Learn to Endure Tough Times With These 3 Questions
Did you know …
If you took two athletes with the same physical endurance, the athlete with the better mental endurance will actually perform better?
You see, more than just being a part of athletics, mental endurance is a huge and often underrated component of our daily lives; everything from challenges in the workplace, stress at home, and anxiousness at school can be dealt with using the power of mental endurance. But what most people don’t realize, is that you are completely capable of building your mental endurance.
If you watched this week’s YouTube video, you already know the first 5 ways you can build your mental endurance (and if you haven’t watched it yet, then you need to do that first by clicking here or on the video above). In that video I also list one bonus tip — and that tip is exactly what we will be breaking-down in today’s blog post.
Expect to Endure
Let’s say you want to go ride your bike. Just before you get on your bike, your mother tells you that 53% of bike riders will fall off their bike and hit their head on the ground. So what do you do…?
Well you could pick option A: stay safe and never ride your bike. Or you could pick option B: put on a helmet to protect yourself as you have fun riding your bike.
If you picked option B, why did you do so?
I bet it was because you expected something bad might happen, so you chose to take the necessary precautions. That explanation certainly makes sense to me!
So what if, instead of riding your bike, you wanted to simply to live a great life? And then, before heading out the door, what if your mother told you it is very likely that something bad might happen in your life?
My guess is you’d do the same thing as the bike-riding scenario and take the necessary precautions (and don’t worry… I am not going to tell you to wear a helmet everyday of your life).
Be Prepared for Things to Go Wrong (…because they probably will)
Hold Your Horses! I want you to re-read that subtitle.
Understanding that life is NOT meant to be easy is the absolute key to building your mental endurance. Being prepared for things to go wrong, and then taking the proper measures to protect yourself in case they do go wrong will always lead to success. And even before you start taking those proper measures you must accept the reality of life. Yes it is true that life is difficult. Yes it is true that it will always be that way. But yes, it is also true that you can do things to avoid difficulties in life as well as bounce back from difficulties that affect you negatively.
Mental endurance is all about applying self-discipline even when it is hard and you don’t want to. Having solid and secure mental endurance is all about doing the things simply because you know you should. For example, you refuse to let judgmental people effect your state of mind, not because it is easy or because you want to … but because you know you should. And, for example, you choose to finish a project and meet the deadline despite your anxiousness, not because you genuinely enjoy feeling anxious … but because you know you should.
So if you want to prepare for the moments you might feel judged or anxious, I want you to ask the following three questions:
1) Is this event happening now?
Is the thing your worried happening, actually happening as we speak? Or is this thing at least confirmed to happen in the very imminent future?
If you just answered “yes,” then you have something to battle against. Not something to worry about or something to stress over, but something you will work to overthrow. And yes, the key words there are “battle” and “overthrow” – by using these words to describe your situation, you are accepting the fact that you’ll have to endure tough times. And if something bad is happening now, then I want you to remember this is not the end of your life, but rather, just an event in your life. People have a tendency to over-react and blow small problems out of proportion – this happens because emotions cloud our ability to think clearly and reason.
So take a breather, and figure out if you are actually experiencing hardship, or if you are creating an imagined hardship in your mind. Often times “hardship” is just something we create in our minds because we ruminate on and inflate potentially negative situations. So if you can stop blowing negative situations out of proportion, you will be much more likely able to endure those situations.
Additionally, if you see your current problem as an event in your life, you’ll be more inclined to think about what you can do to stop the event from occurring. And, if that event ever happens again in your life, you’ll know exactly how to handle it.
2) Might this event happen in the future?
If the bad event is not happening now, is there a likelihood of it happening in the future? If so, start getting specific with when the event will happen (ex. in 1 – 2 years or in 6-16 months), and what exactly the trigger to that event will be. Now that you know the trigger, can you do something to prevent the trigger from going off? For example, let’s say you’re worried you’ll gain weight over the holiday season. It is currently December 2nd and holiday gatherings will begin in 2-3 weeks. The trigger for weight gain will be eating sugary, and holiday-related treats when you get together with family and friends. So… the solution? You bring a sh*t tonne of your favorite salad to every event, you start chewing slower so your brain registers when you get full at a quicker time, and you drink more water when you start craving sweets.
This way, you can do you best to prevent the trigger from going off, all while knowing that doing this will be difficult. The longer you can prevent the trigger from going off, the better your mental endurance will become.
3) How prepared do I need to be in case this event happens in the future?
Let’s say your worried about getting fired from your job. That is a realistic problem you might want to consider.
So how do you prepare for this? Well, you do the best job you can on every project, you ask questions, communicate, and network with upper management.
But guess what. Getting laid-off from your position could still occur no matter how well you perform day-to-day. So if you are fired or laid-off from your job, how will you handle that news? How will you endure the unemployment and zero income? What specifically will you do to seek new employment opportunities?
Maybe you decide to get a certification or degree that makes you more hire-able. Maybe you open a TFSA bank account so that you’ll have extra money on hand. Maybe you’ll make a list of hobbies you’d like to try so you can fill your free time with productive activities.
All-in-all, going through these questions will prepare you for enduring tough times in life. And the longer and the tougher times you can endure, the more challenges you will overcome and the more goals you will reach.
Mental Endurance Does Not Come Naturally
You have to build it.
You have to practice it and practice it until it becomes easy.
Mental endurance does not come naturally. One of my biggest pet peeves in life is when people tell me, “but Ella, not everybody is like that” when discussing having such fortified mental endurance. You see, that statement could not be further from the truth, because the reality is, no one is “like that”. No one is naturally a mental powerhouse and no one is born with extreme self-discipline. The only difference between the people who do and do not have mental fortitude, is that the ones that do, chose to build that strength.
So then I’ll leave you with this: when it comes to building your mental endurance, what will you choose?
As always, Happy Monday.
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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional health advice.