“If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything” is a famous quote in history with recent variations from such notable people as Malcolm X and Oprah Winfrey.
The quote also represents an integral part of developing your mental toughness.
Often when you are feeling mentally weaker it is because of the absence of a framework to protect you from everything the world throws at you.
When you are too flexible and easygoing and are operating without clear principles or values to stand up and fight for, you don’t have any consistent, mental boundaries to defend and protect. This can easily make you feel powerless and reactive, weak and directionless. You can more easily be bullied and pushed around and certainly you will second guess and doubt yourself. In this situation your powerful negative inner voice can easily take over and hijack your thoughts and actions.
Since how we think and feel affects the way we act we often then avoid making decisions or completing on goals
In contrast establishing some clear principles or values you believe in helps build a mental framework that you feel compelled to protect.
An example of a principle may be to not stand for any bullying or discrimination that you see or experience. Alternatively you could have values such as hard work, integrity and kindness that shape the way you live your life.
An interesting side effect of standing up for something will be that you are less reactive and you feel more authentic, less vulnerable and so better able to manage your emotions.
Taking a stand is selective and doesn’t mean that you become combative or assertive about everything – just those issues you feel are right or important.
It is also not about what other people want or like, but you taking control about what you want or like which helps you to build your own self-identity. Whilst you will be tested and have to prove yourself you will build your own self-belief and credibility in the eyes of others.
To build your mental framework identify three values or principles that you are willing to expend energy and time on and potentially make sacrifices for. As per above these could be for example hard work, integrity, and kindness. Then ensure that over the next month you learn to stand up for those things. During the month evaluate what happens and whether it provides the mental strength you require. Then adjust your plan as required.
If all goes to plan by standing for something you won’t fall for just anything.