Stop Running From the Hard Things in Life.
By nature, we run from the hard things in life. We, as people (especially Americans), seek the path of least resistance. But in a world filled with struggle, what sense does that make?
Resistance in fitness produces strength. Progressive overload in running produces endurance. Commitment in diet produces discipline (and results). These things seem obvious to us. We accept the truth that the scientific facts offer, even if we still prefer to chase the newest fitness fads and quick fixes. So, if we see that resistance in this sense is positive and understand how it works in the world of personal health, why then do we fail to translate these same principles to other facets of life? Essentially, we remain willfully ignorant to the fact that difficulty produces results, simply because we don't like the challenge.
The thing is though, whether we like resistance or not, life will continually throws it our way. We can run all we want from the hard things, but eventually they catch up to us and we are forced to face them one way or another.
When we are confronted with difficult situations, we always have one of two choices: to face them directly or indirectly. If it is indirectly, we give up our personal agency. We are no longer in control, but instead, allow whatever it is to happen to us (however it wants to happen) while we passively watch, just hoping it will go away. If, however, we face our troubles directly, we take control, and allow preparation to play a key role, so that victory can be achieved.
So if there's no real way to prevent difficult situations from happening and facing them indirectly is negative, what's the point in even running in the first place? It makes no sense to waste valuable effort that could be applied to solving the issue at hand by avoiding the inevitable. Instead, if a person were to see each challenge as an opportunity to improve, utilizing the same mindset as a weightlifter or long distance runner, then they would not only increase their ability to remain strong in stressful situations, but overall they would improve their mental and emotional health in the process.
I think that like fitness, the most important thing is consistency over time. Instead of starting each day with a mind set of hoping nothing challenging happens-- and avoiding it at all cost-- we should wake up expecting to face and overcome the challenges of that day. This preparation is what having a winner's mindset looks like. It's a proactive approach that mentally and physically prepares you to find victory every day-- not just on the days you feel good. And while the idea is simple, it isn't always easy to put into practice.
David Goggins, a fitness icon (and one of my favorite motivational speakers) challenges his listeners to do something hard each day to build mental toughness. For him, doing what's hard may be running x-amount of miles at 3 in the morning, or doing several hundred pull ups just because he doesn't feel like doing it. While that sounds extreme, maybe there's something to his madness. By forcing himself to overcome things daily, he has not only strengthened his body but also his mind.
For you though, pushing your physical boundaries may not be the hard thing you need to face most. Instead, your challenge for the day could be biting the bullet and making that difficult phone call you've avoided, or filling out the application you've put off, or even finally coming to terms with the bad news that you've been afraid of. In a practical sense, doing whatever thing you find hard in life has zero to do with being physically fit and everything to do with being mentally fit. You must win the mental battles consistently over long periods of time to become mentally strong, and that takes progressive overload. Luckily for us, life has no shortage of stressful overloading situations to toss our way.
What if you decided to make today the day that you begin your journey of mental strength?
How much would your future self thank you?
It's time to stop running form the hard things. Face your specific challenges head on, and come out on the other side better for it.