One Hard Thing You Have to Do to Be Mentally Stronger (and Happier)

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

A longtime fan of bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff, I look forward to receiving their daily emails. Here’s some excellent advice for these challenging times:

Far too often we think that mental strength is all about how we respond to extreme circumstances. How did she perform on stage during that televised event? Did he bounce back from that heart-wrenching divorce? Can she keep her life together even after suffering from a major, debilitating injury?

There’s no doubt that extreme circumstances test our bravery, determination and mental strength, but what about common, daily circumstances?

Just like every muscle in the body, the mind needs to be exercised to gain strength. It needs to be worked consistently to grow and develop over time. If you haven’t pushed yourself in hundreds of little ways over time, of course you’ll crumble on the one day that things get really challenging.

But it doesn’t have to be that way…

Choose to lift some weights when it would be more comfortable to sleep in. Choose to do the tenth rep when it would be more comfortable to quit at nine. Choose to create something special when it would be more comfortable to consume something mediocre. Choose to raise your hand and ask that extra question when it would be more comfortable to stay silent. Prove to yourself, in hundreds of little ways, that you have the guts to get in the ring and wrestle with life.

Mental strength is built through lots of small, daily victories. It’s the individual choices we make day-to-day that build our “mental strength” muscles. We all want this kind of strength, but we can’t think our way to it. If you want it, you have to do something about it ritualistically. It’s your positive daily rituals that prove your mental fortitude and move you in the direction of your dreams over the long-term.

The bottom line is that when things get difficult for most people, they find something more comfortable to do. When things get difficult for mentally strong people, they find a way to stay on track with their positive daily rituals.

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.

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