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In June 2018, I wrote an article on mental toughness, “True Grit: It’s Tough to be Mentally Tuff.” The response, from the readers of the article, was a bit overwhelming in a significant way. Little did I know then that mental toughness would be even more of a need for all of us two years later. Because of the necessity of mental toughness during this time, let’s revisit it. So, let’s go, and hopefully, it will empower those in crisis to overcome their crisis.

Look at this study I found in “Word for Today.” 

“In 1962, in a study called ‘Cradles of Eminence,’ Victor and Mildred Goertzel investigated the family backgrounds of more than 400 highly successful people. They sought to identify the early experiences that may have contributed to their remarkable achievements in life. Their study included people like Einstein and many others who are famous and admired. Their backgrounds proved to be enlightening. Three-quarters of them came from troubled childhoods, enduring poverty, broken homes or parental abuse. One-quarter of them had physical issues. Most of those who became well-known writers or playwrights watched their parents embroiled in one crisis or another.

“Here’s what the researchers concluded. The need to compensate for disadvantages was a major factor in their drive toward personal achievement. These people had one thing in common—their overcoming attitude or what I call mental toughness or true grit in this article. When you have faith in God and yourself, you can end up doing things that astound you. The problem that seems impossible or formidable today can become the very thing that launches you into greatness tomorrow.” 

Do you see that? Do you have any real and tangible disadvantages in your life right now? Mental toughness like those 400 overcomers possessed is a better path than choosing some lesser path. It sure worked for them. You have an incredible opportunity to build your tomorrow today if you are mentally tough. 

Mental toughness is God’s idea and ideal. Time and time again in the Bible, we see mental toughness in action. My cooperation with God’s operation leads to a better “future with a future” revelation. Let’s have author James Clear enlighten us further on mental toughness.     

“What makes a bigger impact than talent or intelligence? Mental toughness.

 “Research is starting to reveal that your mental toughness, or ‘grit,’ as they call it, plays a more important role than anything else for achieving your goals in health, business and life. That’s good news because you can’t do much about the genes you were born with, but you can do a lot to develop mental toughness.

“Mental toughness isn’t about getting a dose of inspiration or courage. It’s about building the daily habits that allow you to stick to a schedule and overcome challenges and distractions. Mentally tough people don’t have to be more courageous, more talented or more intelligent—just more consistent and persistent.” 

In other words, big shots are little shots who just kept shooting. By perseverance, the snail reached the ark. 

As you read this article, you might be feeling inspired. I hope so. But without mental toughness, applying mental toughness in our attitude, outlook and behavior is impossible. Have you noticed motivation is fickle, willpower comes and goes, and emotions are easy glum, easy glow?

I resonate with the statement James Clear makes, which says, “…you can do a lot to develop mental toughness.” How do you develop mental toughness? Maybe I can get you started with some ideas from my “People Who Overcome” book. 

Here’s a list of the 10 attitudes and outlooks to embrace and not embrace in a crisis:

No. 10. Don’t sink into fear and unbelief. Don’t magnify the problem. If you have a big God, you have a small problem. If you have a little or no God, you have a big problem.

No. 9. Don’t lose hope. Winners are ex-losers who just got mad and constructively aimed their passions. 

No. 8. Don’t get into self-pity, hate and blame shifting. Blame shifting is a mental, emotional and spiritual vampire that sucks the life out of you. Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent free in your head. You will get stuck in an emotional tar baby. 

No. 7. Don’t isolate or insulate yourself. Surround yourself with a team of uplifting people who will tell you the truth.

No. 6. Don’t self-talk yourself into losing and giving up. Be careful how you talk to yourself, because you’re listening. Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy. 

No. 5. Focus on the big picture. There is a solution. So far, you have survived 100% of your worst days. 

No. 4. Get some mental and spiritual backbone. Fight like you’re the third monkey trying to get on Noah’s Ark. 

No 3. Don’t force God to accept your solution. Choose to the teachable, not offended at God or others. Sometimes good things need to fall apart so better things can fall together. 

No. 2. Remember to look down on your crisis from an up position, rather than the other way around. Human toughness is having a plan of attack, not a panic attack. 

No. 1. Don’t forget God; God’s promises; God’s power; and that God is for you, not against you in your crisis. Sacrifice your self-sufficiency. Sacrifice is giving up something you love to release something better you love more.

Next week, let’s do more deep diving into mental toughness. The way is yours; take it!