“I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.” Theodore Roosevelt
We all want comfort in our lives; I love it just as much as the next person. For most modern society, our world today is dominated by comfort, which causes our bodies to break down and keeps us from standing tall when the shit hits the fan. How do we prepare ourselves to tackle what life throws at us? We do it by injecting acute stress and hardship. We train to be the “beacon in the storm” and “keep our heads high when all around others are losing theirs.” This is why we sit in the ice, we learn to use our breath to control our state, and we push ourselves in the gym. We are training the mind for life more so than the body to thrive in difficult times.
We must focus on what we can control. We can’t control the weather; we can’t control what others say about us; we can’t control anything external. Our thoughts and our actions are all we control. We must willingly accept this and move on. Our ability to handle tough times in a calm and collected state will improve our success rate.
What can we do to improve our response?
Many of the practices I incorporate into my clients and my life are to make us not only more resilient but anti-fragile. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the anti-fragile gets better. We want to grow through stress and advance with each shock to the system. Intense workouts, ice baths, breathwork, and journaling help make you more adaptable and better at handling difficult situations in life. You learn a lot about yourself when you put yourself in situations that shock your system. What kind of self-talk is going through your head? You will feel the stress and anxiety building into your chest, but as you begin to slow your breathing and create positive affirmations in your mind, the body begins to calm. Each time you do this, you expand your “window of tolerance.” You will improve each time you practice. You will begin to realize that you can control the intense pressure you used to feel in your body when thinking about the difficult conversations you must have from time to time or that presentation you’re about to give.
Don’t allow the siren song of the comforts of modern life hold you back or become a crutch. Get out there and test yourself. Pushing our physical and mental limits will provide you with a sense of achievement. The obstacles I choose to add to my life don’t come easily, including this newsletter, but I know if I can push past the resistance and set my mind to the task at hand, I will continue to get better. Embracing a growth mindset can drive you to learn new subjects, try new things, get comfortable in the unknown. This will help you be better equipped to handle the real struggles in life.