The common denominator of success — the secret of success of every person who has ever been successful — lies in the fact that they formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.
— Albert E.N. Grey
No matter what you want to accomplish in life, it’s going to involve discomfort:
A great career or business requires hard work.
A healthy body needs exercise and foods you don’t necessarily like.
Meaningful relationships need vulnerability and compromises.
In fact, anything worthwhile often requires that you do what you don’t want to do.
And that can be hard.
But it doesn’t have to be.
I used to take my thoughts very seriously. Whenever one of them popped into my head, I’d immediately identify with it and perceive it as the “truth.”
If a thought told me I was tired and bored, I’d immediately look for a way out.
Because of that, I don’t take my thoughts as seriously as I used to.
And that, in turn, has made a huge difference in my subsequent behavior and the results I get.
These days, when my mind tells me I’m restless and should do something else, I simply thank it for the suggestion and then get back to the task at hand.
It’s never the discomfort that stops you; it’s how you perceive the discomfort.
You can assign whatever meaning you want to discomfort.
I used to believe it was a signal that I should stop.
These days, I believe it’s a signal that I should keep going.
I’ve decided that anytime I feel discomfort, that just means I’ve stepped into my mental gym and that it’s time for my mental resistance training.
Willpower is a lot like muscle power. The more you exercise it, the stronger it will get.
If you practice it for an extended period of time, you can change your behavior around completely.
You’ll be able to do what others dread doing and to stay away from things that others can’t resist doing.
That level of self-control is exactly what’s needed to become a remarkable person and create extraordinary results.
So, how do you get started?
He who sweats more in training bleeds less in war.
— Spartan Warrior Creed
The best way to practice mental resistance training is through voluntary hardship. Here are a few examples:
These are just a few ideas to help you come up with your personal mental resistance training.
The important thing is that you choose one and commit to it.
And just like in a physical gym, you don’t want to use the heaviest weights right away.
There’s no point getting overwhelmed or injured.
If your willpower muscle is weak right now, it’s perfectly fine to start by making your bed each morning. Or reading one page in a book. Or flossing one tooth.
If you’re thinking to yourself right now; “I’m not the kind of person who practices voluntary discomfort,” be very mindful of the fact that this is the same voice you want to take control over.
Don’t take it as literal truth. Remember — it’s just a suggestion. And it’s entirely within your power what you do with that suggestion.
If you choose to take action despite what your mind is telling you, it holds no power over you.
You can decide to perceive discomfort as mental resistance training from this moment forward.
And each time you push through the resistance, you’ll notice that you’ll get a little bit stronger.
If you stick to the practice consistently, with time, it’ll become second nature to do what you don’t want to do.
You’ll become a relentless action-taker.
And that’s when you can turn your most desired goals into reality.
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Patrik Edblad is a certified mental trainer and writer. He helps people use research-backed strategies to become healthier, happier and more productive at Selfication.com. Grab your free copy of his book The Science of Willpower: Proven Strategies to Beat Procrastination & Get Big Things Done.
|Even if you seem to “get” what you want in the short term, the motivation and manipulation behind it will circle back to bite you. Immediately following your “get” will be a wave of buyer’s remorse, followed by feelings of anger and betrayal. This is not how you want to build a living. It is not how you want to build a brand or a career. It is not how you want to build a life. Walking around constantly trying to figure out how to “get” people to do things.
A far better, more sustainable, conscious and elevating approach, one that is steeped in longer-term relationships, generosity and value, is about not “getting” people to do something, but rather creating an experience of such generosity, value and delight that they “yearn” to participate in it. To contribute, to connect, to consume, to share, to stand in the story you’re telling and help bring others into it.
Not because you “got” them to do something, but because you created something so appealing they couldn’t not do it.
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So, when you’re writing copy for launches, subject lines for emails, brand stories for products, services and companies and descriptions for offerings…
When you’re crafting positioning, marketing, advertising and sales. When you’re developing values, missions, visions, structures and process…
Take the word “get” off the table and lead, instead, with “give, delight, invite.”
By the way, part of the reason it’s fresh in my mind is because I realized that a small, but alarming bit of “get mentality” had found its way into my own creation and marketing efforts. When you’re creating vast amounts of language, launching new things and making decisions under unforgivable time-constraints, that tends to be when the siren taunt of “get” most easily lures you in.
It’s easier to yield to the pull of smallness when you’re in the distorting heat of the cauldron.
When everything’s on the line.
But, that’s also the moment it’s most critical to hold fast to your values. Because, the pressure of any given situation may not be optional. But, whether it deepens or dissolves your commitment to integrity, that’s where the work lies.
I just keep reminding myself, in business and life, in the way I contribute to the world, I want to live from a place of generosity and grace, not grasping and greed.
That’s my work. Our work. The work.
I hope you’ll join me.
About the Author: Jonathan Fields is a dad, husband, author, speaker, A-list blogger and serial wellness-industry entrepreneur. Fields writes about entrepreneurship and creativity at www.JonathanFields.com and interviews emerging world-shakers at www.GoodLifeProject.com. His latest book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel For Brilliance, was named the #1 personal development book of 2011 by 800-CEO-Read.
Q: There is so much to do and no one to be accountable to when trying to start an online business. How do you stay on top of everything when it seems so overwhelming. Also, I follow everything from you and Mark Ford. But how do you get a mentor when starting out and you don’t have the money to pay for them? – Nate