The world we live in isn’t an ideal place, nor is it always fair. There are always unexpected setbacks and many challenges on the way to our goals.
On some reflection you may notice that, its these challenges that add some spice to life. The most memorable achievements are often the most challenging ones, and it makes our life story so much more interesting.
You guys must know that initially Superman didn’t have any weaknesses, and that omnipotence didn’t leave room for any good plot. Only after the concept of kryptonite and the fact that superman was increasingly developing human like thinking did the story become more interesting.
As Vishen Lakhiani points out, there are two universal ways to move forward and upward in life, one is through pain and the other is through practicing self-development. The transformation that happens through pain is often faster and deeper, where as the alternative is less painful and a little slow.
I love sports and working out, six month into my gym practice, I had developed a chronic knee pain, it was difficult to even walk, and in college we had to walk everywhere, that too uphill. The doctors didn’t know what the problem was, and both my family and friends asked me to just quit the gym.
I knew that was no solution, and that would just pull me two steps behind in my personal development, so I kept persisting, hoping to find a solution along the way. I started doing yoga centered around my knee, and wearing knee caps to assist me in the gym, but I didn’t quit.
After about 5-6 months, I found out that there was a slight variation that was needed in my manner of walking and orientation of knees while working out, I found that in an online video (by MoveU). That helped me a lot, my knee pain was reduced drastically, and I could continue working out along with some regular yoga.
North winds made the Vikings
There are a lot of people who have not only faced challenges and difficult times, but have used them to propel them forward in life. People like David Goggins (US Navy Seal), Mel Robbins, Tom Bilyeu, Gary Vaynerchuck, often emphasize the importance of getting tough.
There is a famous quote that reflects this ideology, “North winds made the Vikings“.
In order to survive the brutal cold and fierceness of the winds and the weather, the Scandinavian people had to get stronger or perish, the ones who survived became tougher than before, which is the recipe to becoming a viking.
Think about instances in your life where you find the above statement to be true for you. And share them below if you would like to.
Rise to the level of the challenge
Humans are highly adaptive machines and our bodies and minds develop functions and strength around what we usually subject them to. Mental toughness, like Physical toughness needs frequent repetition and an increase of load over time. Its a lot like working out and developing a muscle.
A few months back, I felt too cold sitting under a fan that I could not tolerate it, sometimes even during summers. I came across a deep breathing technique called Wim Hof breathing, intoduced by Wim Hof(the Ice man) who also suggested that we do frequent cold showers to get used to the cold and fight off the inflammation in the body which is often built due to our life style choices and chronic stress leading to an unnecessary increase in cortisol. I decided to follow his advice.
Taking cold showers regularly has been great so far, it helps me calm my mind under stress and reduces the influence of stress in my life. It feels challenging, hence great after every such session. It also helps us to be mentally ready for any flight or fight situation and not panic or become anxious in any such cases.
The mind body connection is immense and the tools used to make the body tough will also toughen the mind. Both mental and physical toughness revolve around doing hard things and having the discipline to do so regularly.
Some of the many things that we can do to toughen our minds:
Exercise regularly (Gym, Swimming, or some form of sports): This is one of the best forms of disciplined practice to get stronger both physically and mentally.
Take frequent Cold Showers: This is not easy and after some practice I still find it challenging, but going through with it feels amazing.
Learn to meditate: Meditation enables us to reconnect with ourselves and not be too dependent on external stimuli to feel good about where we are, we develop a mental ease even in front of challenges and stressful times.
Do things outside your comfort zone: This is a great way to hone our creativity as well as to become familiar with the act of facing the unknown and making the uncomfortable, comfortable. Eg: Public Speaking, Practicing a new instrument, learning new skills, or traveling around the world.
Help others: To be able to help others, we have to rise above our own set of problems and issues, so the act of helping others makes us see our own issues from a distance, this may seem like a selfish perspective on helping others, and maybe it is. But if helping others benefits everyone (win-win), why not?
Deliberately face your fears: Acknowledging and facing our fears is no easy feat, but overcoming them is an empowering journey of its own.
16Hrs or 24Hrs Fast: If we don’t have food with us when we are anxious or while binging Friends, we often tend to get restless or even hangry. We need to be able to be okay with feeling a little hungry, and practicing voluntary fasts helps us get power over our hunger and as a result over our minds.
What are some other ways you practice getting tough in your own life?
I would like to know some tips and learn some techniques from you as well.
Lets leverage every experience to learn and grow, especially the painful and difficult ones, as they teach us a lot about our bodies and minds and can often turn into a spiritual journey, enabling us to get stronger than before.
A Student of life.
PS: If this post resonated with you, let me know in the comments, also share if you think it will be useful to others. Thank you, and have a great day.
All the images in this post are a courtesy of Pexels.com