Mental Toughness in a Weak-Minded Age
Your mind is the most valuable asset you have. Training it, honing it, and mastering it has long been considered a pathway to a more fulfilled, balanced life. Mental toughness used to be a prerequisite to living – now it seems like far too many people are running on autopilot, willing to throw away their awareness and autonomy for false peace of mind and numbness from any outside stimuli.
Thinking too much is an inconvenience in a world that doesn’t take very kindly to intelligence and even facts. We’re living in an anti-scientific, opinion-orientated, weak-minded age.
What can you do to overcome it?
Stop Identifying With Your Weaknesses
It’s become something of a trend to identify with your weaknesses rather than your strengths. This is because in a mentally-weak society ruled by the ego, crutches are valued over willpower and ability.
Rather than taking responsibility for actions and thoughts, it is now common to see people take solace in their own weaknesses. This is mentally debilitating, and as you should know, the body follows the mind. Physical apathy and lethargy are due in part to a weak, unbalanced mind.
Nothing good can come from you identifying with your illnesses and hangups, yet this practice is so common now in society it is never questioned. People write in their social media bios that they are “gluten intolerant,” “ADHD,” and even “unstable,” as if these things are a part of who they are, a part of their identity.
Is it any wonder why so many people are trapped in cycles of weakness and despondency?
Weaknesses have become badges of honor. People exchange them as forms of bonding and energy vamping. “Oh, you’re only allergic to peanuts? I can’t eat berries, soy, or gluten, and I take iron supplements for my thin blood.”
This kind of backward, ego-driven behavior has become the norm, and it is quite disturbing. Even a rudimentary understanding of the mind would tell you that this kind of defeatist identification can actually impede the body from healing, and even distort the lenses with which you use to view reality.
On a deeper level, people are internalizing these identifiers, which create needy and desperate egos that survive off of their host being in a constant state of victimization.
You are not your illnesses. You are not your allergies. You are not your habits. You are not your vices. Stop internalizing random and meaningless biological states and take responsibility for your own thoughts and the health of your body.
Every time you “own” an illness or disease, you help to reinforce its existence inside of you. Subconsciously, you are constructing thought patterns that will literally tell your cells that harboring the illnesses is okay, that it is a part of who you are.
The same goes for habits, shortcomings, and other forms of limitation. You never want to associate who you are with any kind of limitation, out of your control or otherwise. It doesn’t matter if you are actually a victim of circumstance – there is no point whatsoever in identifying with such a position, and doing so will weaken your psyche and make you easier to be manipulated and ran over.
This is not always something that people like to hear. We have made a kind of victim culture, where weakness is lauded and to attempt thinking contrary to a victim mindset is taboo. This way of existing is lecherous and psychically damaging. Not only are you telling yourself on a deep level that you are flawed, broken, not good enough, or diseased, you spread this mentality to other people, who must cope with your energy vamping behaviors.
Reclaiming Your Wellness and Personal Peace
The good news is, this defeatist cycle of weakness and false identification is easy to overcome. That is, if you dare to break out of the mold and take the necessary steps.
It has become something of a cultural practice to let everyone have bubbles of narcissism, where they can construct personal realities for themselves how they see fit. These spheres of delusion that surround people interact with each other, creating endless chains of co-dependency, depression, and shame.
There’s nothing natural about identifying with an illness or being proud that you are allergic to peanuts. There’s nothing right in making excuses for a negative way of life, or trying to “out do” other people by trying to make yourself out to be more of a victim than everyone else.
Not everyone is ready to take the steps necessary to obtain wellness, because they aren’t ready for that wake up call.
People these days are so entrenched in a narcissistic way of life that to stop identifying with their illnesses and problems, would mean giving up a large swath of their entire identity. Some create whole lives around playing the victim card, vamping energy in the form of pity from others, constructing layers of false ideas and beliefs that have nothing to do with reality, all for the sake of upholding a worldview that sustains their identity.
You have to let that all go. No, you’re not special because you have a chemical imbalance. No one owes you anything because you made bad life decisions or society didn’t take care of you properly. The first step you must take if you want to live free, overcome your weaknesses, and actually start enjoying life to its fullest, is taking responsibility for your Self, in every way, shape, and form imaginable.
This means that you must start identifying with you. Not your illnesses, not your problems, not even your “lot in life.” You have to overcome trite physical happenstance and care more about your own personal well-being on an holistic level.
Your health and the general environment you cultivate around you depends on having a mind that actually functions as it was meant to function. Not as a cage, but as your vehicle of understanding and communicating with the world around you. That includes interpreting your Self properly, not associating with the ego or any of its constructs, and not relying on subpar opinions, “views,” and ideologies.
Freeing the Mind Through Physical Discipline
One of the most time-honored ways of unlocking the potential of the mind, regulating and balancing brain chemistry, and promoting overall holistic wellness, is physical discipline. This is more than just going to the gym a few times a week for a run on a treadmill or even lifting a weight or two.
You have to embark on meaningful discipline that not only touches a few muscle groups, but hones that core and works the entire body purposefully.
Two of the most effective means of doing this are yoga and martial arts.
In the beginning of such practices, it is tradition to perform what appears to be menial tasks of manual labor. In ancient times, working the land and performing various duties with your body was necessary to sustain your existence, just like every other animal on the planet. Martial arts and yoga, seek in part, to replicate what we would be doing in the wild, in order to encourage natural and harmonic body chemistry and metabolism.
Indulge in meaningful labor. Rake leaves, work a garden, help build a shed, sweep your deck, even vacuum – but do so mindfully. Be in the moment, allow yourself to feel and connect with your body. Create a positive habit out of this work. This is the beginning of discipline.
Another way in which the ancient arts help you cultivate discipline is by way of the kata. Certain yoga poses perform similar functions.
Learn to still the mind and listen to the body, as you perform slow, fluid, purposeful, and powerful physical movements. Undertaken for extended periods of time, this creates a sound mind.
The body wants to return to a state of balance. It is always seeking this balance. Martial discipline allows the mind to let go of any trappings it may have, because it encourages focus on what’s real rather than ego-constructs, and naturally regulates body chemistry.
Another issue that many in our society face is simply that there is not enough arduous physical activity in general. You cannot have a healthy, properly functioning body and mind if all you do all day is sit at a computer, stress out about manufactured problems, and watch TV, all without lifting a finger to work any part of your body.
Regardless of what you may think of physical activity, the fact remains that we are animals, and we are biologically designed to strenuously use our bodies all day long for our entire lives. When this natural stress isn’t put on our bodies, they break down. Body chemistry and metabolism slows. Muscle mass deteriorates. Organs get weaker and less toned. Bones become more brittle. Joints get less supple. Premature aging and mental imbalances set in.
Is it any wonder why so many people in our society are sick? We have created a lifestyle that promotes disease and unbalance.
Seek to discipline your body and the mind will follow.
A Word About Connecting With Nature
You’re not going to be mentally tough and able to take on life’s challenges if you limit your exposure to difficult situations or anything that puts healthy stress on your body and is therefore able to regulate your body chemistry and help you form healthy views on the natural world.
For me, I didn’t see my training take off and my mentality truly shift until I cultivated a relationship with nature. Going to a gym is great and all, and it has its benefits, but sometimes you have to put aside all of that and reconnect with what’s real.
Doing katas outside and using nature as your training ground is a mind-sculpting practice. You breathe in the real and exhale the false pretenses of the mind. You are able to use trees to harden your palms, you can grip the soil of the earth with your feet and really feel what it’s like to be properly grounded.
Do not let the elements deter you. This is another facet of cultivating mental toughness. I can’t count how many times I opted to train in light rain or when it was relatively cold outside. Animals have no problem doing this, and neither should we.
When your in the middle of a field doing katas or advanced yoga for an hour or two in the cold, your body and mind will really tell you what’s important, and I guarantee it won’t be the trappings of this society. Your blood pumping furiously, your adrenaline, your heightened senses, your clearer head, will show you a different side of yourself that you may not have previously known existed.
In those moments you are getting in touch with the real you, not the one burdened by easily curable diseases, chemical imbalances, and societal labels.
You owe it to yourself to rise above.
Get out, connect with nature, strengthen your body and mind, and stop being a victim in your own life.