Would you consider yourself mentally tough? In other words, are you able to push forward despite setbacks, disappointments and mistakes? I believe the potential is within us to strengthen our mental resolve and develop a mindset that allows us to take positive steps forward, especially when the going gets tough.
When the tragedy of 911 occurred in this nation, the US Military needed to train additional Navy SEALS, but they had one problem. Although many recruits began the grueling program, only a small percentage actually made it all the way through, as many quit before completion. Of course the Navy did not want to change the challenging standards to become a SEAL, so they explored what they needed to do to help more recruits complete the strenuous program.
They began to examine the common denominators of those who have grit – the quality to be able push through obstacles even when they felt like giving up. One of the basic factors they found was mental toughness and positive self-talk. Telling yourself, I can do this, rather than thinking, I’m not cut out for this, is one of the keys to getting through the most demanding circumstances. As the Navy began to apply this research, equipping their recruits with mental tools to help them rise up to their obstacles, their passing rates increased by ten percent.*
Negative and defeating thoughts can easily pop into our minds, especially when things don’t go as planned. One way we can turn our self-talk in a positive direction is to memorize certain phrases to repeat to ourselves, especially when we feel like throwing in the towel and quitting.
As a successful businessman, my dad kept a 3 by 5 card in his pocket to pull out at times when he needed an encouraging reminder. Here’s what was written on his card:
- I can do this!
- If it is to be, it is up to me.
- Every day in every way, I am getting better and better.
- God is the strength of my life.
- The harder I work, the better I get.
Whether you choose a famous quote, a scripture or an encouraging phrase, fill your mind with what is true, noble and admirable. We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can choose our focus. Know what is important to you and where you want to go in life. Remember you are not alone. Be willing to invest the time, strength and mental grit to overcome obstacles and reach toward your dreams.
Check out Karol’s book, Positive Leadership Principles for Women for more inspiration and encouragement.
*Eric Barker, Barking Up the Wrong Tree (New York, NY: Harper One, 2017) p. 63.