I got on the train to the city one day last week in time to hear two schoolboys, probably 16-17 years old, earnestly discussing an issue one of them was having with a fellow student. I wasn’t really listening but when one of them summarised his situation as “no worries, I’m tough mate – I’ve got resolve”, I tuned in, because resolve is one of my favourite mental toughness words.
‘Resolve’ sums up for me the mindset that you need to be mentally tough.
His friend asked “What’s resolve?” and the answer came back “it means I’m strong and I’m committed to this” (whatever his particular issue or cause was).
I nodded sagely and silently to myself because I liked his choice of words and it indicated a degree of self-awareness and self esteem. He had a position, knew what it was and where the boundaries lay. He was also committed to defending that position which is where his resolve kicked in.
One of the challenges of not clearly understanding where your boundaries lie is that you have to manage situations on a case-by-case basis, which can create confusion and inconsistency for you and the people around you. Without boundaries it’s often difficult to have the resolve and remain in control. Emotion often takes over and the situation can spiral out of control with you either reacting publicly or suffering silently. Other people will push you as far as they can and will look for signals, such as resolve or uncontrolled emotion to test your boundaries. If you are emotional you may get your way this time but if it becomes your default behaviour you will quickly lose respect.
Similarly, if you don’t have boundaries you are more likely to feel emotionally bruised if a situation goes against you because you haven’t rationalised the situation – its emotional not objective. However, if you have a steely resolve you will know your boundaries have been crossed and you will think rationally about how to change the situation. Similarly if you outwardly display resolve people are more likely to respect you and your position.
I don’t know what happened with this young man and his resolve as he got off at the next stop. He may have been able to stand his ground and objectively achieve what he wanted from the situation or he may have had to consciously compromise but either way he would have hopefully retained control and respect for himself and from others rather than let his emotion get in the way.
The moral of this story is to know what your position is, what your boundaries are and be prepared and committed to rigorously defend your position where required. This clarity helps you with your decision-making and helps others to understand your position and hopefully respect and accommodate that. This self assessment of your boundaries and self management around your resolve and sense of control is a big part of the Control scale of the MTQ48 4C’s measure of Mental Toughness.
There are many good words and ways to describe the feeling of ‘resolve’ and to be ‘resolute’:
- Single -Minded
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