Sun Tzu noted that “victorious warriors win first” in the mind before going to battle.
Our society prizes physical strength while neglecting the significance of mental strength and its role in our happiness and success in our careers and in our relationships with others.
In addition to your physical health, pay attention to your mental health and strength by implementing the following practices.
Be clear on your purpose
What is your “why”? What gets you up in the morning and motivates you? To be mentally healthy it is crucial to have a strong and clear sense of what you bring to the world and how you can use your strengths and skills to make the world a better place. This will give you focus as you consider career options and enables you to keep your purpose in mind when going through the inevitable difficult times.
Train your thoughts
We all have negative thoughts and it’s impossible to completely banish them but mentally strong people have developed strategies for dealing with them when encountered. These strategies can include a daily meditation practice, time spent in prayer, or the repetition of an affirming mantra. Training your thoughts also means to “win first” by visualizing events, such as that big speech or presentation at work, and working through a positive outcome in your mind , anticipating challenges and meeting them successfully.
Step into discomfort and tackle difficult tasks
Hug the monster. Embrace hard and scary things. Volunteer to lead the project or agree to give that speech. Make the phone call that makes you nervous. Start your morning with a cold shower. Walk instead of driving. Try something new and make mistakes.
Take full responsibility
This can be difficult and is an underappreciated aspect of mental strength. However, mentally strong people do not blame others for their failures or struggles. They take ownership of their lives and use failure as a motivation to learn more and work harder and smarter.
Surround yourself with mentally strong people
To develop mental strength, you need mentally strong people in your life. This might not be the people who are physically present in your life on a daily basis. You might need to seek out a mentor or advisor to meet with regularly, or find podcasts or audio books by wise men and women. Of course, read books and essays that build your mental strength. There are many creative ways to discover and surround ourselves with the counsel of a mentally strong community.
Implement these five practices to build mental strength and you will begin to see positive changes in your life and career.
Previously published on STAND Magazine
Photo: Getty Images