Have you ever wondered what makes mentally strong people so charismatic and confident? What makes them stand up and shout when everybody else sits down and looks away? Is it something special, or simply madness?
A lot of people will tell you that it is God-given – it’s in the blood. A rare combination of genetics and upbringing that evolves into something extraordinary, the likes of which ordinary people can only stand and marvel at.
This, however, is a lie. Actually, it’s worse than that. It’s a lazy lie.
There is no doubt that genetics and upbringing have a dramatic effect on our character. Everything we do, down to the slightest nuance or habit, is affected by this in some way. To say, however, that these mostly uncontrollable factors are the number one source of power for those people we look up to and admire is false. It is a self-perpetuated lie that serves the dual function of being a plausible excuse. An excuse that we can hide behind. One that strips us of our own potential to be someone people look up to.
Think about this honestly and you will know that it is true. In each and everyone one of us lies the dormant potential to be a hero for somebody, just as there lies to the equal potential to be the opposite.
So, if it’s not the genetics and the upbringing that make our heroes what they are then what is it?
Are you sure want to know? Once you do there’s no going back. Once you accept it you will find your heroes and your excuses are actually the same thing and you will have to destroy them both. Ok, fine.
It’s their mission.
Every single person that you look up to, without fail, has or did have a mission that defined their lives. They chose a path that meant something to who they were inside and set out on it. Some make it. Some don’t. But we remember them. To us it seems as if their lives have been picked out of the pile and thrust into the spotlight but the opposite is true. They get the spotlight because they dared boldly to choose a direction. Ultimately, what we perceive as their success or failure makes no difference. We still admire them. One of the great secrets of life is that all roads take you home when you are true to yourself.
Look at all of your sports heroes. Your actors, astronauts, entrepreneurs, religious leaders. All of them, with the exception of none, hold true to a defining mission that guides their life. It has got them to where they are today. It has sustained them when things didn’t look as if they were going to pan out.
To have a mission in life that supersedes all else is the key to the confident outward appearance that you crave and that you admire in your heroes. As a mental abstraction it is something that cannot be taken away from you, so you need never fear to lose it. This realization alone will make you mentally strong. Building on it with a set of valued principles that govern your thought, speech and behaviour is another layer that you can add, if you feel like it. Don’t be fooled into thinking anything else is needed, though. It is the mission that defines mentally strong people. It is the guts to go on because what you believe is a reflection of how you see yourself.
“Greatness is not this wonderful, esoteric, elusive, god-like feature that only the special among us will ever taste, you know? It’s something that truly exists, in all of us. It’s very simple – this is what I believe and I’m willing to die for it. Period. It’s that simple.” – Will Smith
The worst thing we can do to ourselves and our self-image is to rob our hearts and minds of a mission. To do so is to believe that the world pushes us around and we have no say in it. It is to withdraw, submit. A human without a mission becomes a faceless cog, ineffective and eventually spent. If you have no mission and no intention of getting one do not expect rewards or recognition. People will race past you. They won’t love you or sympathise with your self-made plight. On the contrary, they will despise you. Why? You are living the kind of existence they fear living themselves. They would rather spit on you and destroy you than admit that fear lives in the pit of their stomach.
Where we go from here, then, is clear. In short, you need to:
- Get a mission (something that pushes you, that takes you in a direct you always wanted to go)
- Chase it until you succeed
Don’t wait for divine intervention to choose your mission. In rare cases our surroundings do reveal it but this is the exception, not the rule. Look deep inside and choose it yourself. Ensure that it aligns with everything you consider a part of yourself. When you think of your mission you should feel empowered, unstoppable. Any nagging fear or doubt should appear as fuel for the fire. If you need further assistance with this, you should read our foolproof guide to goal setting. There are also essential goal setting methods you must use to guarantee success.
Don’t worry about failure. Mentally strong people know that failure is just part of the mission. On the highest level of mental functioning it doesn’t exist.
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford
The time is now. Do what you should have done a long time ago and destroy the pedestal you hold your heroes on. Watch your excuses dissolve and the energy of possibility to flood into your system. Enjoy it for a moment and then step out boldly, in full ownership of your mission. In almost every respect, the world is now yours.