“Mental Toughness” Is Easier When You Are Focused
For our look at “Mental Toughness”, focus is the first component that we need to examine.
Do you remember a time when your life was upended by a “last straw” moment?
You are at home. The kitchen is a mess. You got a message that a relative was taken to the hospital but your car wouldn’t start that morning. You got an expected bill in the mail. The kids are fighting (for the hundredth time) again. And then your husband calls to say that he is staying late at work (for the hundredth time)! You can’t take any more and you have a meltdown in the kitchen.
Or maybe you’re at work. Your project is falling behind and your boss is angry. Your co-worker has called in sick (for the hundredth time) this year. Your wife just called you (for the hundredth time) because the car, that was making a funny noise, now won’t start. You can’t wait to get home but you have to stay to get things on track and your wife is upset because you can’t come home. You can’t take any more and you have a meltdown in your office.
Or maybe you’re at school. You spent so much time practicing for a band competition that you forgot an assignment. Your friend is having a tough time at home and wants to come to your house after school but your parents already said “no” because of the missed assignment. The basketball coach has already told you that you are going to have to practice more to keep your spot on the team but you don’t know where you are going to find time. The ACT is coming up and you haven’t done any prep work. Your mom told you that the car isn’t working and you’re feeling self-conscious about asking for a ride. That “one girl” is pointing at you and whispering to her friends and they begin to laugh. You can’t take any more and you have a meltdown in the bathroom.
It may have been that “last straw” that did you in but it wasn’t just the “last straw”. It was the accumulation of everything that caused your sanity to go BOOM! It was all too much! How are you going to manage? What are you going to do?
We must learn to mentally focus on each event. When we do this, we can:
- Compartmentalize the event. We realize that the only thing binding all these events together is us and we can control how we respond to each. One of the biggest instant regrets in life is when we “take things out” on the people and things around us.
- Prioritize the event. When we are overwhelmed, everything (and everyone) can seem equally urgent. But we objectively know that this is not true. When we look at each event by itself and then compare it to the others, we can truly understand it’s gravity and place.
- Formulate and execute an appropriate response. Once we see that event for what it is, we can establish what needs to be done and also when. Not everything can be #1 on your to-do list. We must determine what is the “right thing” to do first and then do it! Maybe we choose the biggest issue. Maybe we choose one that we can handle in a matter of moments and get it off the list. However, we decide, we must take action! Then you can begin to tackle the rest.
Imagine if we are on a ship at war and suffer major battle damage. There is so much going wrong – fires, flooding, electrical outages, injuries. The damage control parties need to understand the nature of the damage so that they can prioritize the responses and get to work to save the ship! If they treat every bit of damage equally (or randomly), their efforts would be scattered and the result would be disaster.
So the next time your world seems to be going down in flames, get mentally tougher by focusing on the right things to do.
Need help working on your mental toughness or focus? Let us know below!