You are hurting.
Someone said a bad thing.
Something hit a nerve.
You feel like ignoring all social niceties and smashing the table with a fist.
You feel depressed, and you might not even know why.
. . .
Negative emotions can have an immensely strong pull on all of us.
They swirl and envelop, like black mist polluting our souls.
In an instant, the world is a hostile, alien place.
. . .
Like myself, we all experience the encroaching black mist.
No one has the privilege of being free from hardship; from life’s thorns.
Life is a moving current. Obstacles that challenge our emotional stability converge on each of us with relentless force.
No one is exempt from this unforgiving torrent.
. . .
And yet some of us seem to fall into luck more often than others.
A handful of us appears to flow through with fewer problems.
Some of us enjoy more ‘wins’ than the rest of us.
Those who are able to succeed more often than they lose, are not — for the most part — ‘luckier’ than anyone else. They are not — by some divine power — more special or more deserving, than anyone else.
They are simply more attuned to the power of mental toughness.
Mental toughness is an attitude, not a gene, or a ‘personality’ trait.
And it is available to anyone with the courage to take it.
Mental toughness is the habitual shift in attention away from self-pity, to act with resolve. And it is doing it without delay.
It is understanding ‘the turn’ — that transition that takes you from victim to owner in an instant.
It is having the strength to deny an emotional outburst at every provocation, to create a gap between emotion and reaction; to breathe.
We all have an urge to complain, to pity or to loathe ourselves when we are hurt. It’s like an indulgent itch that needs scratching.
Leave the itch, and ‘turn’ instead.
This is where all the rewards of life are to be found.
Turn. Turn. Turn.
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mental toughness is something that requires awareness, and practice, but the more often you make the ‘turn,’ the ‘luckier’ your life will become.
People who suffer, rarely make the turn. Or they take too long to make it.
Many argue that if you are down or hurting, that you need to love yourself more. But it is not self-kindness that we need when we are clouded by the mist. It is assertiveness.
It is the agile and conscious turning away from your hurts, and instead, making a difference.
You cannot ruminate on a problem to fix it. You cannot stew. This is stagnation, and this will slowly end you.
You must make a decision where everybody wins, and act immediately.
This means taking several breaths.
It means doing one thing to improve your situation, even if you want to cower under bed covers.
It is using your dissatisfaction to double down on your goals; committing to a strategy to reach them twice as fast.
It is using your hurt to make a positive change instead.
It is pumping yourself up if you have been low.
It is calming yourself down when you have been triggered.
It is killing it in the gym or going for a long walk.
But it might also be to move your attention away from yourself to someone else.
To lift someone else’s spirits.
To make someone else feel at ease.
. . .
Mental toughness is a decision.
A decision to live a lucky life.
And you can make it right now.