Sharpening the sword of mental toughness isn’t something that can come from an external source. We have to hire the trainer and show up for every workout. We have to push ourselves in sparring, push through pain, extend our threshold. We have to turn off our phone, shut off our internet, and work.
Where Has the Toughness Gone?
Our warriors are being replaced by cowards. They’re outnumbered, unpopular, and even shunned for their discipline, focus, and desire to do what no one else is willing to do. The “free spirit”, the ‘wake up whenever I feel like it, do whatever I want, when I want, and benefit no one but myself’ character is applauded for ‘being in the moment’. For taking life one day at a time. For being different and dancing to their own tune, while the hustler, the grinder, the warrior, the nine-to-fiver who instead wakes up at five and stays to nine is seen as a man “stuck in the rat race”.
As the young, ambitious, leader’s dream begins to bear fruit, the world benefits. They’re applauded, finally, yet not fully understood, and still an outcast.
We want happiness, but we confuse it with laziness.
We then crack under pressure. We look for an easy way out, for chemical dependencies, drugs, alcohol and booze, to quell the stress, all the while the young man who placed himself under daily pain, discipline, and inconvenience is prepared when the shit hits the fan. Rather than his world crashing down, coming to an end, he sees yet another opportunity to see what he’s made of. No. To prove what he’s made of.
Distraction and vehicles of laziness are all around us. We’ll call them ‘temptations’, it’s an easy term to use. The majority will see these as blessings from one angle: they make life easier. I can be everywhere at once, but nowhere at the same time. The warrior sees them as a blessing from another angle: they’re stones that can help him strengthen his sword of mental toughness.
So, when he sits down to work, he wards off the temptation to surf the net, check facebook, or do God knows what people do online, steadily waisting their time and their life. When he trains, he doesn’t check the TV. He doesn’t quit when the pain comes. He rises, pushes forward, sharpening his sword every time he chooses the hard road over the easy road of distraction, complacency, avoidance, and the Resistance.
Mental Toughness is Essential to Leaving Your Mark
“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity.” ~ Victor Frankl
Why the article on purposefully making our lives just a little more difficult? Doesn’t that go against everything we’re learning in today’s society about making things easier on ourselves, creating shortcuts, and being in the moment?
Maybe. But as Dr. Frankl notes, we all have a mission in life. We have a reason for being here. That reason isn’t simply to ease through life doing what we want. There’s a greater possibility for each of us. Something we can do, it’s just a matter of if we will do what’s necessary to do it.
This mission isn’t internal. It’s not merely for our own personal growth – although we grow as we carry it out. It’s for the benefit of people besides us. If we’re going to leave our mark, to be that irreplaceable person we are, and have the ability to be, we need to sharpen our sword. We need to get used to the uncomfortable. We need to do what others aren’t willing to do.
Just like to sharpen a sword, it needs to be ground against another, tougher object. We need to toughen ourselves by inconveniencing ourselves. Extend your threshold for pain when you’re in the gym. Work, don’t facebook or tweet. Wake up early if it’s tough for you to do so. Run when it’s snowing and you’d rather watch a movie. Inconvenience yourself, to toughen yourself, and to prepare yourself for the ups and downs of life, for the fact that things don’t always go according to your own plans.
If you’re mentally tough, you can handle anything. If you’re mentally tough, you’ll also see the good in every situation, you’ll work harder, longer hours, accomplishing more, doing more good than the lazy fella. Start sharpening that sword right now.