Welcome to Hard Talk. I'm Isaiah. You're here for the hard truth and I'm here to give it to you. The only person who can increase your mental toughness is you. The only person who can keep you going when you want to give up is you. If you're waiting for someone to come along and make you feel more confident and more mentally disciplined, you're going to be waiting a long time. There's not a mentor in the world who can train you to be more mentally tough without you first deciding that you want to be more mentally tough.
Mental toughness requires self-belief. Self-belief must come from within. Hence the “self” in self-belief. The only way to increase you self-belief is to put yourself in difficult situations. By taking on challenges and learning to thrive in the face of adversity, you will become more confident. As you become more confident, you will become more resilient, focused, and driven.
Studies show that these three things: resiliency, or the ability to bounce back from failure, focus, and internal drive, are what keep mentally strong people going when others give up.
That's what mental toughness is. It's believing in yourself when no one else does. It's staying true to your vision for the future when no one else can see it. This is not easy, but it's a must if you want to achieve your goals.
How can you become more mentally tough? Well you have to start seeing things differently. In particular, you have to understand these three principals. First, the biggest opportunity to fail is also the biggest opportunity to succeed. Too many people are hard-wired to shy away from failure. They feel a sense of intimidation and immediately retreat by talking themselves out of what they really want or they sabotage their efforts. Whether you feel a twinge of intimidation at the thought of chasing a job promotion or starting a personal project or diving into a more satisfying relationship, these feelings can freeze you in your tracks.
Intimidation is not the problem. Your perspective of intimidation is the problem. Your perspective of failure is the problem. The only way to overcome your fear of failure is to start seeing opportunities to fail as opportunities to succeed. A chance to fail is simply a sign your headed in the right direction. If you can fail big, you can also win big. Without the possibility to fall flat on your face, you don't have the possibility to take your life to the next level.
Second, you must understand that in life there are people who kind of want to win and people who really want to win. Look, everyone kind of wants to win. We've all taken on a project or gone up against a competitor where we wanted to be seen as trying hard without really trying hard. What happened? We lost. We failed. We came up short. We justify losing to ourselves by saying, “At least we tried.” We told ourselves that it was okay to lose because we didn't give 100%.
Listen. Trying doesn't matter. Kind of wanting to achieve a goal, kind of wanting to be successful, kind of wanting to improve means nothing. When you kind of want something, you only want it until things get uncomfortable. As soon as one obstacle pops up, you throw in the towel. You quit because you don't really want it. You just want to be seen wanting it. It's impossible to be mentally tough when you care more about how you look then you care about actually achieving your goals. The only way to get what you really want in life is to really want it. You have to be willing to stake everything on your goal and nothing less.
Third, wanting to give up is a sign that you've chosen a worthy goal. Wanting to give up makes you strong not weak. Feeling like you might fail is not a sign you're going to fail. It's a sign you've chosen a worthy pursuit. Having doubts is not the problem. Thinking you're not supposed to have doubts is the problem. Too many people falsely feel that feeling tired, stressed, or unsure of themselves is a sign they're heading in the wrong direction. These people have fallen into the trap of believing that pursuing their passion should be easy. Nothing is further from the truth. No matter what goal you choose to take on, there's going to be obstacles to overcome. Many of these obstacles will be internal. You'll doubt yourself. You'll question your path. You'll want to quit.
This is normal for everyone. Including the people standing against you. If you're having doubts, they're having doubts. If you're about to quit, they're about to quit. The difference is mentally strong people rise above their temporary feelings and focus instead on their opponents pain or the fact that their obstacle is about to give up as well. Don't feel bad for wanting to quit. Instead, lean into these feelings because they're merely a sign that you're about to have a breakthrough.
Do this and you'll live a more confident and more focused life. Until next time, live like a lion.