Building mental resilience is a crucial aspect of performing at a high level, as emphasized by Polina Marinova Pompliano, the author of Hidden Genius: The Secret Ways Of Thinking That Power The World’s Most Successful People.
According to her, mental resilience entails enduring pain for extended periods and adopting mental frameworks that alter our perspectives. To cultivate this essential skill, we can draw inspiration from extreme athletes, who are renowned for their exceptional resilience.
Athletes at the top of their game often deliberately incorporate hardship into their lives, preparing themselves to confront the inevitable tough moments that arise unexpectedly. They believe in "callusing the mind," a concept championed by retired Navy SEAL David Goggins.
This involves intentionally engaging in tasks that are challenging and uncomfortable on a daily basis. It could be anything, from pushing oneself to go for a run even when not feeling like it, to engaging in public speaking despite feeling uncomfortable.
These seemingly insignificant actions build a sense of accomplishment and resilience that prove invaluable when facing more significant challenges later on.
Pain Personified: Empowering Mental Resilience
Another effective approach to mental resilience is personifying pain.
Endurance athlete Courtney Dauwalter, for instance, envisions pain as a "pain cave" that she must enter during her 100-mile races. Understanding that she controls when she leaves this cave empowers her to endure the extreme discomfort and emerge stronger.
Similarly, Goggins refers to pain as a "dark room" and uses sticky notes to remind himself to confront and overcome his insecurities and faults. This process of transformation allows him to emerge as a different, more resilient individual.
Furthermore, reframing hardships in a positive light can significantly contribute to mental resilience. Rock climber Tommy Caldwell views moments of pain as adventurous experiences, enabling him to cope and endure better. For Goggins, physical challenges have a positive impact on his body and mind, creating a powerful connection between physical and mental well-being.
Marinova Pompliano emphasizes that mental toughness is not an inherent trait but rather a skill that can be developed through practice. By voluntarily introducing friction and hardship into our daily lives, we become more resilient and better equipped to handle the unexpected, even during the most challenging moments, such as the loss of a loved one or a job.
The ability to rely on our acquired skills and face adversity head-on becomes a cornerstone of our mental strength. In conclusion, high performers understand the importance of mental resilience and actively incorporate strategies to build and strengthen this skill.
Learning from extreme athletes, we can embrace voluntary hardship, personify pain, and reframe challenges positively. By adopting these techniques, we can enhance our mental resilience and better navigate the uncertainties and trials that life throws our way, ultimately achieving higher levels of success and personal growth.