The Pathway To Success

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 01 May 2018 12:17:18



By dr pragya m kumar

Just when most others would think about giving up, there are a few who keep going and stay focused…till they reach their desired goal. In the final round of a sporting event, there is often little difference in the technical and physical competence of the sportspersons…the one who is mentally stronger , emerges as the winner.In the laboratory,after several successive failures it is mental toughness that keeps a scientist motivated till he succeeds. The doctor who stays on his feet for several hours at the operating table, without losing concentration and completes an eight hour surgery without any error …is another example of the powerful force called mental toughness.

Is being mentally strong a pre requisite for success?Indeed.There are numerous examples to illustrate the phenomenon. The recently concluded Common Wealth Games at Gold Coast were an exhibition of sporting excellence as well as the power of the human mind to conquer challenges. Mental toughness or grit as it is commonly addressed is an interesting concept. Undoubtedly, a healthy mind lives in a healthy body and physical fitness is an important part of a good living. There are so many gyms that promise to make the body tough by strengthening the muscles. There is an important component of being truly tough especially to deal with the challenges of the 21st century, mental toughness-confidence and resilience, acceptance of change and willingness to deal with challenges.

The idea of mental strength
The ability to control thoughts, emotions, attitude and actions under pressure sums up mental strength. Simply put it is the equivalent of grit. "The inner quality and ability that enables individuals to work hard and respond resiliently to failure and adversity and stick to their long-term passions and goals." Almost every quality (other than one’s physical attributes) that builds a foundation for the long term success of an individual, is a part of mental toughness.

“Unwillingness to give up” is visible in the tremendous effort a weightlifter puts in after two failed attempts to clinch a gold medal. “Years of giving up any pleasures that might distract“ sum up the journey of many young people who clear the UPSC or any similar exams which open the gateway to living their dreams. “Complete commitment and self belief” have meant fame and glory for so many faces that became well known as actors.“Overcoming fear” is what it takes for a soldier to beat all the stress in the face of adversity and put his life on the line, in the service of the nation …even if it means making the supreme sacrifice.

While they are focused on their long term goals as well as on developing their skills/proficiency,there is an important quality that makes successful people achieve their goals. They are not afraid of failure. They truly treat failure as a stepping stone to success. When and if they fail, mentally strong people avoid negative behaviors like feeling sorry for themselves, resenting other people’s success, and dwelling on the past. Instead, they focus on the positive to help them overcome challenges and become their best. They learn from their own experiences.

Anyone can become Mentally Tough… though that takes a lot of will power!The good news is…just like physical exercise helps build body muscles, one can become emotionally resilient and develop confidence to achieve excellence, come what may. With practice, one can regulate one’s thoughts, emotions and behavior. A publication of the Harvard Business Review offers an insight into how to “Thrive on pressure like an Olympic athlete; Manage and overcome negative emotions by acknowledging them; Plan short-term goals to achieve long-term aspirations; Surround yourself with the people who will push you the hardest; Use challenges to become a better leader; Use creativity to move past trauma; Understand the tools your mind uses to recover from setbacks.” There are several ways to develop the mental muscles and not all of them are complex. Regular adherence to these could result in a gradual transformation making a person mentally stronger:

l Practice “delayed gratification”
l Postpone rewards till you have earned them
l Take responsibility, don’t blame others.
l Be assertive learn to say “No”.
l Don’t try to please everyone all the time
l Change is a part of life, learn to deal with it.
l Treat failure as a stepping stone.
l Practice skills and develop confidence.
l Accept feedback and work on it.
l Be grateful and count blessings.
l Never give up.
l Have self belief..if you think you can,you can.
l Imagine yourself successful, your mind will seek to actualize that image.
l Surround yourself with positive people , positive ideas, a positive attitude..
l Pay attention to your habits: they are the framework that success is a product of. Give up bad habits and develop good ones.
l Eat something you may not like but is good for you…it’ll be food for a “stronger will “too.
l Find time to introspect…it may reveal a lot that keeps you down or gets you going.
While it is important to win, the mentally strong know how to look at the larger picture. A setback which would deter others propels them with renewed enthusiasm in the direction of their goals. They do not complain or fret or blame. They take responsibility and channel their energy into making the situation better. They learn to deal with the stress of competition, recovering from mistakes and failure quickly, finding strategies to deal with tough situations, collaborating with others, and above all, having self belief.The motto that drives them is When the going gets tough, the tough get going…!(The author is Psychologist & [email protected] Arunima Ankuran and can be contacted at [email protected])