No matter your virtue, no matter your ambition and no matter your best efforts, trouble and difficulty are on the way. Some of these challenges will be serious and some of them will simply be the daily frustrations of life. Some of them will be one time annoyances and some of them will be a relentless thorn in your side.
Especially if you are a man on the move and breaking new ground, there will always be some flak coming at you. This is just the natural order. Men of action and men who are pursuing excellence will simply have to learn how to handle more.
You should expect this to be the case and accept that it will never end. There is no point in a man’s life where he will be given the golden key. There is no permanent respite, life will always be there to try and knock you back, knock you down or even knock you out.
No one is immune. And whether you did all the right things or had all the best intentions has nothing to do with it. We are on this planet to face challenges and you will be tested. Other people, circumstances and even your own faults will seemingly conspire against you.
Having a Life Mission is the primary key to maintaining perspective. Pursuing a meaningful purpose in your life is vital to remaining motivated in the face of obstacles. And being an optimist and having the courage of your convictions will certainly help you to rise above it all. These are conscious decisions you should make to propel your life forward.
But in the heat of the daily battle, a man needs some immediate street level tools to push through. Even the highest of ideals and ambitions can seem like mere platitudes when you are in the thick of it. Fatigue, frustration and the unexpected can wear on a man. None of us are made of steel. None of us are invincible.
So let us discuss the mental framework necessary succeed in your endeavors and rise above it all as much as man can do. Reflect on the material below and then make a conscious decision to train your mind for resilience and stamina.
Become indomitable in the trials of daily life.
Ignore Your Emotions
Ideally, we would all be able to avail ourselves of bulletproof objective perception when life becomes difficult. Marcus Aurelius—the Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher—has set the standard for us all to strive for with these famous words from his journal, Meditations:
This is easier said than done, however. None of us are robots. It is very difficult right out of the gate to acquire purely objective perception. But simply making the idea a priority will begin the process of reprogramming your mind. You cannot expect to be perfect, but the more you make a conscious decision to remain as objective as possible, the easier it will become.
Our minds are unique in the universe in that they are self directed. The brain can teach itself and transform of its own volition. The modern term for this ability is neuroplasticity. Just as you can train your body to acquire physical skills and increase its performance, so can you train your mind.
However, there is much, much more leverage available in the mind. As I like to say, your brain is second only to your soul as a gift from the Creator. Recognize this gift and always train your mind to become better. There is no limit or stopping point. Remember this.
Regardless of where you stand in your quest for objective perception, make your emotional state irrelevant. Never mind your feelings. Keep moving toward what is right. You do not need to “feel good” to take care of what needs to be done. Do it anyway.
Let proper action lead your emotions instead of the other way around. Realize that inspiration is not always the beginning—most of the time it is not. Let your actions lead to inspiration. This is how a man of character carries himself.
Make this a habit. Do it enough times and you will learn to overcome. Eventually it will become easier and easier to put your body and mind into an active and productive state. Over time you will develop the confidence you can handle it all. This will put you at ease with life and it will develop your resilience.
And in those cases where there might not be a final solution, where it continues to hurt like hell, take action anyway. Keep up the good fight. Keep pressing on. Sometimes that’s all you can do. Sometimes that’s just the way it is. This is what men do. We handle things and we get things done, no matter the mental torment.
Make your emotions irrelevant.
Recognize the Challenge
As you read the content in this article you are preparing yourself to rise above the fray of day to day life. Action will lead to more action and action will lead to inspiration. The goal is to perform at a higher level in all respects; to become the very best you can be.
As you persist in becoming a better man you will push yourself. Each day will be met head on with energy and verve. But as time rolls on, life will continue with its never ending supply of problems and obstacles. Some of them will be big and some of them will be small. But this is to be expected. You are aware of this now.
Many of these issues will simply be minor frustrations and you will handle them with ease. Especially when this post is still fresh in your mind, you will impress yourself with your new mental fortitude. Momentum will be your ally.
And if you press on and continue to take action in your life, obstacles which would have previously caused some distress will be routinely overcome. You will get better at taking care of business. Your mental toughness will continue to improve and your new mindset will instill a new level of confidence. No matter what comes at you, you will handle it.
You will learn to recognize that all barriers, obstacles, difficult circumstances and difficult people are really just a set of challenges to be overcome; nothing more and nothing less. You are on your way to objective perception. You will learn to reframe everything as a challenge. It will become a reflex.
But then some day it will happen. You will be completely knocked off your feet. Whatever it is will be completely unexpected and perhaps even an existential crisis—a Life Storm. The mental torment will be deeply personal and very debilitating; like nothing you’ve ever experienced. It will be dark, heavy and perhaps even challenge everything you believe.
Your steel curtain of objective perception will be shattered. This is normal. None of us are Superman.
The key to a solution or even just survival at this point is going back to fundamentals. As meaningless as it may seem at the time, you will need to reconfigure your situation as a challenge just as you have always done. Doing so might seem simplistic, heartless and inappropriate, but then sometimes this is all you can do. If anything, at least it’s a starting point.
And then once again, you will ignore your emotions and move forward. What choice do you have? Even the best of us will get hammered by life at some point. This is your time. This is your test. It is supposed to hurt like hell. You are no different than anyone else. The difference is only in how you will handle it.
Justify your life and make the Creator proud.
– Willing acceptance—now, at this very moment—of all external events.
Willing acceptance is the complement to objective perception; they are two sides of the same coin.
With objective perception the goal is to strip down events, problems and circumstances to their component parts as much as possible; to not let your biases and emotions distort reality. The focus is on internal constructs. A conscious effort is to be made within your thinking to maintain objectivity. You do have full control over your perception.
Becoming adept at objective perception will keep you in tune with reality. It will allow you to plan for right action with the best possible chance for success. This is a skill that can be learned and improved upon with a conscious decision to do so. You are learning to overcome internal bias and mental weakness.
However, even with objective perception there can be a tendency to spend tremendous mental energy seeking the justification behind difficult events and bad behavior. It seems like it’s human nature to want to know the reason or “why” behind the many of the trials in life.
And sometimes this is a good thing. If investigation and reflection can help to solve or prevent a problem, then by all means make the effort. But most often in life, people, circumstances and problems just are. There are a lot of moving parts in this world and a lot of negative things are simply going to happen. There is no real justification for them—at least in terms of making things better.
Bad people will do bad things. People will make mistakes. Accidents will happen. Unforeseen events will occur. Things will simply fall apart, despite the most careful planning.
When things do go wrong external to your own mind, the best place to start is with Willing Acceptance. There is no sense in spending any mental effort seeking the why behind some event if it will not prevent another occurrence.
Make it a point to just accept life as it comes. This doesn’t mean you should just roll over and do nothing about it. But it does mean you will not waste any mental energy in anguish over the obstacles and difficulties that will come your way.
You will willingly accept these external events, employ objective internal perception and then take the appropriate action.
Embracing the concept of willing acceptance will help with your resilience and stamina. It will give you peace of mind. Things are what they are. Good or bad. Why waste any effort beyond that?
Make a deliberate effort to control and develop your mind. Do not accept internal weakness.
But then do the opposite with external events. Willingly accept them as they are and save yourself the unnecessary mental turmoil.
And then break your challenges down into their component parts and move hard to solve them.
Willing acceptance and objective perception will do you no good without the courage to take action.
Many obstacles and difficulties in life will temp you to take the easy way out. There will be pressure, anxiety and duress. Life can also be very confusing. It can pin prick you to death. It can pile on. And it can blind side you.
It will take courage to stand up, be consistent and pursue what is right.
It is not enough to only know what is right. You must also have the backbone to pull the trigger on what needs to be done. Whether it is a matter of virtue or simply a matter of principle, right action must be consistently applied in a man’s life.
You will need the courage of your convictions to do so. And you will need to set your limits and set your boundaries.
If you have your beliefs and principles set in stone it will make it much easier to do what needs to be done. There will be less tendency to waver. There will be a defining purpose behind your courage to take consistent action.
If it happens at some point that you are at a loss as to how to proceed, then take a step back. Decide on what is right or simply set your principles as best you can. And then gather your courage and take action.
The most difficult part is not just gathering the courage once, but standing firm for as long as it takes. Life and people have a way of trying to break you down. They will wear on a man. Trouble and weakness in people seem to have no end. They are insidious.
The answer is to develop your mental toughness, set your principles and be ready to apply them every day. Courage is a quality that is not only necessary for the respect of other men, it is also necessary for a man to become his very best.
So make courage a priority. Make it a quality you will pursue. And as with any other aspect of your character, tell your mind what it needs to hear and apply yourself each and every day.
All the best,