There is no doubt that any level of success requires mental toughness. Success doesn’t just happen, it requires specific and consistently repeated actions over time to create the results you want.
But taking those actions and getting those results is easier said than done. This is where mental toughness comes into the game.
The lack of mental toughness is what stops many people in their tracks. Many people have big dreams and goals, but somewhere along the path, things get hard, and most give up.
This is the reason why so many people who start the climb to success fail. They get all excited and get motivated to achieve their dreams, but then they get stopped in their tracks.
The reality that many don’t realize is that talking is easy, but doing the work is not.
What most don’t realize is that at some stage, your initial motivation will fade, and the people around you will disappear. Then it’s just you.
But what will you do when no one is watching? What will you do when you are struggling, and things get hard? Will you stop? Will you give up?
I don’t care how motivated you are, but at some point in your journey, you will get to a point where you will ask yourself the following questions:
Is this worth it?
What if this doesn’t work?
Maybe I should give up?
This is the fork in the road. At this point, the losers will stop and give up. The winners will push forward and go on to win.
But why do most quit? And how do the winners keep going and win? Well, this is where mental toughness comes into the game.
This article will answer why successful people win and how they use their minds to overcome whatever is in front of them. In other words, how do they build their mental toughness?
What Is Mental Toughness?
Mental toughness is the psychological ability that enables individuals, generally, to cope better than most people with the many demands that life throws at them.
They developed the ability to be more consistent and better than most people in remaining focused, confident, determined, and in control under pressure.
It’s not that these people are superhuman, it’s that they developed the ability to recognize the hardships of the situations they find themselves in but are still able to move forward no matter how bad things get.
HOW TO BUILD MENTAL TOUGHNESS
If you are reading this article, then I assume you are someone that has goals and dreams that you are determined to achieve. Therefore you know that it’s non-negotiable to have a high level of self-discipline as a lifestyle to achieve big goals.
But besides self-discipline, we need mental toughness. But you can’t just tell someone, “Build mental toughness.” You need methods that will help you build a foundation and get you moving in the right direction with momentum.
Over the years, I have studied high-level achievers in sports and elite military units and identified the key methods that help them to overcome and achieve on a consistently high level.
Today I’m going to share with you three powerful ways to start building mental toughness. Here they are:
1. Stop Negotiating With Yourself
The first way to start building mental resilience is to stop negotiating with yourself. We all have mental habits. The problem with mental habits is that most of the time we don’t know we have them.
They are certain thought patterns that we repeat without realizing it. For example, every time you think of exercise, you find a reason why it’s a better idea to postpone it. You tell yourself, “Let’s do it tomorrow.”
In other words, you start negotiating with yourself. Every human being has two parts in his mind. Think of them as the good guy and the bad guy. Or, if you want to look at it more scientifically, the old part and the new part of the human brain are always in conflict with each other.
The ancient part of the human brain, also known as the “reptilian brain”, and the newer part of your brain, also known as the logical brain, have different agendas.
The logical brain wants to achieve your goals. But every time the logical brain wants to take action, the old brain steps in and starts negotiating for something more comfortable.
The key here is to stop the negotiations immediately. Don’t even allow discussion. As soon as this “bad guy” comes up to negotiate, stop him in his tracks. This works because as soon as you realize what is happening, you can cut it off and get on with it.
The big mistake that most people make is that they think the “bad guy” is a legitimate voice that is making a legitimate argument. Now that you know what is actually happening, you can recognize it and stop it. No negotiation is allowed, just move on and start executing your goal.
2. Use The David Goggins Cookie Jar Method
One of the men that I admire most in the world is Navy SEAL David Goggins. Goggins became world famous after the release of his book “Can’t Hurt Me.”
David Goggins is arguably the toughest man on the planet, but this wasn’t always the case. He was an overweight, mediocre underachiever that turned himself into one of the most elite athletes on the planet.
One of the biggest lessons I learned from him is his Cookie Jar Method. Goggins often talks about the Cookie Jar method and how he uses it. The Cookie Jar is basically a virtual cookie jar that he goes into when his back is against the wall.
The Cookie Jar is filled with notes from a wide range of events from his past. Every note has a memory from the past. These events are things that happened to him and that he managed to overcome.
A lot of these events are painful, even though he managed to overcome them. So whenever he feels like quitting or giving up, he goes into the cookie jar and reads one of the notes.
For example, one note might read, “Remember when no one believed in you, but you still lost all the weight and went on to join the Navy Seals.”
The key to this method is to use your past pain and pleasure events to push you to overcome whatever is in front of you.
The mind is incredibly powerful if you use it effectively. This method allows us to use the pain and pleasure centers of our brains to overcome mental obstacles that are in our way.
Create your mental cookie jar. It doesn’t have to be big things, but find something to remind you of what you can do when obstacles get placed in your path. Use your past pain or pleasure, and feed on it so that it fuels you to go on and win.
3. Use The Special Operations Mind Control Method
Another method that I learned from the elite special operations community is to minimize the mountain in front of you. To understand this method, you first need to understand the context of special operations units.
If you think about the Navy Seals,75th Ranger Regiment, Green Berets, or Marine Raiders, then you are talking about some of the hardest training in the world.
It’s not just hard, it takes a long time to accomplish. Depending on the unit you go to, it could take up to 2 years to complete all training. For those brave enough to join, a mental mountain awaits them. This is the reason why so many quit.
80% of SEAL candidates quit. Many of them reach mental obstacles early in training. For example, Navy SEAL “Hell Week” is five days with only 2 hours of sleep.
Within the first day of “Hell Week,” many quit because they find themselves on a mental wake-up call when they tell themselves, “This is only day one, and I already feel like I can’t go on. How am I going to make the next five days? How Am I going to make it in the next five months?”
This is an example of mental obstacles that makes most men quit. But it’s not just in the military where we find these mental blocks.
Maybe you started a business, and within the first five months, you realize things are a lot harder than you thought they would be, so you tell yourself, “I don’t know if I can do this for another year.” So you quit.
So how do we overcome these types of mental blocks? How do we overcome these mental mountains? To answer this question, let’s go back to the Special Operations Units and their training. We mentioned the mental mountains in front of them and how it stops them.
Well, I recently listened to several Navy Seals, and Green Berets talk on a podcast about how they overcome these mental mountains.What they do is simple, they don’t allow themselves to focus on the mountain in front of them. They break it down into small achievable goals.
The Navy Seal on the podcast said that when he was going through Hell Week, he would often start thinking about quitting, but every time he did, he would tell himself something like the following:
“The sun is rising now, I’m going to make it to lunch and if I want to quit, I can do it at lunch.”
And then he would make it to lunch, and then he would tell himself the following:
“Ok, I feel like quitting, but I’m going to go until dinner and see how I feel then.”
Then when he reached dinner, he would tell himself he would make it until breakfast. He would keep repeating this until the end of the week. He would keep setting small achievable goals for himself to trick his mind to keep moving forward.
The key lesson is to not let yourself get overwhelmed by the big goals that you set for yourself. You need to train your mind to hold your big vision for yourself in the background and place your small achievable goals fresh in your mind.
Don’t get obsessed with the massive task ahead of you. Just focus on your small goals and start executing each and every one of them. That is how you win.
Most of the people that achieve great things are not naturally born superheroes. They just learned how to use their minds in such an effective way that it’s very hard for them to fail.
Mental toughness comes down to using proven methods to condition your mind to move in the direction that you want it to move.
Does this mean achieving your goals will be easy? No, but if you consistently do the work and use these methods, you will condition your mind to never give up and always be moving forward. You will put yourself in a position where you consistently achieve your goals and inevitably win.