We’ll need all the mental toughness we can muster to face 2022. The skill is essential in helping us overcome extreme hurdles and achieve goals. With the Omicron COVID variant lurking, virus-induced problems such as supply chain issues and inflation will most likely continue to plague us. And, don’t get me started about the challenges of mending the blue-red divide in this country.
MENTAL TOUGHNESS HAS DISAPPEARED
My parents came of age during the Great Depression and spent their early adulthood embroiled in World War II. Out of necessity, they fine-tuned mental toughness and passed a number of those attitudes to me.
I’ve lived through record-breaking inflation caused by out-of-control oil prices before. What did we do? Just sucked it up and powered on. The situation finally worked itself out.
Short supplies? For all the hand-wringing that went on, I had no trouble finding everything I needed for Thanksgiving. We’ve been down the Christmas toy road before, with the shortage of Cabbage Patch dolls. What was life-threatening then (your child’s Christmases would be forever ruined), is merely a blip in history now. I suspect generations of Americans have never heard of them.
Diseases? Mumps, measles, polio, chickenpox, smallpox, whooping cough—you didn’t whine. Instead, you were extremely grateful that modern science created a vaccination to ward off these ravages and rushed to get inoculated.
The twenty-four-hour news media, in my opinion, is partly to blame for our angst. Broadcasters have hours to fill and realize that only scary, sensational news makes the headlines. Therefore, they incessantly repeat the bad in our lives rather than heartwarming stories of humans helping humans. By the time we’ve heard this lament hundreds of times during the week, it’s easy to fall into a deep depression.
MENTAL TOUGHNESS DEVELOPMENT
- Never confuse who you are with what you do. As an athlete, who had cancer, Adebiyi lost his identity in a heartbeat and crumbled as he attached his sense of self-worth with his accomplishments. Better to see yourself as a resilient can-do individual who will find a way to power through anything thrown your way.
- Master your inner dialogue. Is your glass half-empty or half-full? Do you respect yourself? Believe yourself capable? Love yourself? The Pygmalion Effect demonstrated that positive expectations influence performance positively, while negative expectations decrease performance.
- Learn to live in the moment. Find something to be thankful for when all seems lost. Dwell on this thought. Remember: change is ever-present and the bad times will pass. (Just look at yourself in the mirror if you forget this mantra.) When one door closes, look for another venue. Even celebrities like Brooke Shields have to find ways to adjust to change in order to thrive.
- Fortify your village, then build a moat. Cultivate relationships with people who lift you emotionally and who will be with you no matter what. Disengage from toxic relationships where individuals hammer down your self-esteem and urge you to doubt your abilities. Limiting social media is crucial. Others tend to paint a rosy picture of themselves while failing to show the negatives, leaving you envious.
- Be prepared, be prepared, be prepared. Build those key relationships now and work on filling your glass half-full. Then, when all hell breaks loose, you are ready.
Time to toughen up, Buttercup! Get your mental toughness on for a very productive 2022!