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10 Things You Can Do To Increase Your Mental Power

10 Things You Can Do To Increase Your Mental Power

So you want to be mentally tough like the Spartan Warriors from the movie 300?

Yes, the legend of the Spartan Warriors is a prime example of being persevering despite the obstacles. Having their mental strength is a trait few have obtained through years of practice and pushing through boundaries.

Chances are, you won’t be a Spartan Warrior anytime soon. But if you want to think and increase your mental power like one, here are 10 things you can do to get started.

1. Have A Positive Mindset

When the going gets tough, the tough get going (think 80’s star Billy Ocean).

Difficult times are a chance to find out what we are truly made of. To start developing strong mental power, write down your goals and what you set to accomplish. Focus on obtaining these goals and believe they can be achieved. Having a positive mindset will give you the confidence needed to overcome any challenges you may face and get what you want in life.

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2. Focus on What You Can Do, Not What Others Can Do.

There will be people in life who will do whatever they can to hold you back. They are envious of you and want what you have. If you spend your time on what they say or do, it takes away your focus on achieving your goals. That’s what they want. Ignore their opinions and stay on track by being present. Observe what is happening right now. The past is the past and the future is unknown. By staying present, you can focus on yourself and whats important now.

3. Develop Short Term Memory Loss

So there is no mind eraser tool from Men In Black that can magically erase every defeat we have suffered.

    Practicing short term memory loss though is beneficial to better mental power. In football, a great defensive player has to develop a case of “amnesia.” Players often get beat by their opponents and in order to play at a high level, they must shake off defeat and move on to the next play. This takes practice but can be a huge advantage for you. When you get beat, forget about it. Pick yourself up, dust off and move on to the next play. There is always another play.

    4. Sit in Silence

    In today’s world, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with work and life. When feeling overwhelmed, a great sign of strong mental power is the ability to tune out the noise and sit in silence. It will help you view things differently with less emotion and ego. Create a space where you can sit in silence for 5 minutes a day. Turn off the electronics, sit comfortably, and focus on your breathing. You will find yourself feeling calm and relaxed during the session. As you continue to practice, work up to 30 minutes a day as you will gain more clarity and insight into your life.

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    Read more about the additional benefits of sitting in silence.

    5. Practice Patience

    They say patience is a virtue and boy it sure is. Today, we are so used to having things right now that we forget what it means to have patience and let things develop. So if you are in the middle of a project, in the beginning of dating someone, or starting a new workout program, trust the process. It’ll make it worthwhile because all good things come to those who wait.

    6. Learn from Failures

    We tend to see failure as the worst thing possible. But those with strong mental power see failure as a learning experience. Failure brings clarity to situations. We learn the most when we are not successful. If you have experienced failure, think about what you would have done differently and apply it to the next project.

    If nothing else, everybody loves somebody who can do the worm.

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      7. Visualize the Win

      Successful people with strong mental power are always looking to improve. They see failures as temporary setbacks, not career ending events. It starts with visualizing success. Imagine whatever you are doing whether its presenting a powerpoint deck or writing a novel and see that it will be successful. Envision giving a killer presentation or the book you wrote will be a best seller. It will boost your confidence and help you strive to achieve anything and everything you want in life.

      8. Always Strive to Finish

      We all have been here. We are at the gym and set the treadmill for 30 minutes but we end up jumping off halfway through because we don’t feel like finishing. We think completing half a workout is better than not doing anything at all.

      Yes, it’s better to do something than nothing at all but if you want to increase mental power, you can not stop halfway through. It may not seem like a big deal but if you are finishing half way through a workout, what else are you stopping short of in other areas of your life? Next time you are headed to the gym or to work, set a goal that is obtainable. Jump on the treadmill and no matter how tired you are, finish the 30 minute session. A trademark of mentally strong people is that they never quit and finish no matter what. Always strive to finish.

      9. Do Something Outside of Your Comfort Zone

      We all have that one friend who is always looking for the next adventure. They suggest skydiving over the coastline, quitting your job to go backpacking in South America, or anything that brings on a rush.

      And usually, we respond with this:

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        I don’t blame you for saying no but think about how many times you have said no to something new. While you don’t have to do something crazy like jumping out of a plane, its great for your personal growth to do something that makes you uncomfortable. A big part of increasing your mental power is pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Living comfortably can keep you from progressing as an individual and living the life you want to live.

        So the next time your friend suggest a new adventure, say yes instead of no. You never know what may happen or who you will meet.

        10. Enjoy the Ride

        It is not about the destination but the journey. All things come to an end. What we will remember most are the hours we put into a new business idea, the time spent with friends that created memories and the struggles faced that have us sitting on top of the world.

        Enjoy the ride folks. You only get to do it once.

        Featured photo credit: Be Strong Like A Spartan Warrior via i.kinja-img.com

        More by this author

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        Last Updated on October 22, 2020

        8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

        8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

        How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

        Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

        When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

        Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

        What Makes People Poor Listeners?

        Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

        1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

        Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

        Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

        It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

        2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

        This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

        Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

        3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

        It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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        I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

        If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

        4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

        While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

        To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

        My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

        Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

        Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

        How To Be a Better Listener

        For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

        1. Pay Attention

        A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

        According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

        As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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        I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

        2. Use Positive Body Language

        You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

        A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

        People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

        But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

        According to Alan Gurney,[2]

        “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

        Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

        3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

        I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

        Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

        Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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        Be polite and wait your turn!

        4. Ask Questions

        Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

        5. Just Listen

        This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

        I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

        I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

        6. Remember and Follow Up

        Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

        For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

        According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

        It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

        7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

        If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

        Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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        Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

        Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

        NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

        1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
        2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

        8. Maintain Eye Contact

        When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

        Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

        By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

        Final Thoughts

        Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

        You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

        And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

        More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

        Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
        [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
        [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
        [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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