10 WAYS TO BECOME MENTALLY TOUGH LIKE A ZEN WARRIOR

10 WAYS TO BECOME MENTALLY TOUGH LIKE A ZEN WARRIOR

Grit

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, grit in the context of behavior is defined as “firmness of character;  an indomitable spirit.”

A perfect analogy for this was Louis Zamperini

An extraordinary life often begins in ordinary circumstances. Louis Zamperini was living proof. The son of immigrant parents and a troublemaker in his youth, Zamperini channelled his rabble-rousing energy into long-distance running and became a celebrated athlete, even competing at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

After college, Zamperini enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was a bombardier in the Pacific during World War II. In 1943, along with two other crewmen, Zamperini survived in an exposed raft in the shark-infested open water for 47 days after a near fatal plane crash. He was caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp, where he suffered indescribable emotional, mental, and physical abuse.

Through resilience and tenacity Zamperini exemplified the power of the human spirit to overcome any obstacle and remain unbroken.

He was the epitome of an indomitable spirit

The definition of grit almost perfectly describes qualities every successful person possesses, because mental toughness builds the foundations for long-term success.

For example, successful people are great at delaying gratification. Successful people are great at withstanding temptation. Successful people are great at overcoming fear in order to do what they need to do.

(Of course, that doesn’t mean they aren’t scared–that does mean they’re brave. Big difference.)

Successful people don’t just prioritize. They consistently keep doing what they have decided is most important.

Here are the 10 ways you can become mentally stronger and as a result more successful.

Learn the ability to be truly focused in the moment

Mental toughness comes down to the ability to control your thoughts, emotions, attitudes, and actions under pressure.

1. Avoid the “I can’t” or  “I don’t”

Your language makes a huge difference in your attitudes and your behavior, Try to omit the words “can’t” and “don’t” from your speech and your thoughts, so that you’re less focused on the potential negative outcome and more focused on the positive.

For example, instead of, “Don’t lose,” you’d say, “Let’s win.” And instead of, “Don’t be afraid,” you’d say, “Be courageous.” Or “I can’t do that” to simply “I’ll try and see how it goes”

2. Think like CRAP

That’s Clarity, Relevance, Accuracy, Precision. Here’s how it breaks down:

Clarity: What’s the target?

Relevance: Does this obstacle help me or hurt me in hitting my target?

Accuracy: Exactly how far away is the target?

Precision: Can that assessment be more exact?

If you’re trying to boost your lifting numbers, for example, first find out the exact number you aim to hit. Then assess whether you need to focus on your training partners numbers, or whether that’s just a distraction. Next figure out how many more training sessions you need to make before hitting that goal. Finally, see if you can quantify that number further, as in how many sessions or lifts you need to make per week or per day.

3. Take RESPONSIBILITY

keep a running tally of every time you make an excuse or blame someone else.

If it happens more than three times, you know you’ve developed a habit of making excuses — and it’s time to break it. One way to do that is to ask yourself: “Is this excuse helping me get any better results?” If not, own up to your mistakes and fix them.

4. Specialize

Multitasking is the bane of the Average Minded, doing a lot of things at once but never being great at anything.” concentrating your mental energy on a single target and how you can get there. Only after you’ve hit that target you can move on to another.

5. Identify your emotional driver

“If you don’t know what you are willing to fight for and why, the chances are pretty high (100%) that you will quit fighting when it gets hard.”

In fact, as a coach my main goal as a training coach is to help clients identify their emotional driver and keep reminding them of it.

One the best ways to find your emotional driver is to complete the “Five Whys” exercise. Ask yourself at least five times why you want to achieve your goal, until you get to the root cause.

For example, maybe you want to earn a promotion at work. Why? Because you want to make more money. Why? Because you’re saving up to buy a house. Why? Because you want the kids to have a backyard. Why? Because you want to make your kids happy. Why? Because you want to be the best mam/dad you can be.

Who are you and who do you aspire to be?

6. Craft and identity statement

At the very beginning I asks clients to tell me who they are. They usually talk about their job, or maybe their role in their family. I encourage everyone to dig that little bit deeper and here is why.

Eventually, it helps clients come up with a statement that reads, “I am _____ who does _____.”

For example: “I am a man of excellence, who always keeps his word.”

From there, you can adjust your behavior to match the values you aspire to uphold.

7. Desensitize yourself to your fears

In my fighting career I recognized very quickly that the biggest energy sapping dilemma was the initial climb into the ring or the walk out on to the arena floor.  Faced with the unknown and that crushing nervous tension waiting for the fight to begin, while also trying to control my hyped adrenaline, my inner voice knowing I’d ultimately be fighting a stranger whom I knew nothing about. I learned that if I really wanted to be the best I could be I needed to find a way to control my emotions, my anxiety and become CALM… become like a ZEN WARRIOR

So I took on a project for which I visited  every martial arts club I could find around my area, then when they were exhausted I mapped out all the clubs in walking distance of the dart line stations (local train stations) .The idea was to systematically desensitize myself to walking into new surroundings, meeting new people for the first time and sparing strangers from different disciplines like kick boxing, boxing, karate, kung fu, Taekwondo  — and eventually, I was able to do it without panicking and leaned a lot from different opponents to the point that walking out on competition days was like a walk in the park.

8.Use criticism as motivation to improve

Whatever you do, DO NOT  internalize critical comments that put you down.

Remember: When you’re in charge of your own thoughts and feelings, no one can make you feel bad about yourself.

At the same time, try to look at each criticism objectively: “Think about what was said, but rephrase it to the most neutral and unemotional language you can conjure up. Then ask, “Is this an area in my life that could use some development?”

9. Put aside things you have no ability to impact

Mental strength is like muscle strength–no one has an unlimited supply. So why waste your power on things you can’t control? For some people, it’s politics. For others, it’s career. For others, it’s health. Whatever it is, you care, and you want others to care.

Fine. Do what you can do: Vote. Lend a listening ear. Recycle, and reduce your carbon footprint. Do what you can do.

Be your own change–but don’t try to force everyone else to make the same changes. (They won’t.)

10. Focus only on impressing yourself

No one likes you for what you can lift, how hard you can train, your clothes, your car, your possessions, your title, or your accomplishments. Those are all things. People may like your things–but that doesn’t mean they like you.

Sure, superficially they might seem to like you, on social media #fitfam #cool #bla bla bla but what’s superficial is also insubstantial, and a relationship not based on substance is not a real relationship.

Genuine relationships make you happier. Your relationship with yourself is one of the most important, so finding a way to be content with who you are and finding the point that you don’t need the false admiration of others should be your focus and you’ll only form genuine relationships with others when you stop trying to impress and start trying to just be yourself.

And then you’ll have a lot more mental energy to spend on what really matters in your life.

Keith Richardson

Keith Richardson

Founder, Storm Body Fitness

– Keith, Body Storm Fitness 

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