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“Success comes to the lowly and to the poorly talented, but the special characteristic of a great person is to triumph over the disasters and panics of human life.” – Seneca
Every inch of the modern world is filled with easy. Easy sources of pleasure. Easy thoughts prepackaged for regurgitation amongst friends. Easy books for you to easily read. Easy entertainment. Easy identities to slap onto the back of your car. It’s all one big airport terminal complete with snacks, silly magazines and endless warning announcements.
As soon as things stop being easy, there is a clear split between the great people and the rest. In today’s world there is such little mental toughness that this is a 1% to 99% split.
Fortunately for us, Stoicism gives us the tools needed to cultivate the persistence to push through even the toughest times. Unfortunately for us, there is no shortcut. If you want to be more than a shell and develop the substance that will put you in the 1% of great people, you need the endurance to stick it out, handle rejection, and embrace prolonged periods of intense learning. At the end of the day, the only real way to develop mental toughness is by putting yourself out there and learning how to effectively deal with whatever that comes your way.
People who eat easy food, have easy workouts, repeat easy ideas, live easy lives, are easy to forget.
1. Build Daily Habits and Never Stop
Every single day you must put in the work as if that day was the last you will ever have. By simply repeating this day in and day out your mental endurance will skyrocket. Focus will come easily to you, you will finally reach your potential. This process is not easy but there is a positive because of this: the harder it is for you to do the task, the more mental resilience you will build when you finally do it. It is one thing to get luckily and achieve overnight success, it is another to truly EARN your success action by action, day by day.
2. Be Resourceful
Google has reduced the amount of resourcefulness we need every single day. The answer we are not sure about is just a few taps away. On top of this, the modern education structure with its strict structure almost abolishes resourcefulness from us at a young age. We barely have to think outside of the box to find a solution or adapt to new unique situations. Life is about creating your own momentum despite setbacks – often the act of overcoming an obstacle is more beneficial to us than the result of overcoming the obstacle. Think of each day as an opportunity to innovate, make things happen, regardless of your environment or circumstances.
3. You Are Not a Victim
You must always assume responsibility. By thinking “why me?”, mental toughness is shattered. Although you are not always at fault, your life is dependent on you recognising what is within your control and taking immense action to get those things to align with your goals. You must frame things, as if looking through a lens on life, to make you look at the things you can control instead of pitying yourself. We are all victims of blaming someone else when things go wrong – it is the easy thing to do – but it is the great people who, even when not at fault, can step up and set the situation right. It is within everyone’s power to be this person, it’s all down to you.
4. Practice Voluntary Discomfort
By thinking of everything as “practice for the big show” you will cultivate unprecedented amounts of mental toughness. When you wash the dishes, focus intently and don’t stop until they are completely spotless. Set each plate down gently before moving on to the next one. When you are about to reach the post that marks the halfway point of your run, touch it with both hands before turning back. Do not cut corners. I have noticed that people working in less attractive jobs often do a less than attractive job at that job. In their mind they do not realise that how well they do the job will affect every single job they do in the future. If you can consistently push yourself to the point of discomfort resiliency will build up – a physical example of this is going to the gym.
Without realising it we are often living the life our parents, society or friends want us to live. If you learn to be content with being alone you will have introspection time to determine what matters most to YOU. You will find yourself more focused and you will stop bouncing from one distraction to another. You must establish a