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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

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        Last Updated on January 15, 2019

        What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

        What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

        When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

        Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

        It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

        While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

        Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

        What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

        How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

        It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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        People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

        “A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

        In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

        Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

        As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

        When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

        It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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        What are Interpersonal Skills?

        Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

        In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

        From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

        For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

        Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

        How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

        There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

        There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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        Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

        I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

        Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

        “That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

        Don’t overlook introspection.

        While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

        Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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        When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

        Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

        “Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

        The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

        The Bottom Line

        You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

        Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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