One of the main objectives of mental toughness training is having the ability to convert any negative into a strong positive. This skill is not easy and takes a lot of patience, practice and insight to develop. The good news is that mental toughness mostly introspective. In other words, it’s all about how you interpret a problem. With this training, you’ll learn how to find the silver lining with each crappy situation.
Here is one of my best examples on how I was able to change a bad experience to a very positive one.
I used to be addicted to long distance running. It was main form of exercising and used to run up six days a week. After running a half marathon, my legs were tired, but I still went to run with a bunch of friends the next day. When stretching, some of the guys were single leg jumping over a bunch of boxes. I shouldn’t participated because my legs were hurting, but I couldn’t resist and had to show off my single leg jumping skills. I missed and landed very awkwardly on my right ankle. It was so painful that I had to be carried out to my carried to a car where I was taken to an emergency room. The doctor told me that I tore ligaments on three sides of the ankle and it would have been better if I would have broken the bone instead. That comment didn’t make me feel even better and just made me more like an idiot for what I did. But, the pain was nothing compared to the bad news when the doctor said it would probably be at least 6 months before I would be run again. I fell into a deep depression after that. Seriously, running was my life and thought of not being able to do it for months sent more over the deep end
To fight the overbearing sadness, I focused all my energy to rehabbing my ankle. I was so fixed to getting back to running that I religiously went to all my therapy sessions and worked my ass off to do just the simplest things like rotating my ankle without grimacing. I would bug the shit out of my physical therapist by getting there early and leaving late, always with a bunch of questions that I got from reading articles on my own from the Internet that lead me to think that I was “Mr Ankle-rehab-know-it-all”. When that didn’t feel like enough, I went home did more research and on my breaks, did more ankle exercises and stretches.
My therapist warned me that I could relapsed by overworking, but I always felt like I could do just little more. Throughout the day, when I felt my ankle was rested, I would sneak in a stretch or mobility drill here and there at my work or if was just standing around in line at the market. I got so good at it, I could have a conversation with somebody while they were completely oblivious to me secretly doing some sort of rehabilitating drill. My determination lead me to overachieved whenever I found the opportunity to do something during my awaking hours.
I was back running in six weeks, 5 months ahead of schedule.
The injury was very painful and an extremely frustrating period in my life. I wasn’t exaggerating went I went into a depression, especially during the beginning of therapy when I had serious doubts that I would ever be at hundred percent again with my running skills. But, I persevered and plowed ahead with my singular goal of running again. In retrospect, the agony I went through gave me a lifelong lesson. I wouldn’t trade this low period in my life for anything. Without sounding like a cliche, those weeks taught me that I could overcome any setback in my life, if I commit to the putting the effort behind it.This was the hidden message in the adversity.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was probably one of the pivotal points in my life that lead me to my fascination with mental toughness development. In my personal life, it’s one of the best examples of how one can benefit from turning an adversity around and making is something meaningful and positive.
When you progress in this mental toughness program, you will experience many empowering moments like this. And more importantly, you will become stronger and braver because of it.
Run a 5k or approximately three miles.
I don’t run as much as I used too since most of my training is dedicated to power training. However, when I do find the time to run, the WOD is usually a huge pain in the butt. I struggle big time. So an easy WOD in the past is now a real challenged.
The last time I did a 5k, I thought back about the time in my life when I shattered my ankle and I couldn’t run. I felt a great sense of gratitude that I could do something that was almost taking away from me. This sense of feeling grateful helped pushed me through the run.
Many of you may not have had the same rehabilitation experience like I did, but during the run, try to find a strong sense of gratitude as well. Think of aspects of your life when you weren’t healthy and couldn’t train as hard as you do now. Reflect on your past when you would give up easily and not persevere through a physical obstacle. Be specific in your self-reflection and let it motivate you and be thankful for the your ability to be able to run a 5 k.
It may be only three miles, but most people can’t even sustain a 5 k run. Trust me, most people are lazy and too out of shape to run this relative short distance.
So take pride in today’s run. Enjoy it, but more importantly, appreciate the fact that your body can do something that once you couldn’t do.