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Have you ever stubbed your toe? Did it ruin your whole day or did you keep moving, lay down your choice curse words, and forget about it shortly after that? While there are many who do indeed get up on the wrong side of the bed, many manage to make it through the day. But what happens when we face a bigger challenge? When the stakes are higher, but so is the adversity?
The dirt: Maybe it wasn’t meant to be.
Was it really not meant to be or did we “stub our toe” along the way, cry foul, and give up? Mental toughness. We’re born with it, then what happened? When we first learn to walk, we fall, stumble, and fail many times before we’re on our feet. Isn’t interesting how we just didn’t give up and crawl into adulthood? It’s also the mom who lifts a car off her child. Did she suddenly develop a spout of mental toughness or was she so determined to save her kid’s life that she let it come out and got that car off the ground?
Most people today have the mental toughness of a wet napkin. It’s not really any wonder if you consider how coddled we are growing up. Our parents seem to believe there one job is to protect us from harm. This is great if we’re about to get eaten by a bear, but not so great if it doesn’t allow us to fail, learn and grow. Could you imagine our parents not allowing us to walk for our first 18 years? How crippled would we be with atrophied legs, no coordination, and no balance?
Is it hard being mentally tough? You bet. It’s also hard being mentally weak. Either way, it’s hard. The question is what are you getting in return. So what happens when we don’t have mental toughness?
We are offended by anything.
They say champions don’t ever get offended, even if it’s intended. There’s a reason for this. Taking offense in something that another person does is effectively giving them power over your emotions, and thus over you. Do you really think giving up control is how you will win in life? Everyone has opinions and in the age of social media, we now get to hear all of them. Most opinions come from the incompetent, delusional, and bitter because the happy, the successful, and the winners are too busy being happy, successful, and winning to tear other people down. What if we don’t have to fall to pieces every time someone hurts our feelings?
We quit before we start.
Without mental toughness, we don’t have the self-confidence to even try. IMagine being worried about street violence in a new city. You may never leave your house at night. But what opportunities are you missing by artificially restricting yourself? What if you became street smart and were able to handle anything that came your way? So instead of shirking away, you walked proudly down the street. Not only could you handle the trouble should it come, but the mere presence you show in walking with you head high is itself a deterrent to those who would want to start any trouble. That’s right, the more prepared you are, the less chance of you needing to be prepared.
We quit after we start
Any worthwhile endeavor we undertake will have its challenges. We all know this, yet we seem surprised when the obstacles come. It’s like getting into the ring of life and then being surprised when we get punched in the face. We’re in the ring! Of course we are probably going to get punched. But that’s the only way to win, for outside the ring are the spectators, none of whom get to take home the prize. It’s the gold digger that digs for 3 miles only to stop 6 inches short of the vein. All that work and no reward. It’s a cruelty that too many people get to experience.
We don’t fail in the right ways.
Without enough belief in ourselves to handle the fight, we try to avoid failure at all costs. It hurts too much to fail. There is a strange irony in that avoiding failure is actually the only way to fail. You see, we’re told success is one direction and failure is the other. That we should run from failure and towards success. But what if success is not contrary to failure but on the other side? We must go through failure in order to get to success. So by not pushing through temporary failure, there is no success, and we’re right back at failure. Except this latter failure is permanent.
We don’t win.
When we spend time and energy on being offended only to eventually quit, there is just no path to victory. We can’t spend our lives doing everything except the right things and see our way to happiness, wealth, and success. Instead, we get easily distracted, putting energy into that which doesn’t build our future. We watch TV, social media, games, and sit in traffic for a thankless, underpaying job. All of which are easier than facing the truth: we lost control over ourselves somewhere along the way. We are the perennial victim. By definition, victims don’t win.
One last question. What will be your excuse when you’re older and bouncing your granddaughter on your knee? When she asks why you never achieved your dreams in life and why we’re struggling as a family, what will you tell her? It was too hard? Someone hurt your feelings? You just gave up? Is that really the lesson you want to pass on as your legacy?
The good news is that there’s still time. That we can abide by the diamond rule of success: Start, don’t quit. These three simple words can be the guiding light that if followed, can lead us down the right path. It will require an absolute commitment, but what do we have to lose? Let’s reclaim our mental toughness by forgetting how to fail again, not letting anyone tear us down, and never ever ever quitting until the prize is ours.
“Refuse to emotionally succumb to the negative events around you and tap your mental toughness to thrive in any environment. The good guy doesn’t always win and justice doesn’t always prevail but where you direct your mental energy will always determine your attitude and it will always be controlled by you.”
I appreciate you for spending time with me. Please share this with anyone you know who get easily offended. It just might save their lives. As always, I’ll see you at the top ’cause the bottom’s way too crowded.