WOW Mental Toughness (2 of 2)
Muhammad Ali said, “In the big leagues everyone has ability. It always comes down to mind games. Who ever is more mentally strong—wins.”
Life is the “big leagues.”
And that quote is true about life and success.
Everyone has the ABILITY to succeed, but in the end it all comes down to mind games.
Whoever is more mentally strong will win, succeed, and live the life they were meant to live.
To conclude our WOW Mental Toughness series, I want to be sure you walk away with a real understanding of what it is to be mentally strong, with tangible takeaways on exactly HOW you can toughen your mind.
Here’s the deal.
I have bad news and then good news.
Here’s the bad news…
You are mentally WEAK.
We all are.
As humans our minds are weak.
It’s our greatest limiting factor.
It’s our greatest constraint.
It’s the thing that sabotages you the most.
The epic battle of your life will be defeating the natural will of your own mind.
Your body can do WAY more than your mind allows it to do and your potential is FAR greater than your mind wants you to stretch and go for.
If you don’t have the body, strength, life or success you want, it is your mind’s fault.
This might be surprising to you.
You might be thinking,
“Why would my mind do this to me?
Why is it sabotaging me?
Why is it holding me back?”
Well to answer that we have to look at the agenda and self-interest of the mind.
The mind, your brain, has only ONE agenda, which is survival—at all cost.
Survival is its only job, and it takes it very seriously.
But outside that, it has no interest.
And it will work against whatever you are trying to do if it is a threat to its safety or survival.
If you are running, biking up a hill or climbing a mountain, it will tell you to stop and that you can’t go any further or any longer, far before your body’s true limit.
The interesting thing is that in survival mode your brain can get you to finally tap that true capability inside.
The woman who complains to her trainer that the 20-pound dumbbells are too heavy sees her son about to get crushed by a car that has fallen off it’s jack with her son under it, and she lifts it with her bare hands off it’s wheels long enough for the neighbors to come over and pull him out.
The guy who is squeamish about cutting the Thanksgiving turkey gets his arm stuck in a rock formation, and will saw off his arm with a blunt tool to survive.
Even if you get stranded in the cold and hyperthermia starts to set in, your brain will start killing off parts of your body, starting at the extremities to protect the core, all in the attempt to survive.
At the survival game, your mind is awesome.
Outside of survival—your brain is weak, or better stated, simply uninterested and will squash anything that starts to feel like a threat to it’s one and only job function—survival.
Now the good news…
The good news is you can train your mind.
Or better yet, you can hack, trick, manipulate and police your mind into subservience.
In a Mastery course I teach I outline 6 very strategic ways to hack your brain. We don’t have time to cover all of them or in depth but I do want you to walk away with a few things to do and take action on.
The epic battle of your life will be defeating the
natural will of your own mind.
First, pick your weakness or your issue.
The one you want to become mentally tougher in.
Is it your health, is it in your sales prospecting, is it in how you spend your money, what? Pick your thing. Write it down.
Then the first hack is to scare your brain straight.
Look, you can set all sorts of aspirational goals, hopes, dreams and desires. Those are a snore to your brain. “Who cares” it says. Blah, blah, blah it responds.
But threaten it.
Show it danger.
Spell out dire consequences and you have its full attention and it’s full potential.
This is why I always look for my fight.
It fires up my brain and then it sounds the alarm that rallies all my potential, capabilities and resources to attack this threat.
So start with spelling out the consequences if you don’t change this behavior or habit. Take it out to it’s most dire and terrible consequence and outcome.
You’ll get its attention, and thus powerful potential.
Trust me in that your mind can do some amazing things when it wants to, and it only wants to when its job is threatened and attacked.
Second, I mentioned your mind is emotionally immature.
It is so easily tempted.
It is so easily manipulated.
This is why blatantly false, manipulative and absurdly fantastical commercials and marketing gimmickry works.
The mind is as emotionally mature as a 6-year-old.
Whatever you can get a 6-year-old to believe, do, and buy into is what commercial marketing can convince your mind of.
There is absolutely no logic to why we consume things like donuts, cupcakes, cookies, fast food, alcohol and tobacco. Those are all emotional, not logical, choices.
Mental toughness is about emotional control. Once you learn to manipulate or control your emotions, then you can control your life and choices.
Whoever is more mentally strong will win, succeed,
and live the life they were meant to live.
So here is how you do it:
Stop fighting it.
You wouldn’t trust your 6-year-old to make important life choices. You shouldn’t trust your mind either. You have to keep those decisions away from your mind.
Here’s some other bad news/good news.
Your mind is also lazy. That’s the bad news.
The good news is you can leverage that laziness.
You can use it AGAINST your mind.
Make it hard, difficult and inconvenient for your mind to do the bad behavior. If bad diet is your thing, remove everything bad out of all your main environments—your house, car, office, wherever you are most of the time and particularly when you get hungry.
Remember Odysseus from Homer’s Odyssey? He knew he’d fail to resist the sirens’ call, so he tied himself to his ship’s mast. You too will fail to resist the sirens’ call.
REMOVE THE SIRENS.
Then third is to assign a parole officer to keep your mind in check.
You have to police your mind, constantly.
This is done through tracking and using tools of measurement. This is why I made such a big deal of tracking in The Compound Effect.
Bottom line is you can get your mind to do most anything through temporary brute force. But when you get distracted it will start to drift all the way back to it’s comfortable previous patterns. You have to constantly yank its attention back and smack it around if it doesn’t stay its course.
So take your one thing, the one area you want to become mentally stronger in, and
1) Threaten it into attention,
2) Remove all its temptation to do the wrong thing, and
3) Continually measure, monitor and track its progress like a parole officer.
You can use a small note pad, the Weekly Rhythm Register inside the Living Your Best Year Ever Program, a stopwatch, a calendar where you track success days with big red Xs, whatever. Doesn’t matter what it is as long as you track your results every day.
I am counting on you to do this.
Just one thing.
Pick it and follow the three steps.
I’d love to hear how it goes.
And to hold yourself accountable, share with us what that one thing is in the comments below and your plan to hack your brain.