprocity that we can bring our relationships to a whole new level.
5. Don’t be arrogant. Be confident.
I read somewhere that the difference between a confident person and an arrogant person is that a confident person actually has nothing to prove. An arrogant person is always trying to prove that they are confident.
As soon as you have an established set of values that result in a congruent and authentic identity, there is nothing you need to prove.
You know exactly who you are and what you want. You are a strong, self-reliant character who leaves no room for questioning and you know how to express yourself in an elegant manner.
You never feel the need to impress, because you know that trying hard comes from a place of insecurity.
You are in peace with yourself, you know your strengths, and you know how to navigate yourself properly within society.
6. Understand that we all have issues. Work hard on them.
We all have issues. We are all born with this innate ability to receive and perceive. What most of us receive during our childhood will most probably stigmatize us for the rest of our lives.
It is these little details in the way our parents treated us that shaped who we are and who we want to be. And, usually, because our parents are unaware, we end up with psychological issues that affect our evolution and development.
These issues can be real hurdles in our pursuit of personal growth and, for some people, obstacles that can never be overcome.
This is why I want you to pay special attention to this point. You need to learn how to identify your issues and thereupon try and work hard on them. The faster you realize your psychological problems and the effect they have on you, the easier it will be to tackle them and even eliminate them.
7. Harness the power of books
One of the reasons I started my blog, was that, while growing up, I realized that knowledge never ends and the more we know the more we can reshape our reality in the most creative and purposeful way.
I remember, back in my early 20s I was a very arrogant character. I thought I had a great understanding of how the world works and I was constantly refusing to accept advice from my elders.
It was the days when I had read about 10 books on philosophy, psychology, and self-growth and I thought they were enough to help me decipher the mysteries of the universe.
When these books turned into 100 or 150, I looked back at myself and laughed.
It is a person’s duty to accept that knowledge never ends. Yes, you can have a lot of knowledge on a specific topic, but never rush into condemning something you don’t understand or find difficult to perceive.
8. Go against the flow – Become antifragile
Unfortunately, we live in societies where most of the time we are bombarded with elements that try to influence our emotional state. TV, social conditioning, various social groups, and other notorious establishments are constantly trying to interfere with the way you think and observe the world.
It is not some kind of coordinated plot or conspiracy theory. It is years of frustration in every person’s mind and the lack of alternatives in the way we live that force the majority of our surroundings to behave that way.
Most of the propaganda machines out there have adopted this mode of being, because it is what keeps them alive in some way.
A mentally tough person needs to be antifragile. They need to know how to turn fear into fuel and misery into excitement.
They understand that critical thinking is an essential tenet of mental toughness and, by capitalizing on reason and logic, they never get discouraged and always find a loophole in the system in order to turn things around.
9. If you don’t know, ask
Steve Jobs has stated in one of his interviews:
“Most people don’t get amazing experiences because they don’t ask. I have never found anybody that didn’t want to help me if I would ask them for help.”
This statement can be quite debatable and subject to a lot of factors, but you get the idea. There is no better and fastest way to learn rather than to let someone who knows better, help you.
Nobody became an expert on anything overnight. Almost nobody learned anything without guidance and help. Having someone to show you the way, accelerates the process of learning in anything you do.
This is fundamental when it comes to nurturing mental toughness. When you don’t know, ask.
You might think that people are busy or that they have their own problems and issues, but you don’t really know unless you try. You will be amazed by how many people will respond to you and offer advice unconditionally.
10. Transfer your knowledge and show compassion
When you start growing as a person, you should be able to identify people who are in need and are open to your guidance and help. It is your duty, so to speak, to see in other people’s lives the same person you used to be and try to give them advice and direction.
It is obviously up to them whether or not they will take advantage of the help you are offering. But, at the end of the day, you will realize that a law of attraction, when it comes to personal relationships, will always be there to remind us of its hypothetical existence.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, living your life on your own terms has never been an easy thing.
Mental Toughness is, however, the number one attribute you need to cultivate in order to cope with this process.
Because, as very eloquently a friend of mine once told me: When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Mental toughness is linked to habits and finding ways to develop a well-organized personal narrative. If you are unsure where to start, the “30 Challenges – 30 Days – Zero Excuses” book provides a selection of habits and practices that can prove extremely valuable in that respect.
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