The Only Thing Standing Between Success And Failure Is Mental Toughness

By Roz Jones

I once watched a TED talk about what separates ‘A’ students from ‘B’ students and generally why some students perform better than others. Angela Duckworth said that it’s not the talented, or intelligent that make it, it’s those students that persevered, it’s those students that tell themselves that no matter what they will succeed. She called this grit! I would like to think that this is what mental toughness is. Mental toughness is deciding to succeed against all odds, it’s what will push you when your back is against the wall and things do not seem to be working well for you. Mental toughness is what stands in between success and failure. 

The beautiful thing about life is that it does not have favorites. Challenges happen to us all and for some people, those challenges are a reason to give up and for others, they are reasons to go forward. When choosing the path of success, you are guaranteed obstacles but it is only your mental fortitude that will get you through those times. The way we think about things often makes a difference. When you have mental toughness, you condition your mind to only see success. Not that failure is non-existent but that you are focused because you know exactly what you want.

One of the definite signs that someone lacks mental toughness is a lack of focus and direction. When anything happens, you run with it and when things do not go your way you panic. Mentally tough people are focused and can put things into perspective, just because you run into some hard times it’s not a reason to throw in the towel. The mind is where the battle is, once you tell yourself that you can overcome, you certainly will, but once you think of yourself as a failure that’s exactly what you will be. Without mental toughness, any setback ceases to be seen as an opportunity for growth and progress but as a hindrance that stops you from going for the things that you want.

Success is an issue of mind over matter. It does not choose where you come from or who you are, it is all lodged in the mind. A tough mind possesses strong self-belief. Most people do not believe in themselves; they believe everything else just not themselves. You can achieve anything as long as you believe that you can. Success is for believers, people who believe in themselves and what they can do. 

After every cloud, there is a silver lining. We have heard this quite too many times. The hardest thing though is that during the storm when the clouds are gathering you cannot see any better. When you go through tough times as an individual, everything you have heard or know goes out the window and all your focus is on fixing the problem. The challenge is that when the storm drags on, naturally we give up. This is not true for people with mental toughness. They understand that tough times do not last. This is the true attribute needed to make it in life. Knowing that no matter how much the troubling times, a day will come when that silver lining will appear. Mental toughness begets perseverance and patience, understanding that ‘not now’, does not equate to ‘not ever’. A day will come and all the work and the sacrifice will come in handy.

Mental toughness is truly the separator between success and failure. It all rises and falls on our thought patterns and the things we believe to be true about ourselves. Without mental toughness when the rigorous tempests of life come, we throw in the towel on issues that could have led us to a better tomorrow. Your success or failure in life depends on you as an individual, you become what you think. When your mind is strong, you think positively, you think like a winner, but with a weak mind, you can flee at the first sight of trouble.

Sometimes You Must Suffer To Grow

By Roz Jones

Almost everyone loves a comfortable life and some will do anything and everything in their power to get it. It is for such reasons that we bribe our way out of some challenges and take shortcuts if the route to where we want to go seems long and presents countless obstacles. But what happens when we become too comfortable and don’t face challenges? Not make people comfortable in their failures and struggles but hey, they say a smooth sea does not make a skilled sailor and we will find out why.

It is not without a reason that people are being encouraged to get out of their comfort zones. As previously highlighted, as humans we long for a life of comfort, and who can blame us? Challenges can drain life and energy out of a person. We want peace, certainty, safety, and all the good things we can get. However, when we get too comfortable, we become content with who we are and what we have and, growth is slowed down or there is none at all. There is even the possibility of growing backward. 

There are various reasons why we suffer including our own choices and those of others. Whatever the reason, you get to grow in some or all of the following ways;

Suffering pushes you out of your comfort zone – it leaves you no choice but to do something to change your life. Some people are doing well in life because they vowed to themselves that they will not continue living in the poverty they grew up in. Maybe it is even safe to conclude that if some people had suffered enough, they would be leading better lives than they do now. This includes choices in relationships, academic performance, career choices, and job selection among other things. People tend to relax when they know or think they still have more options other than to get out of their comfort zones and do their best. Sometimes it is only when we have suffered that we become more willing to consider other options rather than stick to what we have always wanted.

Makes you stronger – most people who have gone through various kinds of suffering are stronger than those who have known comfort all their lives and just a few ‘nice life problems’. As you go from one challenge to another, you get to realize that crying and anxiety are a waste of time and energy. No matter what you are going through, a solution will come sooner or later. Spending time drowning in your sorrows only takes away more from you because you cannot think straight, you have all your energies focused on the problem which makes you less productive or desperation gets you going out of your way to find a solution. It is often people who have gone through the worst who are often there for others and are able to remain sane even where there is seemingly no hope.

Improves decision making – sometimes we suffer because of the poor decisions we or others make. Suffering the consequences puts us in a position where we try by all means to avoid going through the same things or causing others to experience the same. For example, some have suffered because of their parent’s or their own poor financial choices while others have spent their childhood in a home that lacked love and affected them in a way. The experiences can be the reason they decide to handle finances differently and aim to provide a better home for their children.

Broadens your understanding – suffering improves your thinking capacity helps you see life in a way you never would have seen it if all you had known was comfort. You get to understand your place in life and how you can be useful in your journey. In other terms, you learn to see beyond your space and interests.

Become the Toughest Version Of Yourself

By Roz Jones

Often, when we dream of being better people or improving our lives we think of our finances. We want to have enough money to afford cars, houses, holidays and all the nice things in life. Would that be enough or even possible if we did not have inner strength? Without being the toughest versions of ourselves? Toughness is one of the things we barely give thought to and when we do, it is often when we are cornered. We try to be tough when we are left without any other choice. As caregivers, this happens all too often because of the amount we take on.

We often associate being tough with having muscles, masculinity, a serious face, being inflexible, or being mean to others and the likes. Those are some of the most common connotations, but, does being mean, having muscles, masculinity, inflexibility, and keeping a straight face make you mentally tough? You can be all those things and still be ‘weak.’

It is important to note that we can never achieve perfection. The world around us and our situations keep changing, and will continue to do so. Therefore, we will need to either keep up or stay ahead to survive and remain relevant. To walk the path we dream of without wavering, we need our inner strength to match our dreams and purpose. We must be brave, determined, and focused among other things. We must be able to conquer your fears, doubts, and other weaknesses to be able to stand up against the world and reign. You need to be willing to keep growing and becoming a better person than you were yesterday.

To become the toughest version of yourself, you need to equip yourself in the following ways;

Work on your mental health – Your mental health is everything. The greater part of your being depends on it. Being mentally healthy is mostly about maintaining a positive state of mind. Your mental state determines your perceptions and how you respond to external pressures. If you are mentally strong, every other form of toughness is just a bonus. Mentally healthy people know how to choose their battles, are confident, are emotionally intelligent (control their emotions rather than being controlled by emotions), are strong-willed, and are not easily derailed from their main goal. A positive state of mind allows you to be in control of your life and enables you to make good decisions. As caregivers this is particularly important when facing fears.

Stay physically healthy – There is a connection between physical and mental health. Poor mental health puts one at risk of physical health and vice-versa. Also, you find satisfaction in your ability to conceive an idea and also be the one to execute it or see it through. You easily achieve goals and learn more when you are directly involved in making decisions as to how things should be done. Therefore, ensure that you exercise to stay fit, strong, and energized. It also helps you refresh your mind and relieve stress. One of the most important aspects of physical health that you need to prioritize is eating healthy. Your choice of food has immediate and long-term effects. Eat food that will help you stay alert and energized throughout the day while ensuring that you won’t be affected in the long run. 

Improve your skills – We live in a competitive world, all while being required to work with a team. It is not enough to acquire a skill and end there. Become the best possible. You do not want to feel like you are not as good as your peers, nor do you want to be the weakest link in your team. Being good at what you do gives you confidence and makes it easier for your voice to be heard. With good skills and the will to continue learning you will be respected and unstoppable as a professional.

Show love – They say ‘love conquers all’. It empowers you, while it denies entry points to anyone who wishes to be enemies with you. When the negative energy sent your way is met with love, the enemy is disempowered and it will not be long before they run out of plots. Choosing love helps maintain positivity, focus on that rather than focusing on unnecessary fights. Build meaningful relationships whenever possible. Love will most likely earn you respect and win people’s hearts. You will always need people on your side, especially when things get tough. 

Build a strong support system – Even the most mentally stable people do go through tough situations. They lose hope and get close to giving up. It always helps to have people who will give you the support you need to get back your strength. As a caregiver, this support system is exponentially more important for you because you cannot do this alone!

Refuse To Quit When All Others Give In

By Roz Jones

There are times when throwing in the towel seems like the reasonable next step. You look around you and you cannot ignore the evidence. The situation is tough. The support has dwindled. Hope seems too distant to carry you back to faith in the dream. Looking to the surrounding people does not offer comfort. They are also in such hopeless situations that they, too, are giving up. Quitting seems safe and logical.

In such moments, refuse to give in like everyone else. While their dreams are out of their reach and they decide to settle for comfortable pursuits like a boring desk job or relationship, you do not have to suffer the same fate. 

Sometimes it is good to take cues from your friends and peers, but your dreams are your own. Their failure and the circumstances that cause them to give up are unique to them in their own journey. Your story could be different. It may not call you to quit. Maybe the circumstances that surround you are there to help you dig deep within yourself for the strength you never knew you had. There is hope for you yet, and it is clothed in mental toughness.

Reasons people give up on their dreams.

Many people are relentless in building their vision, but they lack the adequate planning and execution to get things done. We get excited at the prospect of the vision, but sometimes, we are too hasty. We go in without a contingency plan. The frustration that results from each setback ruins our mojo. We lose confidence in the dream. 

Other people have the right dream and fool-proof plans, but lack the conviction they need for take-off. They lack confidence in their ability to bring the vision to life.

Another reason people give up is because they lack the patience it takes to reach their goal. They want instantaneous results. When they do not see them in a couple of weeks, they decide it is not worth pursuing and move on to the next dream. Nothing of value springs up overnight. Even flowers bloom in season, no matter how much you water and nourish them. You cannot skip your way up Kilimanjaro. It requires one patient step at a time to get to the top. 

People also do not know how to handle failure. When they encounter setbacks, they obsess over them instead of working around them. They beat themselves up over one misstep instead of finding their footing. Failure becomes a label they wear around them instead of a season to draw lessons from as they carry on with the journey.

Quitting is inevitable to people who refuse to adapt to change. Rigidity will cause you to break under the pressures of life. Many are reluctant to change tact when things are not going well. They would rather be stubborn and hold on to what is not working because anything outside of their plan is too intimidating.

Why you should not give up on yourself.

There is no guarantee of success on the first or second try, or even on the hundredth. Thomas Edison is living proof of that. So is Albert Einstein. No one hands success to you on a silver platter. You have to work for it. 

There are rewards for those who are persistent. Those who do not take no for an answer. When you apply a stubborn attitude to a tough moment, it will yield tremendous success. Do not give up on yourself just because everyone else has. No matter how bleak the situation gets, there is always hope for recovery.

Not giving up will have a great impact on your future. It may even touch lives around you. There are those whose destinies are linked to yours. Do not let them suffer the consequences of you giving up on your dreams. 

How to resist the urge to quit.

Sure, the season may be tough. Everyone around you may be quitting. Those you trust to support you may lack faith in the dream. They can even encourage you to try something else; something that is not challenging enough to put you in the path of failure. There are few ways that can help you stay strong and not quit.

Keep the vision close.

Start with the end in mind. Whenever you visualize the completion of your dream, you are building resistance against failure. Each time you paint a picture of success, there is motivation to attain it. You do the work better knowing there is a goal in mind.

Develop a winning attitude.

A winning mindset will get you far. It will not let your vocabulary revolve around quitting. People who win affirm themselves. They build confidence by constantly telling themselves that they will not give up. Have the same attitude. Refuse to take no for an answer.

Believe that a delay is not denial.

Good things come to those who wait.

Patience will always build resilience. When you know that success does not happen overnight, you will not quit when things seem to go slower than you expected. Instead, you will exercise caution and plan for the next endeavor or spend more time revising the plan.

Do not worry over what you cannot fix.

Constant worry over what you cannot control will drive you to quit. Accept that there are certain things that you cannot prevent in your journey. Failure is one of them. People’s actions and attitudes are another. People may ridicule your dream. You cannot control them or govern what they will do. What you have control over is your response to them. If your dream is something you believe in, worry only about achieving it.

People will walk away from their dreams. They will quit to avoid being hurt, disappointed or embarrassed. You do not have to join them. Fight for your dream. When they quit, show your loyalty to your dream by refusing to give up.

Caring for Elderly Parents

By Roz Jones

Joanne’s mother, Betty, had rheumatoid arthritis for years.  Suddenly and unexpectedly, Betty was disabled by the pain, fatigue and limited mobility that she had feared since her diagnosis.  

Joanne convinced her fiercely independent mother that living alone was no longer an option. Joanne, the eldest of four children, knew that caring for her sick mother fell on her shoulders.  Joanne was a legend in the circles of her family, friends and colleagues for her ability to act with grace under pressure.

Joanne took two weeks of vacation from her job to cook and freeze meals for her husband and three children before she flew to her hometown to assist her mother. Joanne wondered how she would coordinate her mother’s care from a distance. Supporting her husband as he built his new business, nurturing her kids and directing a major project at work already made her feel that she was running on empty.  

You may relate to Joanne’s story.  One out of every four Americans cares for a friend or relative who is sick, disabled, or frail. That’s 46 million Americans who offer unpaid help to a loved one.  If they were paid caregivers’ compensation would exceed last year’s Medicare budget! Also like Joanne, you become a caregiver, and try to do it alone, shrouded in secrecy. 

Solo caregiving compromises your ability to nurture yourself and others. Let’s take caregiving out from behind closed doors.  For your sake and the sake of those who count on you, please get help. Caregivers are competent people who feel that they should be able to do this job.  Yet, many soon find themselves unprepared and ill-equipped to manage the sometimes daunting tasks, such as managing a complex medical regimen, remodeling a house so it’s wheel-chair accessible, or even finding someone to stay with their loved ones so they can go out to a movie without worrying their relatives will fall on the way to the fridge.

If you are a caregiver, you know that this act of love has its costs.  You stand to forfeit up to $650,000 in lost wages, pension and social security.  Add to that is the personal cost to your well-being, as your new demands leave you less time for your family and friends.  You may give up vacations, hobbies and social activities.  Finally, caregiving places a burden on your health.  Caregivers are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, depressed immune function and even hospitalization.

Instead of reaching out, caregivers become isolated.  Many who assume the caregiving burden fit the profile of the giving family member, like Joanne, who does not want to trouble others with their problems.  Some fear the consequences of disclosing their new demands to coworkers or employers. Caregivers are further challenged by the cultural conspiracy of silence.  Our youth-centered society turns a blind eye to the unpleasant and inevitable reality that all of us age and die.  This leaves both caregivers and care recipients unprepared.  Look no further than the path of Hurricane Katrina to witness the consequences of a lack of planning.

What can you do?  Start talking about the “what ifs” and make a plan.  If you aren’t sure where to start, I am here to help! Book a Family Caretaker Help Session and leave our meeting with your care plan in hand!