Mental Toughness

Following is an article by Amy Morin, LCSW which we covered at this week’s “A Christian Experiment”.  Which of these qualities have you mastered?  Where can you improve?  Since what we think becomes our reality, it’s a great time to evaluate ourselves and set our sails towards our personal True North and greater success in the coming year.

For all the time executives spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more. Particularly for entrepreneurs, numerous articles talk about critical characteristics of mental strength—tenacity, “grit,” optimism, and an unfailing ability as Forbes contributor David Williams says, to “fail up.”

However, we can also define mental strength by identifying the things mentally strong individuals dont do.

Thirteen things mentally strong people don’t do:

1.    Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. You don’t see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’d been mistreated. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair. They are able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. When a situation turns out badly, they respond with phrases such as “Oh, well.” Or perhaps simply, “Next!”

2. Give Away Their Power. Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad. They understand they are in control of their actions and emotions. They know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.

3.    Shy Away from Change. Mentally strong people embrace change and they welcome challenge. Their biggest “fear,” if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant. An environment of change and even uncertainty can energize a mentally strong person and bring out their best.

4. Waste Energy on Things They Cant Control. Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude, and they use these attributes well.

5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone. Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy.

6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks. A mentally strong person is willing to take calculated risks. This is a different thing entirely than jumping headlong into foolish risks. But with mental strength, an individual can weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly, and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action.

7. Dwell on the Past. There is strength in acknowledging the past and especially in acknowledging the things learned from past experiences—but a mentally strong person is able to avoid miring their mental energy in past disappointments or in fantasies of the “glory days” gone by. They invest the majority of their energy in creating an optimal present and future.

8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over. We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.

9. Resent Other Peoples Success. It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people’s success. Mentally strong people have this ability. They don’t become jealous or resentful when others succeed (although they may take close notes on what the individual did well). They are willing to work hard for their own chances at success, without relying on shortcuts.

10. Give Up After Failure. Every failure is a chance to improve. Even the greatest entrepreneurs are willing to admit that their early efforts invariably brought many failures. Mentally strong people are willing to fail again and again, if necessary, as long as the learning experience from every “failure” can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.

11. Fear Alone Time. Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. They use their downtime to reflect, to plan, and to be productive. Most importantly, they don’t depend on others to shore up their happiness and moods. They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone.

12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything. Particularly in the current economy, executives and employees at every level are gaining the realization that the world does not owe them a salary, a benefits package and a comfortable life, regardless of their preparation and schooling. Mentally strong people enter the world prepared to work and succeed on their merits, at every stage of the game.

13. Expect Immediate Results. Whether it’s a workout plan, a nutritional regimen, or starting a business, mentally strong people are “in it for the long haul.” They know better than to expect immediate results. They apply their energy and time in measured doses and they celebrate each milestone and increment of success on the way. They have “staying power.” And they understand that genuine changes take time.

Do you have mental strength? Are there elements on this list you need more of?

Find out more about Ms. Morin at http://www.amymorinlcsw.com/

Our True Identity

What do you think of Jesus Christ?  Who is he?  What did he do?

Jesus asked his disciples who they thought he was. (Matt. 16:13-19) Peter answered him, “The Christ, the son of the living God”.  This belief is what gave Peter the keys to understanding his true identity, no longer just tied into the five senses.  His life had spiritual ramifications as well as spiritual power.

God doesn’t see us like others do; he doesn’t look at our race, education, political leanings, what we wear, etc.  What really matters is what we think of Jesus Christ.  Without this belief, Peter would have continued to be just another fisherman of his day.  With it, his life changed and he understood his true identity.

The world tries to keep us in a maze wandering between the lines with everyone else.  If we go through life like that then eventually life runs out and we never leave the corridor.  I saw a little fox jump from my neighbor’s yard over the fence. It ran across my yard and jumped over the other fence, then lickety-split, it had a squirrel in its mouth, then leaped back over both fences and fed its kits. Yet two fearsome-sounding dogs that live next door would never leap their fence though they easily could.  The dogs don’t jump because that’s not where their bowl is! The fox isn’t limited to a bowl eating the same food every day.  His bowl is the whole area of Colorado Springs!  With God, our food supply is as big and varied as eternity! It’s time to hop over our 6-foot fence and understand our true identity.

Don’t forfeit your true purpose by identifying with what others have said you are your whole childhood and adult life, let it go!  How we see ourselves is exactly what we’ll get — broke, poor and sick or bold, prospering and healthy?  Those are the doors that will open for us.  Think what God says and realize why the creator of heaven and earth, called the one and only you!  Regardless of our flaws, we each have a purposeful, distinct calling and as we answer that call, we understand our true identity.

The power of the whole universe is focused right on that one point of believing of who is Jesus Christ.  We harness that power when we believe.  The power of God is behind us, there is no way we have lack.  The keys to the kingdom of heaven are given to us!

~ Mark

Living in Lollipop Land

I had a client this week whose place flooded so she hired me to clean it up.  The insurance company and appliance company that caused the damage hired a lawyer and are giving her a hassle.  I said, “Look, expect the best and you’ll get it.” She said, “I don’t live in lollipop land like you do.”

If this is lollipop land, then I like it! We were designed to think the best, to have hope and joy, even in bleak situations.  God is always ready to help and we should always be ready to receive.

God’s promise of deliverance is more real than reality.

~ Mark

Evolving Christianity

I was talking to a young mega-church going mom about the absolute freedom in Christ.  I spoke about how true Christianity has no legalism and is never controlling, and how there is little mention in the Bible of how believers are supposed to conduct meetings because each group will have different needs and inspiration.  I told her about the freedom we have to walk with amazing power according to our believing potential as we move Christ forward.  She just shook her head and said, “I don’t get it, I just don’t get it!”.  This woman is awesome, but like most, she prefers the comforting control of church-i-anity.  I prefer true freedom laced with spiritual power and so do you.

It took thirty years and one amazing man named Paul for the early church to break away from the legalism of Judean impregnated Christianity.  Sadly, many churches today are working hard to keep us under the bondage of legalism and fear, which is still the easiest way to control people.  Learn to resist!

People like to control other people.    The world is controlled by a handful of people.  Look how styles change over the years.  If you were to dress like the 80’s you would stick out like a sore thumb, or the 70’s or the 60’s.  Why?  Everybody goes along with this stuff.  The world is controlled.

We’re not designed to work then come home and act Christian on the weekends.  We’re designed to be just as powerful as Jesus and Paul.  It’s not a thing of the past.  They are our examples of how to walk powerfully and help others to do the same.

Think back to when God called you and when you answered his call.  Do you still have that dream that you once had?  Visualize yourself working in God’s family business.  Every one of us has seen it at one point.  Can you still see it?  With God, once you’re in, you’re in forever!  Being a Christian is more permanent than being in the mafia!  You can get out of the mafia with a boat ride and some cement slippers.  You are with God for eternity.

Why live an un-powerful and boring life?  I hate boring, don’t you?  I like being on the edge.  I like the contest.  All of us signed up for this ever-evolving Christian experiment. Let’s get started enjoying our lives now!  Why not walk with power today?

~  Mark

God’s Got Us Covered

I did an internet search to see what the most common prayers and wishes were. The answer shocked me.  No matter the country, no matter the age, culture, or religion, two were almost always the same.  1. More money 2. Better health.

If you could hear everyone’s prayers, what you’d hear more than not would be requests for better health and prosperity.  Yet, that’s God’s goal and wish for us.

III John 2:  Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

Every rich person on earth is well aware that the universe is totally designed for him or her to prosper.  Anyone on earth can prosper if they put in the necessary heart and energy.

Matthew 5:45:  God maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

God hears every prayer, whatever the religion.  He can’t help but hear because he’s everywhere present.  Every day, people ask for better health and prosperity.  God knows our need and has already supplied.

The kicker to this equation in 3 John 2 is “even as our soul prospers.” A prospering heart is our job.  It is God’s job to heal and prosper us.  Our job is to get our hearts to prosper, by building our believing.

The entire world and universe is designed for you to have prosperity and health. It’s done!  God wishes above all things that you prosper and be in health!  He has heard the same prayers over and over since Adam and Eve a billion times in every language.  He knows what humans need and want.

Expect nothing less than complete over-abundance.  God will rain abundance upon us as we do our part.

Expect your health and prosperity to be manifest now.  ~ Mark