When I was young and refusing to pay attention to life’s lessons, I walked around sad and depressed over the things I could not change. I remember Momma’s voice as she would quietly say to me, “Boy, you gotta be strong to get through a problem.” I would ponder through her words of wisdom and then slowly return to what I knew best and that was to feel sad and depressed over something I could not control.
It wasn’t long after I started to have these feelings that a singer named Jerry Butler had a hit song “Only the Strong Survive.” That song touched the core of my soul as I spent many hours listening to the lyrics. The more I sang, the stronger I felt inside dealing with my personal challenges.
I learned a lot listening to my mother’s folk wisdom and carrying Jerry Butler’s tune in my head. Both taught me about mental toughness and how to get through troubled times. The phrase “mental toughness” I thought was reserved for the military’s special forces. I was wrong. Mental toughness can be used in every day personal challenges such as the loss of a loved one, anger management, diets, relationships and business.
Mental toughness does not mean you are a superhuman. It simply points to the fact that you have chosen to stick to a plan of action no matter how tough the road gets. You do not allow self-defeating thoughts to permeate your mind. Instead, you control distracting thought and stay strong. You trust in yourself you have made the right decision under pressure and are prepared to move ahead. Giving up is not an option.
By controlling negative thoughts, you deal with the pressure at hand. You overcome the opposition suddenly or one step at a time. If failure is upon you, it makes you try harder to succeed. You hold on even when you want to let go and quit. Finishing is more important than giving up. Finally, you complete your task. This is what we do when times get tough.
What do you do when times get tough? How do you move ahead? What strategy do you use when unexpected storms challenge you? Tell me – how are you strong?
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