Mental Toughness

General McChrystal gets up every morning at 4am to complete an intense hour and half workout, and makes it to the office before most of us have even heard our alarm clock.

Lets face it, most of the success stories you hear involve more self-discipline than you or I possess. That doesn’t mean that theses people were born with something special, they developed mental toughness by being persistent with the person who counts most, themselves.

Here are some toughness tips to get you through the week and if you keep at it maybe the rest of your life.


1. Intrinsic Power

You are in control. Don’t waste your time waiting for good luck, bad luck, or any other superstition. Failure and success are within your grasp, you can’t control luck but you can control yourself.

Many big projects/aspirations look like whales, and how do you devour a whale? One bite at a time. Don't waste energy worrying about how things will turn out. Do what you can today to get closer to the place you would like to be.

2. The Past is Training for the Present

You made a mistake. Big deal. What did you learn from it? Now let it go.

If someone else makes a mistake see it as a chance to offer support, kindness, and understanding. We have all been there. If you make a mistake, realize that it does not define you. The spotlight effect is real, it is highly likely that no one is watching you or cares, and if they are acknowledge the mistake, if you need to make an apology do it immediately, learn your lesson, and move on.

3. Celebrate Success, Even if it isn’t Yours

A rising tide lifts all boats. Celebrate and enjoy the success of your friends and colleagues.

Don’t resent the accomplishment of the people around you. Their success does not diminish who you are, realize you are in good company. Successful people may be able to offer you insight into how to get where they got, or may be able to help you down the line – but we all recognize jealousy and harboring resentment will only hold you back.

4. Stop Complaining and Criticizing

Don’t dwell on what is wrong, figure out a way to make it better. The power of your thoughts and words should be working towards a better reality for you not bring you and your friends down.

Something bad happens, take some time to absorb the problem and then make sure to see how you can make this better. If a friend needs to vent, allow it as long as you both agree that the drama is short lived. This is more helpful than half listening to a constantly reoccurring issue. Criticizing can be tempting but it rarely solves anything. Take your energy and work towards a solution.

5. Don’t Pay to Kick It

A long time ago a friend of mine referred to someone who always overdid things and always tried to impress everyone as “pays-to-kick-it.” Cruel, yes I thought so. Fact of the matter is you shouldn’t have to impress others to earn their friendship. You should be thinking how you might impress yourself.

Genuine friendships and relationships are our most precious resources. They sooth us when we need comfort, they smile and laugh with us when we are happy, and they guide us in the right direction.

If your relationships are based on what clothes you wear, the car you drive, or the success of your career you are in big trouble. Superficial relationships are fleeting and will have nothing for you if you don’t fulfill whatever role you have set up for yourself.

Authentic relationships will make you happy - you don’t have to impress and spend a lot of money to make them happen. Our time on the planet is limited, investing our energy in people who are genuine has an impact on us that is immeasurably positive.

6.  Review your Long-Term Goals

Tangible reminders – what are they? Tangible reminders are the purpose of vision boards, lists of goals, and screen savers that show places you want to go. These are the subtle reminders every day of the person you promised yourself you would be. Don’t take the easy way out, stay accountable, you owe yourself that.

My vision board serves this purpose for me, when I need to remind myself of what I want I simply look over my laptop to see it pinned to the wall in front of me.

7. Be Grateful

Every night before you fall asleep, do you think of all you have to be grateful for? It is a lot better than counting sheep. Feeling better about your accomplishments and how far you have come in life and being grateful for them is a nice way to soothe your mind.