Advertising
Advertising

If You Can Stay Calm Even in Hard Times, You Will Be Successful

If You Can Stay Calm Even in Hard Times, You Will Be Successful

Breathe in for a count of 5… breathe out for a count of 5… and breathe in… breathe out… Feeling calmer? You probably do feel calmer. Now tell me. Why don’t you do this when things are tough? Do you forget to do this when you feel the world is falling apart?

What is it that you need to do to take back control?

“When adversity strikes, that’s when you have to be the most calm. Take a step back, stay strong, stay grounded and press on.” – LL Cool J.

I believe we all have the strength to overcome any situation we find ourselves in. Research tells us there is a strong relationship between a calm mind and being successful. The result of what we do in that difficult moment makes the difference between success and no success. Below you will learn exactly what to do to stay calm. Some strategies will sound strange, others make obvious sense and just need to be implemented.

1. Stop Whining, Move Forward!

“The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.” –
Barack Obama

An excellent way to stay calm and to get back control over the situation is to simply stop whining. Sound a little harsh? I’m sorry. But in your heart you know this works. When you continue to whine, you will not look at what happens. You will only be busy with the way you feel. This is not helping you move forward!

2. Stop Talking To Others

“The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.” – Oscar Wilde

The moment you face hard times, you will probably receive a million thoughts, ideas and solutions from other people. They share them because you ask for them, or simply because they want to help you. But stop and have a really honest look inside. You know exactly why you are in this situation. Do what you feel it is you need to do next. It is probably the best advice you will use.

Advertising

3. Stop Thinking About What Happens And What Else Will Go Wrong

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.” – Zig Ziglar

This doom-filled thinking is not really helpful. Better to know what happened and understand your current situation. Then, start plotting your way towards your solution. As Will Smith said: “There’s no reason to have a plan B because it distracts from plan A.” Use all your energy to move away from the problem using one strategy at a time.

4. Stop Eating, Start Drinking

“Drinking water is like washing out your insides. The water will cleanse the system, fill you up, decrease your caloric load and improve the function of all your tissues.” – Kevin R. Stone

Yes, you read this correctly. No need to eat a little more (you don’t need comfort, you need to think straight). You need water, and lots of it! No coffee and no beer or any other alcohol. You need to flush your system. Drink slowly. Drink warm water… Slowly… Feel how the warm water goes into your system. Then start working again.

Continue to keep your brain and body hydrated. Doing that helps you think better. Aren’t we made of 60% water? Refresh!

5. Stop Doing What You Do

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

If you continue to go on the path you chose, you will only make things worse. The moment you find yourself in a difficult situation, you need to STOP and identify what is happening. The moment you do that, you can plot better actions. This will improve your situation. Always be aware of this. You need to be conscious of the things you do and what their results are.

6. Stop And Listen To Chuck Norris

“A lot of times people look at the negative side of what they feel they can’t do. I always look on the positive side of what I can do.” – Chuck Norris

Advertising

I told you that you should not listen to anyone and follow your own path, right? Perhaps this is the only exception to that rule. Chuck Norris is not just a really cool person. He also has many ideas about solving problems.

7. Stop Thinking, Start Feeling

“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.” – Oprah Winfrey

I know that the moment you face problems, your emotions are running wild, right? What to do, what happens next, will I survive… Many thoughts and ideas are running through your mind.

What if you stop feeling stressed or scared? What if you start feeling blessed for this learning opportunity? What if you feel strong and inventive? What if you felt you have all the answers to resolve this? Would that change things?

Start feeling with ALL your emotions!

8. Stop Moving Forward

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

Huh… didn’t you just read that you have to move forward? You most certainly did! How does this tip help you then? Well… you have to stop identifying forward with the direction you were heading. Start thinking about forward as a way to move in the direction of a solution. Perhaps forward is sideways, or even backwards! Change your perspective and start moving again.

9. Stop Learning, Start Doing

“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” – George Herbert

Advertising

Some people want to know exactly what to do to get out of their difficult situation. They want A to Z, all the steps. Knowing what to do from the beginning till the end. Mastering those steps is great. But it won’t bring you in the place you want to be. You need to take ACTION! Do something. Do ONE thing. Think first, than act. Most people remain in a state of pain and thinking. They are afraid to take action. You know this now, so act on it!

10. STOP

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” – Orson Welles

Stop doing anything and everything. Remember the breathing from the beginning? Do that. Learn to breath slowly, consciously. Stop doing what you do. Stop doing anything but breathing. After you did that for 10, 20, 30 seconds… you start doing something. Getting to a calm state of mind is not something you do by running around and by having negative feelings. Calm = Stop. Stop is the beginning of your new start. Calm can only starts when you are in control of your state. It is exactly that calm start of mind that will transform your difficult situation in a success.

11. START

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

Practice being calm. Start your days with it. Remind yourself to remain calm during the day. Calm is a great place to start moving forward, left, right or even back. Start is however the thing you have to do to move from difficult to calm to progress.

There you go. 11 practical ideas to create calmness in your life. Some are really focused on becoming calm again. Others can be used to move away from the difficult situation at hand and focus your mind.

A calm mind is a mind which is in control.  A stressed mind takes control over you. A calm mind is there to serve you.

ACTION POINTS:

Now for the most important part. How can you use this today to improve your calmness no matter what the circumstances.

Advertising

Learn to stay conscious of what you think, do and feel. This is hard in the beginning. Still, you have to remind yourself about this. The easiest way is to add little reminders around you in your environment. Sticky notes on your computer, reminders on your phone. Looking at your children or your co-workers. Associating items in the office to look at how you feel. When you do that, you will become more aware of what you do and how you feel.

Then the main point. You will run into situations where calmness might not feel like your first priority. Needless to say, and you obviously know this already… these are exactly the situations where you need to stay calm. How you act that moment has a huge impact on whether or not you will be or feel successful.

Pick one idea, or perhaps two ideas from the list above. Use them as your backup strategy to create calmness in your life again.

And if nothing else works…

Breathe in… breathe out… breathe in… breathe out…

Featured photo credit: http://pixabay.com via pixabay.com

More by this author

If You Can Stay Calm Even in Hard Times, You Will Be Successful Take Control Back Over Your Smartphone 5 Lessons From Successful People: Simple Changes Create Amazing Results How to Teach Your Children Mind-Mapping Saving 2 Hours Per Work Day is Easy!

Trending in Productivity

1 5 Key Traits of a Charismatic Leadership 2 How to Overcome Your Resistance to Change for a Better Self 3 How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong 4 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life 5 How to Delegate Tasks Effectively (Step-By-Step Guide)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 2, 2019

How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

Are you the kind of person who wants to achieve massive success in your life? Do you have the mental toughness to make that happen?

I think we can all agree that no matter your ambitions, achieving success can be difficult; and over time, the daily grind can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional energy.

Achievers and high performers from all walks of life face ups and downs along the path to success—they face failure, burnout, discouragement, fatigue, self-limiting beliefs, stress, and so much more.

How do some people continually strive towards their personal goals year after year while others give up on them? How do those people stay strong and persevere when there is so much stacked against them?

Studies now show that mental strength is a critical key to success. If you haven’t read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, you should. In it, she shows that “the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls ‘grit.’” In other words, mental toughness plays a significant role when it comes to achieving goals.

Sometimes, our goals wear us down and leave us feeling exhausted. Other times, our goals get difficult, and success seems impossible, so we lose hope, become discouraged, and want to quit.

At its core, mental toughness is simply the ability to stick to something when the going gets tough. People with high levels of mental toughness can push beyond these obstacles and forge a path towards success while those with lower levels of mental toughness may abandon their dreams.

Want to know the good news?

No matter who you are, what you’ve been told, or what you currently believe, you can develop the mental toughness you need to be successful.

All you need to do is learn to develop a positive mindset, focus on your why, and utilize the people around you for support.

1. Develop a Positive Mindset

If you’re going to increase your mental toughness, the first thing you have to do is focus on building a strong, positive mindset.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% of those thoughts repeat each day and, on average, 80% of repeated ideas are negative.[1]

That’s roughly 45,600 negative thoughts per day!

Carrying around these negative thoughts is like going on a hike in the mountains with a backpack full of rocks. The hike is hard enough on its own, but having extra junk weighing you down is a recipe for failure.

Sometimes, building mental toughness isn’t as much about building new strength as it is about saving your strength for the right tasks. Wouldn’t it be easier to dump the rocks out of the backpack instead of trying to get strong enough to carry the extra weight?

Absolutely!

But how can we learn to spot those 45,600 negative thoughts and get rid of them? How can we empty our metaphorical backpack?

Advertising

Well, it gets a whole lot easier if you know what you’re looking for. Some of the most prominent types of negative thoughts are self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, and dwelling.

Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. Here are some examples:

“I’m not smart enough to…”

“I don’t have enough experience to…”

“I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…”

When we allow these self-limiting beliefs to flood our minds, negative self-talk runs rampant, and we crowd out our ability to think positively. We’re effectively working against ourselves.

If you want to keep your mind strong on your path to success, you have to overcome the self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back by realizing one key truth: self-limiting beliefs are thoughts, not facts.

When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

  • “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”
  • “I may not have as much experience as someone else, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. I have enough experience to get started. I’ll figure the rest out on the way.”
  • “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

Get Rid of the All-or-Nothing Thinking

Another form of negative thinking that could be preventing you from building mental toughness is all-or-nothing thinking.

All-or-nothing thinking is the concept of thinking in extremes. You are either a success or a failure. Your performance was totally good or totally awful. If you’re not perfect, then you’re a failure.

But this isn’t true!

If you’re trying to lose 30 pounds and only lost 28, isn’t that still better than not losing any weight at all? I’d say so!

If you allow all-or-nothing thinking to rule your mind, you’ll be on cloud nine when you succeed, but you’ll beat yourself up when you “fail.” Acknowledging the shades of gray in between will allow you to see success more often and it will help you celebrate your smaller wins.

When you recognize an all-or-nothing thought, remember to look for the positive in the situation. What did you gain by trying? What would you have missed out on had you not tried? Could you do better if you were to try again?

Ditch the Dwelling

Self-Limiting Beliefs and All-or-Nothing Thinking can lead to a bad case of dwelling on the negative. If you want to build some mental toughness and keep your mind strong, you have to ditch the dwelling.

Every day, bad things happen to each of us, and while there’s nothing we can do to prevent that, we can control how we react to these situations.

When we dwell on our misfortunes, we waste massive amounts of energy that we could be using to achieve our goals. When this happens, we’re more likely to quit altogether.

Advertising

But that doesn’t mean you’re not mentally tough; it just means you’re misusing your energy.

The next time something bad happens, it’s important to allow yourself to feel the disappointment and frustration, but work on reducing the amount of time you dwell on the situation.

Easier said than done, right? Try these:

  1. Call a friend or mentor and talk it through with them. Get some outside perspective on your situation.
  2. Time block your dwelling by allowing yourself to dwell for no more than one hour.
  3. Then, tell yourself to move on, that you’re human, and you’re allowed to make mistakes or experience setbacks.
  4. If all else fails, find a good way to distract yourself until you can calm down and reexamine things with a clear mind.

The faster you can focus on the positives and move past the problem, the quicker you can get back to achieving success in your life.

Be Patient about the Process

No matter which negative thoughts tend to run around your mind, working to replace them with positive thoughts can take time.

Learning to spot self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, or dwelling is one thing, but learning to quiet those thoughts is another thing entirely.

If at first you don’t succeed, don’t fret. Instead, take a deep breath and try again. As you work towards improving your mindfulness and your mental toughness, remember that you’re going to get better with time.

To make things a little easier, it helps to connect with your purpose.

2. Connect with Your Purpose

One of the most critical elements to building mental toughness and keeping a strong and focused mind is having a strong ‘why’ for everything you want to do.

If you set out to achieve a huge goal that you don’t have a ‘why’ for, you’re going to find yourself distracted, discouraged, or disengaged as soon as you experience your first setback.

Think about the last time you were working on a goal or resolution and things weren’t going well, maybe you even wanted to quit. Perhaps you thought you didn’t have enough willpower. Maybe you told yourself that you didn’t have enough discipline.

Here’s the truth: you just didn’t have a strong enough why.

Simon Sinek has been spreading his message “Start with Why” across the globe.[2] In short, he says that:

“Your ‘why’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you.”

One of the biggest drains on your mental energy is pursuing a goal or a task that you don’t have a ‘why’ for. This is when we tend to look for external motivation or question our willpower, but those aren’t the issues.

Often, we set goals because we like the idea of the goal, not the reality of the goal. Without connecting to our why, we can’t intrinsically motivate ourselves to achieve our most challenging goals.

Find Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is our innate desire to do something and it comes when we work towards something that satisfies ourselves above all else—not our parents or our bosses or our teachers.

Advertising

Let’s say you think you want to quit smoking because you know it’s bad for you, but you really enjoy smoking. If you don’t truly want to quit smoking, it’s going to be nearly impossible, regardless of your willpower or mental toughness.

But if you want to quit smoking because you just had a baby, and you don’t want your baby growing up around smoke, then that ‘why’ is going to give you intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than sheer stubborn willpower, and it’s far easier to maintain over the long haul.

If you’re trying to develop mental toughness, connecting a why to everything you want to achieve will reduce the effort and energy it will take to achieve those things. Once you’ve found a strong why for all of your goals, you’ll find that you’ll have significantly more energy to pursue your more difficult challenges.

3. Find Strength in Unity

The final aspect of developing mental toughness is embracing the idea that you’re not in this alone. It’s a fact, anyone who’s ever achieved success in anything didn’t do so alone.

Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft alone. Oprah didn’t build her network by herself. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone without a team. Michelle Obama didn’t implement the “Let’s Move” campaign on her own.

Behind all of these successful people were countless other people who were there offering support, mentorship, guidance, and encouragement.

If you want to develop unmatched mental toughness, you need to understand that you don’t have to go it alone. Even the toughest Navy Seals have a team backing them up.

If you want to stay strong in your endeavors, you need to build a team of supporters who will step in and back you up when it counts.

Find a Mentor or Committee of Mentors

The benefits of having a great mentor are far too many to list, but to boil it down to the basics, a mentor is someone who will help show you the path to success.

A good mentor will help you discover your greatest strengths, spot and overcome your blind spots, and work through your weaknesses.

If you’re struggling to deal with your internal negativity or with finding your purpose, talk it through with a mentor. Sometimes we lose the forest for the trees, and a mentor can help us take a step back and see the bigger picture.

Here’s how to find the right mentor for yourself: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

Recruit Some Cheerleaders

If you want to stay strong, it never hurts to have a group of personal cheerleaders. Unlike mentors who are going to jump in and help you address your problems, a group of cheerleaders will help keep your spirits up.

Even if you have a strong ‘why’ and a positive mindset, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. It doesn’t make you weak to need some help from time to time. Having a group of people cheering you on will make all the difference in the world.

As you work towards your goals, tell a few close friends about what you’re doing, and when things get tough, tell them about it. And when they give you the pep talk you need, don’t resist their positivity or counter it with your self-limiting beliefs or your all-or-nothing attitude.

Allow their optimism to refill your energy and use that energy to press on.

Form an Accountability Group

Cheerleaders are great, but sometimes we need someone to give us the kick we need to keep going. You might have a strong ‘why’ for running a marathon or losing 30 pounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy; and trying to force yourself to follow through is a sure way to tax your mental energy.

Advertising

Why not save some of your mental energy by forming an accountability group?

Find a person or a few people who have similar goals, or at the very least, the need for an accountability partner. Then, form an agreement within the group to push each other every day.

Even if your goals aren’t the same, accountability partners are great for giving us the push we need when we need it most.

Regardless of which relationships you choose, sometimes we have to be able to work through things on our own. Mentors, cheerleaders, and accountability partners are a great way for us to combat our naturally negative mindsets, but occasionally we have to be able to pick ourselves back up.

4. Learn to Pick Yourself Back Up After Setbacks

Building a strong mindset and developing mental toughness isn’t easy! Anyone who’s ever achieved massive success knows that obstacles, setbacks, and failure are inevitable, and you’re no different.

As you work on your goals, you’re going to face many ups and downs, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have mental toughness, willpower, or discipline.

We all struggle. We all fail. It’s what we decide to do after we fail that truly counts.

When you find yourself in a low spot, ask yourself these questions:

  • “Am I being too hard on myself?”
  • “Are negative thoughts such as Self-Limiting Beliefs or All-or-Nothing Thinking distorting my view?”
  • “What’s the positive side of this setback/obstacle/failure?”
  • “Why was this goal important to me? What was my purpose?”
  • “Is this goal still important to me? Do I still have a ‘why’?”
  • “Who can I ask for help? Who can mentor me or cheer me on? Who can help hold me accountable?”

Asking yourself these questions is a great way to check in on your mindset. When we get lost in negative thinking or lose connection to our purpose, it’s far too easy to become discouraged. When we feel discouraged, we start feeling weak, maybe even a little hopeless.

Also, this article provides some useful tips to help you get back on track: How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

Tying it All Together

Are you still with me? I know I’ve thrown a lot at you, from developing a positive mindset and combatting your internal voice to connecting with purpose and building a committee of mentors. It’s a lot to take it!

But here’s the bottom line:

A crucial part of developing mental toughness is learning to recognize these tendencies and taking action to correct them early on. Developing mental toughness is not about eliminating weakness, but learning how to deal with it and overcome it.

No one is perfect, but when we focus on the right things, we can develop a mental toughness worthy of life’s biggest challenges.

More About Mental Strength

Featured photo credit: Zulmaury Saavedra via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next