No matter how prepared you are and how much you plan, things will still go wrong. At those moments, we need mental toughness. But too often, people say, “I’ll deal with a setback when it happens.” It’s a better mindset than always worrying about everything that could happen.
However, it’s also naïve. We all know that we will have setbacks and get hurt sooner or later. But when all is well, we don’t want to think about. Oddly enough, good times are perfect for preparation. When everything in your life is going well, you can take the time to focus on what you want to do to improve yourself.
In contrast, when you’re in the middle of a personal crisis, you don’t have the time or energy to strengthen your mind and body. You need all your resources to make the best of what’s in front of you. It’s not a matter of if a setback will hit you, it’s a matter of when.
At some point, we all have to deal with death and grief. We all experience downs in our relationships. We all face personal crises and feeling down for no particular reason.
Obstacles never come at a good time. When something bad happened to me I always said, “Why now?!” As if I had any control over external factors. It’s such a delusional thing to say and think.
It’s pure entitlement. Just because everything is going well for you, you are entitled to continued success? Who ever made you that promise?
Give This Exercise A Try Now To Improve Mental Toughness
You and I both know that we’re entitled to nothing. That’s why the following exercise is so important. When everything is going well, you want to meditate on what could go wrong. Let’s do a thought exercise.
- Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down
- Close your eyes
- Think about a person that’s close to you and who you rely on for support
- Imagine having a good time with them
- Feel the joy you experience from being with that person
- Now, imagine that you’re alone in a room
- Imagine you’re receiving a call from someone
- You pick up the phone
- The person you love just died
- Feel the sadness in your stomach
Now, snap out of it. It’s not necessary to get stuck in that feeling. The point is to temporarily feel negative emotions, so you don’t experience shock when you have to deal with grief in the future.
Repeat this exercise for whatever you fear. It will improve your mental toughness. The best thing is to do this type of “loss” meditation often. That will not only make you more resilient, it will also make you more
I regularly meditate on losing my business and money. I imagine that I made a wrong investment and that everything is gone. I’ve done that so often in my mind that if it happens, it’s not new to me. I will be ready to start over.
You don’t have to do this daily. Some people assume that when I share the exercise. Only do it when you feel it’s helpful.
I also meditate on getting ill or injured. What will I do when I can’t walk? All this stuff might sound depressing to you. Or you might think, “That would never happen to me.”
How are you so sure? It can happen to all of us. In life, it’s not a matter of “if” things will go wrong — it’s a matter of “when.”
This exercise is ultimately about gratitude. When you realize that your life is good the way it is, you’ll feel more happy and alive. That’s a good foundation to keep improving your life. Do it from a place of strength, not from fear.
This article was excerpted from from my book, What It Takes To Be Free