“I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I’m like, ‘My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don’t have it. I just want to chill.’ We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it.” -Kobe Bryant
Becoming mentally strong is a tough endeavor.
It is tough because strengthening the mind is multi-faceted. The mind is an intangible that lives within the brain. With that, we need to strengthen the muscle that is the brain.
Well how does one do that?
Life experience is one way to strengthen the brain thus strengthen the mind.
Doing exercises specifically aimed at strengthening the brain (logic exercises and reading for example) can aid in strengthening the mind.
Subjecting yourself to conversations that share other people’s experiences in another facet to strengthening the mind.
All in all, it takes a lot of things to help strengthen the mind.
Below are the 11 top ways to fully invest in becoming a mentally strong person and immovable force in the world.
Adopt the Nike Philosophy.
“Just Do it.”
It’s probably one of the greatest marketing slogans in modern day (save for “Where’s the Beef!”) It’s not just a slogan, however. It’s a way of life.
Nike is more than just an athletic brand- it’s a lifestyle brand.
The company has ventured into more industries that sports. Adopt the lifestyle of “just do it.”
When you need to have the tough conversation with your significant other- just do it.
When you want to approach your boss and ask for the promotion- just do it.
When you want to begin writing your memoir of how you survived growing up in the Detroit Projects- just do it.
Look the Devil in the eyes (and don’t blink).
Crave the uncomfortable.
The world is going to put you down every chance it gets.
The Universe is unbiased and unrelenting. In order to become more mentally strong, picture your existence as being in a staring contest with the Devil (or universe or consciousness or misfortune etc).
Ever noticed when you’re walking down the street and you make eye contact with someone probably both you and he look away almost as soon as the eyes lock. Next time, remain locked in eye contact. It’s a micro experiment to prove your confidence in this staring contest.
Fall on the sword during the bad.
You’re going to screw up in life.
This is inevitable.
Whether it’s with a lover, in the work place, with your body, or with your spirituality you are going to screw up. It’s extremely easy and extremely weak to blame other people. The vast majority do this- I know I have done it plenty of times throughout my life.
When things don’t go the way they are supposed to, it’s easy to pass the blame off to someone else. The mentally strong thing to do it to fall on the sword. Accept and be fueled by owning the mistake. Leaders accept the blame, followers point the finger.
Remain humble during the good.
When good things happen, we all want to take the immediate credit and be thrust into the spotlight.
We want to think that we are perhaps “genius” and everything we touch has the power to turn to gold.
The mentally strong aren’t swayed by such near-sighted lust. The mentally strong don’t let the Ego take over in the times of good. They are always remaining humble even when they have accomplished such vast heights.
Listen to the voice in your soul- at all costs.
We’re all going to die.
This is one of the guarantees of life.
With that, if given the opportunity to follow your dreams and voice in your soul- one should follow it. This is hard. So many people in your life will be telling you to do otherwise.
They’ll tell you to date a different person, they’ll tell you to get a better job, they’ll tell you to be more responsible with your life (thanks, mom). You can submit to their whim or you can listen to that voice. The mentally strong person listens to the voice.
Learn to fast.
Eating that In N Out Double-double is easy.
It doesn’t cost that much, you don’t have to do any cooking yourself, you eat the burger, feel the rush of trans fats, sodium and carbohydrates. Your body is sent into a state of lethargy and relaxation.
You sedate yourself.
What is hard and mentally strong is to fight the urge. Food is one of the most basic elements for our survival. We live in an age of abundance. Resisting the temptation of food helps build mental strength and resilience. This resilience will bleed over into other aspects of life.
Have the conversation you most dread having.
No one likes an uncomfortable conversation.
Hell, no one generally likes the uncomfortable anything.
In order to build strength mentally, you are going to need to go through the gauntlet of that miserable conversation. Maybe you’ll trip over yourself in your speech. Maybe it will result in the demolition of a friendship. You are going to need to pass through that fire to become the Phoenix, however.
Have others earn your respect.
I don’t know when the idea that nice and respect became interchangeable. They aren’t the same thing.
You can be nice and you don’t get the respect from people around you. Respect and having people earn your respect is a noble and strong pursuit. Being nice always, isn’t virtuous and is the easy way out.
You are going to experience conflict during the pursuit of respect. Conflict and overcoming the conflict builds mental strength.
Be always and forever curious.
There are sheep in this world and then there are shepherds.
The sheep aren’t curious. They take everything that comes their way and either completely reject the new stimuli or accept it without any critical curiosity.
The shepherds, the leaders of the world, are curious and intuitive. They are always asking questions of why the world is they way it is.
They aren’t satisfied with the status quo. It takes mental strength to be curious and to be always asking why. When you ask and then seek the answers, you grow your mind.
Conquer your weaknesses.
All too often do we see “Self-Help Gurus” preaching about tripling down on your strengths. Find what you’re good at and go full steam ahead.
Now I am not saying to abandon entirely what you are good at- far from it.
What if you’re amazing at being an asshole? Should you keep tripling down on that?
What if you’re an excellent manipulator?
The mentally strong person knows and identifies their weaknesses and they conquer them. There are days they aren’t going to want to do things. Hell, perhaps there are stretches they endure over years of not wanting to do something or not being good at something.
At the end of they day, they conquer that.
Consciousness can be a trickster at times. You can go the whole day on “auto-pilot” and not even know it.
Think about the last time you were driving and you had that “snap back to reality” moment. Perhaps you were in a day dream and something kicked and you came back to driving at 75 miles an hour screaming down I-90.
The mentally strong person practices mindfulness- the ability to see the mind for what it is and how it operates- to not be victim to constantly being in an “auto-pilot” state.
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