I really like a quote by Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius who said “The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength”. Recently I was reminded of the power of this recently when I witnessed a traffic accident.
Regrettably, several people were hurt and could have lost their lives but for the calm and prompt actions of several emergency services staff who were quickly on the scene. In a highly emotive and dangerous situation, the men and women from the traffic police and ambulance service responded to utter chaos and mayhem with complete clarity and efficiency. They quickly judged the situation and did what needed to be done.
Amidst the chaos there was no fuss – just firm and decisive action.
Their actions weren’t a chance event of course, or some special talent they had been born with. Whilst they may have had some natural aptitude, they had undergone thorough training to perfect a process as well as possessing the right mindset.
This mindset ‘mental toughness‘ as defined by Clough and Strycharczyk, enables them to ‘perform under stress and pressure whatever the circumstance’ in this case a highly charged and dangerous situation.
We can all perform in our chosen profession in a similar way by developing the mental toughness to stay calm and objective and implement predetermined processes that we have trained for. The constant repetition of this ensures that it becomes a constant subconscious behaviour that isn’t distorted by stress and emotion.
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