Mental toughness is one of the most critical aspects of becoming a special forces operator. If you don’t have the mental fortitude and resilience to cope with demanding, high-pressure situations, you won’t make it as an operator. If you want to enter the ranks of the world’s most formidable warriors, you must have an unbreakable mind and character.
Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. Because a person’s psychology is unique to them, it’s challenging to identify the specific techniques and strategies you can use to forge mental toughness. Luckily, Operators Association is here to help! Last week, we showed you How to Build Discipline Like a Marine. This time, we’ll be giving you a few strategies to help you get started with building mental toughness.
Take The Path of Most Resistance
Taking the path of most resistance simply means doing hard things on purpose. Essentially, you can start building mental toughness by consciously choosing to make your life more difficult, uncomfortable, and inconvenient. This is one of the best ways to begin immediately forging mental toughness.
Start by making your daily routines and tasks more demanding than they need to be. Do you begin your day by taking a shower? Start using the coldest water you can. Do you take an elevator to get to your apartment? From now on, exclusively take the stairs. By incorporating small doses of discomfort into your daily life, you harden your mind and build a natural resistance to struggle. After doing this for several weeks, you will become much more willing to endure difficulty and hardship in order to achieve your goals.
Set Goals and Attack Them
The next step to creating mental toughness is to set goals and aggressively pursue them. This is a critical part of the operator mindset and will help you get used to planning and executing objectives. In the special forces, operators are always setting goals and looking for new ways to defeat the enemy.
By setting goals and tracking your progress towards them, you receive instant feedback on your performance. Are you getting closer to your goals? If not, start working harder and doing more; there are no excuses. One of the first steps to building mental fortitude is being able to honestly identify your shortcomings and hold yourself accountable for them.
Define Your Principles
Why do you want to join the military? Are you doing it for your country, your family, or because you want to fight for freedom? Identifying your principles, beliefs, and the things that matter to you is critical to forging mental toughness. When you find what motivates you and what you believe in, you can craft an unbreakable identity that doesn’t depend on the approval of others.
Determine your top three principles and write them down in a place where you’ll see them every day. Center your life and decisions around them, whether they include work ethic, honor, freedom, family, faith, or anything else.
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Surround Yourself With Winners
If you are the best person in the room, you need to find another room. Many people surround themselves with less effective, weaker people to make themselves feel better. This results in an echo chamber of weakness that restricts mental growth. If you want to start building your mental toughness, surround yourself with people who are better than you. Whether they are ahead of you professionally, financially, or physically, you should always be trying to catch up to them. In essence, they should always make you feel slightly insecure about where you are – like you should be doing more.
This doesn't mean that you should abandon your weaker friends, family, and loved ones, but be wary of their influence on you. Try to encourage and inspire them to start improving their own lives, but be able to identify when they are starting to weigh you down.