Mental strength is something that’s greatly overlooked. Part of it is likely because you can’t see it. Rest assured, though, that if you want to have health, wealth, love and happiness, you need to have great mental strength.
I’ve tested these five methods for almost a year each and they’ve greatly augmented my mental strength. They’re backed by famous organizations, famous people, and famous quotes from famous organizations and people!
1. Work Out, Even If Just a Little
I used to have periods of time where I didn’t work out for months, or even years sometimes. Not this year. Like a lot of people, I used to think that working out was costly, both in money and time, both of which I don’t always have a lot of.
No matter, in January, I decided to go to the most expensive gym in Málaga and take my health into my own hands. Once it became a habit to work out, the results were phenomenal — not only did I get in my best shape ever, but I had so much more mental strength as well.
I became mentally stronger — I was sleeping better and it felt like my memory had improved.
But don’t take my word for it, here’s what helpguide.org has to say on that:
“Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood.” — helpguide.org
As a nomad, it’s hard to find a steady place to work out from. When I was on the go again, I had to create a workout routine for myself. Back in February, I posted about one simple full-body workout I was doing that gave me great results.
Start with a small challenge of doing 50–100 of one type of exercise through one day. I had started with pushups.
Can’t do more than 10 in one go?
That’s fine, just do it 5–10 times throughout the day. Your growth will be faster than you expect. Within a few days, you’ll already have doubled your number of repetitions in one session. I’ve seen that with everyone who joined my fitness group back in Málaga.
Get yourself an accountability partner! Do it with someone else and you’ll double your motivation. Do it with 10 other people and you’ll 10x your motivation! This is truer than you’d expect. There were days where I didn’t feel like taking part in the fitness group, but at least two were motivated, and all of a sudden, everyone joined in, even if only two were motivated to start with.
2. Write For Yourself
This has been incredibly more powerful than I would ever have expected. You may not guess it from the 300+ stories I’ve written in less than eight months, but I’m a man of few words when it comes to speech. It’s not that I’m particularly shy — though I am introverted — it’s just that I guess I value people’s time. I don’t like to tell my story to people who don’t ask for it.
In writing, I can do whatever I want. No one has to read what I write. I write about whatever comes to mind. When I write publicly, I think of myself first. I reflect on the lessons I’ve learned over the years, the things that inspired me to do what I do, the strategies I’ve learned to become more productive and learn more, the lessons learned traveling and writing, and more.
It’s something like a public diary for me, and it keeps me accountable. If the lessons I learned are not of value to the reader, I usually don’t publish and keep it to myself.
But back in January, I started journaling as well. An idea I thought would be dumb, but I instantly filled in seven pages of notes in less than two hours. I was supposed to journal for 15 minutes…
Writing for myself, both on Medium and in my journal has made me mentally stronger by increasing my clarity and awareness of my situation and helped me fight procrastination by being accountable to my readers.
Grab a pen and paper, go in nature, and start writing whatever comes to mind. Everyone I personally recommend this technique to are uncertain of the usefulness of this method, but without fail, they were all proven wrong. They all report having gained so much clarity within a single one-hour session of writing whatever comes to mind.
Do it every day after waking up. Your subconscious does so much work for you overnight. Don’t let all that valuable work go to waste by checking your phone as soon as you wake up, putting yourself in reactive mode and wasting all the creative juice you got from your subconscious.
3. Surround Yourself With Motivated People
It’s no secret that this quote from Jim Rohn is one of my favourite quotes of all times:
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn
The first time I read or heard it, I reflected back on who influenced my life.
I took note of the five people I had surrounded myself with the most at 3-month intervals for the past 2–3 years, during college, during high school, and when I was younger.
I couldn’t believe how true his statement was. I didn’t grow up in a family that cared much for education. In fact, out of my three brothers, only two of us even finished high school. The results are even worse in my extended family.
I started working in farms at the age of eight, being surrounded by people way above my age. I hung out with people 5–10 times my age. In high school, I felt like everyone was immature… go figure!
I wasn’t particularly good in school until I met my wife and my good friend Henri, who are both academic geniuses. Having the two around at least tripled my mental strength.
And this quote just kept getting truer over the years.
In this post, top Medium influencers (and myself) share their own most influential quote
Take note of the five people you’ve spent the most time with, in the past 3–6 months. Note how they’ve influenced your life — positively or negatively. Noticed how the mentally stronger people around you are impacting your life and bringing you closer to your level.
If your average of five people has any negative outcome for you, try to find a way to turn that around. Some people will say drop these people — and sometimes that’s the right thing to do — but sometimes there’s something to say about having a diplomatic and honest conversation with the person. The results are sometimes staggering.
4. Constantly Learn New Things
This is potentially one of the most overlooked ways to get yourself mentally stronger. Common wisdom says: “In order to be successful, you have to focus on that one thing you’re good at and maximize your time on it.”
BS I say!
- How do you know what’s the one thing you’re truly good at if you haven’t even tried at least a thousand other things?
- In a world of 7.4 billion people, what are your odds of even being in the top 1–3 percent in anything?
Want to do great in this world?
Follow Robert Greene’s wisdom:
“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.”―Robert Greene, Mastery
The truth is, the more you learn, the faster you learn. The faster you learn, the more adaptable you become. The more adaptable you are, the stronger you are mentally. Learning three new skills every month has made me much stronger mentally.
Charles Darwin said, on the evolution of species:
“It is not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” — Charles Darwin
I often write on this subject. Here’s one of my most recent story on that: How This Powerful Approach Made me a High Performing Polymath.
List down all the skills you’re currently using to perform all your productive activities. Now, list down all the skills you need to acquire to become the person you really want to be. How do you get there? How many skills have you listed? Which ones are easier to acquire currently, given your current skillset?
Commit to working on your skill-building on a daily basis. Practice 1–3 skills every single day for a month and note the progress along the way. Try the approach I linked above.
5. Celebrate the Small Wins
Another greatly overlooked technique. I started doing that when I started writing.
In our day-to-day grind, we often forget the big picture. We forget the reason behind why we’re doing what we do. We “win” regularly yet don’t take the time to realize that not everything is going south.
Celebrating the small wins means acknowledging a small “victory” that happened. It could be a nice thing someone said to you, it could be a part of your work that went surprisingly well, it could be waking up at the right time without snoozing, etc. Anything that’s not negative, really.
That puts you in a positive mindset. And being in a positive mindset greatly impacts how mentally strong you are or will be.
- “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.” — Hellen Keller
During the course of each day, take a moment to reflect on what went right. Take note of it somewhere in a journal (paper or app). I use Evernote. When you’re feeling down and need a reminder of why you’re doing something in the first place, take that journal and view all your small wins.
Take note of the small win as soon as it happens. Review your win journal at the end of every day and shortly after waking up, before starting your day.
I’ve been studying how to get people to action the past month or so. It’s a very important thing because the only way to truly learn is by action. That’s why I’ve included the homework sections for each of the sections of this article.
So don’t waste your time simply having read the article, act on it. If you read this far, I’m sure there are at least one of the ways above that spoke to you.
Here they are, repeated again here:
- Start with a small workout challenge of doing 50–100 of one type of exercise through one day;
- Grab a pen and paper, go in nature, and start writing whatever comes to mind;
- Take note of the five people you’ve spent the most time with, in the past 3–6 months. Note how they’ve influenced your life — positively or negatively;
- List down all the skills you’re currently using to perform all your productive activities. Now, list down all the skills you need to acquire to become the person you really want to be; and
- During the course of each day, take a moment to reflect on what went right. Take note of it somewhere in a journal.
Do the homework(s). Some are surprisingly easy!
You can do this!
Thanks for reading and sharing! 🙂
Originally published at medium.com