Hugo Toovey has faced some tough life challenges, and he has done so like a mental athlete. He shares his perspective.
Whether you are a billionaire, famous actor or the local barber, everyone will go through adversities in life. It is inevitable.
Everyone will handle adversities differently. There is no textbook solution. Everyone in this world is unique, and no one person is wired in exactly the same way. What may seem as insignificant to one person may be hugely distressing to another. I am no psychiatrist; I am no mental health professional; and I am certainly no religious prophet.
However, I have fought testicular cancer, lost one of my testicles, spent months in hospital enduring chemotherapy, had an invasive operation to remove all of my abdominal lymph nodes, burst my appendix, live with the incurable Chrons disease, and most significantly to me, carried my best friend’s casket out of a military chapel after he lost his battle with depression.
It has been through these life events where I have learnt to continually train my mind on how to overcome adversities, and how to change my perspective for the better.
When you are going through an adversity in your life, you may feel as though it will never end. At the time, you certainly won’t be thinking that any good will come from it. It isn’t easy to just turn on the ‘positivity switch’. Subconsciously, you will surround yourself with negative thoughts. However, this will only have one outcome…exacerbate the problem.
So if most of us know this, then why do we still react in the way we do?
Well there is no clear-cut answer or overnight solution. More often than not, it is just instinctive. Before you even have time to process it, your mind has already made a decision. It just happens.
However, what I eventually realized (and this was no overnight epiphany) is that the mind needs to be trained, no different to how men train their body. Most men go to the gym to get that sought after 6-pack or toned physique, but this takes time. It takes commitment. It doesn’t just happen overnight. This is how you should view your mind. The vast majority of men are continually worried about the physical appearance of their body, yet they seem to neglect their mind. You have to train your mind in order to change your perspective. You have to train your mind to be more positive. You have to train your mind to be able to overcome adversities.
Below are 5 ways in which I am continually training my mind. You may find that none of these help you, and that’s fine. There is no right or wrong way to go about this. It may take some practice before you really discover what works for you. But I can assure you, if you put in the effort to train the mind; soon enough (even if you can’t physically see it) there will be improvement.
Next time you are faced with an adversity, just start the day off by having one positive thought… however small this may be. Be grateful for all that is positive in your life. Surround yourself with positive people. It all sounds simple enough, but you would be surprised how hard it is to do. Your negative thoughts always seems to outweigh your positive ones… but only if you allow them.
When you are faced with an adversity, just accept it for what it is. Accept that whether you like it or not, it has already occurred. The sooner you realise this, the sooner you will move on, and the sooner your mind will be at ease. Learn from it, and use it to strengthen you as a person.
- Knowing that you will overcome it
Just remember, you have faced adversities before. They have made you who you are today. You have already survived some of your worst days. Life isn’t meant to be easy. Adversities make life interesting, so be reassured that you will be a better person for overcoming them. Look at your mind in the same way you look at your body, the more you train, the better the end results will be.
- Absorbing different opinions
I understand that reading books isn’t for everyone. In fact, if I am being entirely honest, I have probably only ever read a handful of books in my life. However, I have recently been listening to audio books to and from work. There are some extremely intelligent, motivational, and intriguing people out there, with some very good advice. Even if you only absorb 1 thing from someone else’s opinion, it is better than nothing.
- Talk about it
One of the most effective ways in which I find helps me to overcome an adversity, is simply by talking about it. Without even knowing it, this in itself trains your mind. The more you talk about something, the more likely you will find solutions to the problem. One of the worst things you can do is to keep something that is affecting you bottled up. Whether you talk to a loved one, a friend, or even seek professional help, talking about an adversity or struggle in your life is often the hardest part.
Everything begins and ends in your mind.
The mind can be so destructive. The mind can be so powerful. But most importantly, the mind can be trained.
If you, or someone you know is experiencing personal problems… call Lifeline on 131 114 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636.
Follow Hugo on instagram @hugotoovey