I have had different conversations with two close friends in the past few weeks. Both had experienced a series of personal and work related setbacks of a roughly similar magnitude. I could personally relate to both situations and also personally relate to their respective reactions.
One had reflected positively and taken the opportunity to rise above the detail and white noise of the experience, learn from it what he could and look to the future. Whilst it was an intensely personal affront he was philosophical. A few days afterwards he had already started to move on. His mindset was positive and he had been resilient enough to bounce back.
In stark contrast my other friend was stuck in the detail and emotion of the circumstances, as if he was trapped in quicksand. It had been over a week but he couldn’t and wouldn’t move on. He was lost and his mindset was negative and self-defeating. He had no drive or energy and couldn’t focus on anything but his malaise and misfortune. He wasn’t at all resilient.
As a friend does I willingly listened, empathised and suggested a few things to try. We went to watch a game of footy at the weekend and talked, he started to gain some perspective and resolve to move on. But, slowly.
These were two similar situations but two very different reactions.
Everyday has challenges and setbacks but whether it finishes a good day or a poor day depends on the way we view them and respond to them. If we give in to our own negativity then our problems get bigger and our world gets smaller. Alternatively if we can stay strong, determined and positive in the face of adversity and focus on moving on and making new things happen then our world becomes larger.
Being mentally tough will get you through the day and enable you to bounce back quickly from setbacks and failures but also move on quickly and spot and seize new opportunities.
This is the “survive and thrive” definition of mental toughness.
It takes resolve, a strong inner voice, a longer-term perspective and a calmer more detached approach to the daily ups and downs. But, it is why you need to be mentally tough today.
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