Choosing a positive mental state today is the most important decision of the day and the key to get mentally fit therefore my early morning ritual becomes imperative in achieving that. If I can get mentally fit and ready for the day I believe I can do anything. One of my favourite web authors is Benjamin Hardy and his Mission journal often provides me with the foundation for such a day.
In the first of this two part series inspired by Hardy, I have selected 10 suggestions that I have adopted or should adopt to help me to get mentally fit and develop my mental toughness routines and habits.
1. Make one audacious request per week (what do you have to lose?)
Hardy starts this suggestion with a quote from Ben Arment
“Rainmakers generate revenue by making asks. They ask for donations. They ask for contracts. They ask for deals. They ask for opportunities. They ask to meet with leaders or speak to them over the phone. They ask for publicity. They come up with ideas and ask for a few minutes of your time to pitch it. They ask for help. Don’t let rainmaking deter you from your dream. It’s one of the barriers to entry, and you can overcome it. Once you taste the sweet victory of a positive response, you’ll not only become comfortable with it, you might even enjoy it. But making asks is the only way to bring your dream to life.” — Ben Arment
I got into graduate school way after applications were due because I asked. I’ve gotten free NBA tickets by asking a few players I saw at a hotel. I’ve gotten my work published on high tier outlets because I ask. Very few things in life are just randomly given to you as an adult. In most cases, you need to earn it and/or ask for it. Yet, there are many opportunities currently available to everyone if they would muster the courage and humility to ask.
The entire crowdfunding industry is based on making asks. Start making bold and audacious asks. What’s the worst that could happen? They say “No”? What’s the best that could happen? When you don’t ask, you lose by default. And you’ll never know the opportunities you missed out on. Don’t sell yourself short. Ask that beautiful girl on a date. Ask for that raise or big opportunity at work. Ask people to invest in your idea. Put yourself out there. You’ll be blown away by what happens.
2. Have no more than 3 items on your to-do list each day
When you shift your life from day-to-day reactivity to one of creation and purpose, your goals become a lot bigger. Consequently, your priority list becomes smaller. Instead of doing a million things poorly, the goal becomes to do a few things incredibly — or better yet, to do one thing better than anyone else in the world.
“If you have more than three priorities, then you don’t have any.” — Jim Collins
So, instead of trying to do a million small things, what one or two things would make the biggest impact?
Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach, explains that there are two economies: The Economy of Hard Work and The Economy of Results.
Some people think hard work is the recipe. Although this is completely true, the effort is often misplaced. Most people focus on the process or work first, and the result second. Conversely, those who determine the outcomes their seeking first can better discern which strategy will be most effective. Sure, that strategy may be out of your comfort zone, but as Tim Grover has said in Relentless, “When you crave the end result, the hard work becomes irrelevant.”
Tim Ferriss, in his book, The 4-Hour Body, explains what he calls Minimum Effective Dose (MED), which is simply the smallest dose that will yield a desired result and anything past the MED is wasteful. Water boils at 100°C at standard air pressure — it is not “more boiled” if you add more heat.
What is the fastest way to get your desired outcome?
3. Stop obsessing about the outcome
Research has found that expectations in one’s own ability serves as a better predictor of high performance than expectations about a specific outcome. In his book, The Personal MBA Josh Kaufman explains that when setting goals, your locus of control should target what you can control (i.e., your efforts) instead of results you can’t control (e.g., whether you get the part). Expect optimal performance from yourself and let the chips fall where they may. The organic output will be your highest quality work. Put most simply: Do what is right, let the consequence follow.
4. Meditate in the morning
In a recent interview at the Genius Network mastermind event, Joe Polish asked Tony Robbins what he does to get focused. “Do you meditate? What do you do?” Joe asked. “I don’t know that I meditate. I don’t know that I want to meditate and think about nothing,” Tony responded, “My goal is clarity.” Instead of full-on meditation, Tony has a morning routine that includes several breathing exercises and visualization techniques that get him to a state of clarity and focus. For me, I use prayer and pondering (my version of meditation) as the same vehicle.
Whatever your approach, the goal should be clarity and focus. What do you want to be about today? What few things matter most during the next 24 hours?
I’ve gotten the best results as:
- My morning prayer and meditation are motivational
- My afternoon prayer and meditation are evaluative and strategic
- My evening prayer and meditation are evaluative and reflective
5. Do something everyday that terrifies you..for 20 seconds
“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” — Tim Ferriss
But you don’t have to constantly be battling your fears. Actually, Darren Hardy has said that you can be a coward 99.9305556% of the time (to be exact). You only need to be courageous for 20 seconds at a time. Twenty seconds of fear is all you need. If you courageously confront fear for 20 seconds every single day, before you know it, you’ll be in a different socio-economic and social situation.
Make that call.
Ask that question.
Pitch that idea.
Post that video.
Whatever it is you feel you want to do–do it. The anticipation of the event is far more painful than the event itself. So just do it and end the inner-conflict.
In most cases, your fears are unfounded. As Seth Godin has explained, our comfort zone and our safety zone are not the same thing. It is completely safe to make an uncomfortable phone call. You are not going to die. Don’t equate the two. Recognize that most things outside your comfort zone are completely safe.
6. Give at least one guilt-free hour to relaxation per day
In our quest for success, many of us have become workaholics. However, relaxation is crucial for success. It is akin to resting between sets at the gym. Without resting, your workout will be far less than it could have been. Foolishly, people approach their lives like a workout without rest breaks. Instead, they take stimulants to keep themselves going longer and longer. But this isn’t sustainable or healthy. It’s also bad for productivity and creativity in the short and long run.
7. No more yes. It’s either HELL YEAH! or No.
Learn to say “No” to people, obligations, requests, and opportunities you’re not interested in from now on
“No more yes. It’s either HELL YEAH! or no.” — Derek Sivers
Your 20 seconds of daily courage will most consistently involve saying “no” to stuff that doesn’t really matter. But how could you possibly say “no” to certain opportunities if you don’t know what you want? You can’t. Like most people, you’ll be seduced by the best thing that comes around. Or, you’ll crumble under other people’s agendas.
But if you know what you want, you’ll have the courage and foresight to pass up even brilliant opportunities — because ultimately they are distractors from your vision. As Jim Collins said in Good to Great, “A ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ is irrelevant if it is the wrong opportunity.”
8. Replace warm showers with cold ones
Tony Robbins starts every morning by jumping into a 57-degree Fahrenheit swimming pool. Why would he do such a thing? Cold water immersion radically facilitates physical and mental wellness. When practiced regularly, it provides long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems that improve the quality of your life. It can also increase weight-loss because it boosts your metabolism.
A 2007 research study found that taking cold showers routinely can help treat depression symptoms often more effectively than prescription medications.That’s because cold water triggers a wave of mood-boosting neurochemicals which make you feel happy.
To me, it increases my willpower and boosts my creativity and inspiration.While standing with the cold water hitting my back, I practice slowing my breathing and calming down. After I’ve chilled out, I feel super happy and inspired. Lots of ideas start flowing and I become way motivated to achieve my goals.
Here’s a tip if you’re just starting out: start your shower warm, as usual. Let the warm water on your muscles allow you to stretch them out. After you’re stretched and washed, completely turn-off the warm and completely turn-on the cold. It really isn’t too bad at all. It feels incredible. Just do it for 60–90 seconds, then get out. You’ll be very pleased.
9. Remove all non-essentials from your life (start with your closet)
“You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” — Greg McKeown
Most of the possessions you own, you don’t use. Most of the clothes in your closet, you don’t wear. Get rid of them. They are sucking energy from your life. Also, they are dormant value waiting to be exchanged for dollars. Getting rid of underutilized resources is like injecting motivation and clarity into your bloodstream. While all of that untapped energy gets removed, a new wave of positive energy comes into your life. You can use that energy in more useful and productive ways.
10. Make your bed first thing in the morning
According to psychological research people who make their bed in the morning are happier and more successful than those who don’t. If that’s not enough, here’s more:
- 71 percent of bed makers consider themselves happy
- While 62 percent of non-bed-makers are unhappy
- Bed makers are also more likely to like their jobs, own a home, exercise regularly, and feel well rested
- Whereas non-bed-makers hate their jobs, rent apartments, avoid the gym, and wake up tired.
Something so simple. Yet, when you make your bed first thing in the morning, you knock-off your first accomplishment of the day. This puts you in a mindset of “winning.”
Do it! It only takes 30 seconds.
For Part 2 of this two part series I have selected 11 of Hardy’s suggestions relating to food and drink , sleep and technology.
For more on how to get mentally fit contact Mental Toughness Partners.