Some of my closest friends in the military are in special operations units (Army Special Forces, Navy SEALs, the Delta Force, and the British Army Commando), and after hearing their stories, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to make it through training and become one of the elite few who make it out alive is to “Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.”
This is, without a question, the single most crucial element in creating mental fortitude. Building mental toughness takes time, and it’s not something you can do just by being motivated on a particular day. You put in time every day to perfect it. If you want to develop the kind of mental fortitude that will serve you well in any situation, here are a few baby steps you may take in the direction of “getting comfortable being uncomfortable.” So how to build mental toughness?
Get Up And Get Your Workout And Job Done Early.
It’s hard to accomplish anything at 03:30 in the morning when you’re snuggled up in a comfortable bed. This is true regardless of the reason you awake so early. Examples of activities that fit this description include military physical training, running, sports team practice (the first of a two-a-day), doing homework and studying, or working a job that you do not love. All of these are examples of routine activities that might help you develop your mental resilience. If you start early enough in your junior or senior year of high school, you’ll be well-prepared for college or a career following graduation. But you can always push yourself to get moving even if you don’t feel like it, and that holds true at any age.
Try something different.
Going to new places, meeting new people, and trying out new things may all be uncomfortable, if not painful. If you can get over the first hurdle of telling yourself “Maybe another day,” you’ll take the first step toward discovering a world of opportunities and maybe even a new way of life. The conclusion of one period of your life usually corresponds with the start of the next. Don’t be scared, turn the page. After reading a single page, your willpower will have increased by the equivalent of one whole day. Is it true that today is harder than yesterday?
Advancing toward a goal
Whether you believe it or not, just getting out and about may help build mental toughness, it’s easy to do nothing, to become accustomed to doing nothing, and to accomplish very little. It takes guts to start things moving, so make today the day you take a significant step toward your goal. It doesn’t matter what that goal really is. It might be to reach a specific physical or mental goal, such as being bigger, faster, stronger, or smarter, or to reach a more abstract goal, such as finishing a project, writing and publishing a book, or preparing for a job interview.
Having a long-term goal in mind may give you a sense of purpose, which can boost your resilience in the short-term. Don’t let things slide or wait for someone else to take charge. Don’t waste time sitting around doing nothing; stay busy. It’s possible to go ski diving in a wide range of climates, from frigid to tropical, wet to sandy, hot to humid.