Become Unbreakable- the Vital Baby Steps to Develop Extreme Mental Strength
You were once a baby.. we all were. And what a blast we had. Within the first two years we transformed from a wailing helpless baby (who still knew how to get things done) to a crawler and then a walker and incessant talker. A transformation nothing short of fantastic.
We fell down a thousand and more times, scratched our shin, hurt all possible joints but never gave up. We never let our parents fear that we might fall, get to us. We gave them the sweetest of smiles and then moved right on. After all, we were on a massive mission.
No criticism and negativity ever got to us. After all we were on a massive mission. If this is not mental strength, what is. This was our original programming and yet as we grew older, how much farther we seem to have moved away from that. So mental strength is nothing new. We are naturally endowed with it. What we so easily and intuitively understood as babies, now it is time to reawaken that hidden super ability.
So that brings us to the next question. How does one reclaim that lost treasure? What is it that makes some people extremely mentally strong and resilient and some not so much? Let us dive deep and see for ourselves.
What is mental strength?
It is easy to see the body and understand physical strength. So how do we define a person as physically strong? Stamina, endurance, can take knocks and physical hurts with some level of ease, has a high threshold for pain, has a strong immunity.
Now let us try to understand mental strength using pointers from the body
- Manage difficult and different situations with a level of ease
- Manage emotional ups and downs without hurting
- Face life’s obstacles keeping the spirit flying high
- Fall but pick up and move on
When the going is good everybody seems mentally strong. It is only when tragedy strikes or the going gets tough that one gets a reality check…..
But, take heart for it is possible to cultivate mental strength - unbreakable at that by using simple , easy to do practices. These practices are culled from learnings from the masters, personal practice, learnings from life.
1. Become Aware
Awareness is the first stepping stone in every inner journey. When a sportsman starts working on his body to achieve success in his game, he would definitely concentrate on what he puts in his mouth.
Now look at your mind. First thing, you can’t look at it. So complicates matters. In the beginning, start interrupting your thoughts every half an hour and peek at what your mind is up to. Slowly and steadily, it becomes a practise and this means that you have …
2. Become an Observer
The journey to power starts when we realize that we are not our thoughts and we are far more powerful than our thoughts. We are not our feelings either. This is a small part of the totality of what we are.
Grab a few moments from the day and close your eyes. Imagine you are outside of your body watching you. See yourself talking to your friends. Look at yourself looking angry. A lot of things about ourselves become clearer and this is further aided when you…
3. Maintain a journal
A journal can help in innumerable ways. A journal can be your confidante, companion and guide. When angry or in the heat of any negative emotion, start writing it out. This helps in two ways- the very act of writing will help your anger to fizzle out plus you start to understand your own triggers.
The key points that should be recorded in the journal are – what makes you happy, what makes you sad, what hurts you, what stresses you out, things that you are grateful about, disappointments, arguments, what are your repeated behaviour patterns, harmful mental habits, the people who trigger positive and negative thoughts and feelings.
This will help you in acquainting yourself with your strengths and weaknesses on a deeper level and getting to know yourself really well. Now starts the interesting work and here your first stop should be to ...
4. Have a goal
This cannot be emphasized enough. A goal gives a direction to your energy and will give the necessary motivation to get up and get going. Any goal is fine - whether big or small. It could be a long-term goal such as setting up a 10-million-dollar company or a seemingly small one such as getting up half an hour early every day.
With a goal we become like an arrow with a laser-head.!!! But remember stick to one singular goal which can be broken into smaller goals.
5. Learn from people around you
Inspiration abounds around us in all forms, shapes and colors. This is the story about a lady called Subbamma Married at age 9 in the year 1935 and widowed at age 20. She had no children and things were looking very bleak as she seemingly had no one to support her. Family riddled with poverty at both sides- parents and in-laws.
This, however didn’t deter her spirit one bit. She made herself useful to all around her. She was a midwife, the one who cared for women who had just delivered babies and their mothers as well in the crucial first three months, the one who could be depended upon to take care of any ailing person in the family or to help out a large family gathering. This helping nature endeared her to many and soon people she could call family grew.
I met Subbamma at a friend’s place and I was fascinated with this 80-year-old who had the enthusiasm and innocence of a child and a kind word and a helping hand for everyone around her. She received innumerable calls from people seeking her advice, opinion and suggestions. When I got to know about her background and tragic past, I was startled. The beaming happy face in front of me had seen just too much pain and yet none of it showed on her smile-wrinkled face. Here was a true lotus blooming beautifully above the muddy waters.
10 years ago, at the age of 84 she passed away and the large gathering of people at her funeral was a silent but powerful testimony to the great number of lives she had touched. ‘When life gives you lemon, make lemonade’. There are a number of takeaways from this story and probably the most important one is …
6. Exercise the power of choice
As humans, this is the greatest power we have. In the real life story I just shared, Subbamma could have wallowed in her fate and become bitter and dried up. Or she could have chosen to take her life.Instead she chose to become a victor.
I once summoned enough courage to ask her about her past and how did she garner the strength to face the tragedies of the past. With her warmest and kindest smile, she softly replied, ‘I was broken at the time both with what happened and the cruel words of some people, but I decided to smile and remain positive come what may and take one day at a time. I would never think about the future and try to find my happiness in seeing others happy. I also tried to focus only on the encouraging words of the few versus the harshness of the others. Initially it seemed difficult but over time it became a habit and second nature.’ Here was an uneducated old woman who had walked the talk.
The reason I chose this story is because here was a girl, not educated, at a time and place when things were definitely not easy for a widow, with no access to the kind of motivational material that are available now and still look at the choices she made.
Yes, in every moment we have the power to choose and in that choice our life’s successes and failures are hidden. With each choice we either seal our fate or open the doors to new opportunity and blessings.
So now let us make a start- choose to be mentally unbreakable. May this goal dictate all our actions.
Why does negativity have so much power over us. Because of the frequency and repetition of the thought which becomes a habit. And habits are like our shadows. By following the above-mentioned tips religiously, get kickstarted on the journey to become unbreakable and may that be the new habit and shadow. So, get, set, go.