A Story on Mental Toughness
In my mid-twenties, I worked as a junior engineer at a Fortune 100 company that supplied computerized navigation systems to the US Department of Defense (DOD). These navigation systems, or GPS, were installed on various aircraft, from military airplanes to space shuttles to nuclear warheads.
One day, our director told me that I was up for promotion. However, the position requires a top-secret clearance, and one of the qualifications is that the applicant needs to be an American citizen.
I was a green card holder for five years then, so I am eligible to apply for citizenship. However, I wanted to be sure that that was what I wanted. So I asked my boss to give me some time to return to my country, talk with my parents and decide if I wanted to become an American and take the job.
My parents were ecstatic that I came home and would love me to stay if I decided to do so. But not my father’s business partner. At my welcome home party, he told my dad that he should take away and hide my passport and green card so I won’t be able to return to the States, and then I would end up working in their company.
II overheard my dad’s reply. He said, “you don’t know my daughter, she is strong-willed like her mother, and she believes that where there’s a will, there’s a way. If she wants to return to the States, she will find a way. Case in point, she wanted to migrate to the States and be on her own, and she found a way to do that.”
Now, why am I telling you this story? Because I wanted to illustrate that powerful phrase, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Yes, it is not an easy path to travel, but working through the challenges, being persistent, and creating a plan that eventually leads to what you want is an incredible feeling. It embodies MENTAL TOUGHNESS.
We can overcome what life throws at us that makes us feel that we are not enough, not worth the love we seek from a partner. We need to develop mental toughness. Some call mental toughness “grit.” Some explain it as “being resilient.” No matter how it is defined, it is something that we need to get through the challenging and complex times.
So, what do we need to do to develop mental toughness? It requires consciously working on ourselves in many different areas. Here are five of them:
We Must Have Clear Goals
First and foremost, we need clear goals because if we do not know where we are going, how do we know if we got there? They should also be meaningful, motivational, and tied to your life purpose.
We Must Have Self-Discipline
Secondly, we need self-discipline so that we can focus on our goals even in the face of challenges.
We Must Have Strong Motivation And Willpower
Third and fourth, we need a high level of motivation and strong willpower to push us forward and to make us stay on the right track. Positive self-talk gives us the encouragement to move forward.
We Must Be Fully Committed
Fifth, commitment to remain moving forward. We can have small steps towards success, but that won’t help even a little bit if you do not follow those steps with massive effort. Small steps do not mean small effort.
Our mental toughness grows stronger through the passing of time. Remember to start with small steps by doing something that makes you feel a little uncomfortable, then put in massive action – small steps don’t mean little or no action. Eventually, with more experience, you will gain more knowledge and understanding that can help you get through life’s toughest challenge
By the way, I returned to the States, became an American citizen, got my DOD top secret clearance, and my promotion. End of story!