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How tough are you really?

October 15, 2013

As human beings we tend to coddle ourselves these days. We take care of our bodies, eat healthy food that tastes nice and exercise within carefully defined limits. This can result in us being strong and good-looking, but not really tough. To explain this a little further, let us look at what being really tough actually means.

toughBeing tough does not mean being able to bench-press your own weight, although that is, indeed, impressive. Being tough does not mean being able to rise to a sporting challenge, carefully bound and defined by rules, regulations and safety equipment. Being tough does not even mean being a man, as much as this might affront a lot of male pride; indeed, either sex is capable of demonstrating great feats of ‘toughness.’
Being tough means being able to push yourself through the limits of your endurance to find a whole new level of stubborn determination and tenacity, particularly in the face of adversity, inconvenience and even pain.
This means that truly tough men and women are seldom magnificent physical specimens, trained and fed to follow carefully plotted regimens. Truly tough men and women are the ones the press never shouts about because they are quietly and grimly getting on with struggles and challenges that would make professional athletes blink!Anyone can be tough if they work at itTo increase your toughness levels there are several facets to be taken into account. The first, unsurprisingly, is the mental side of things. No-one, no matter how testosterone fuelled, strong or fit, has ever won a contest, be it a formal competition or simply man versus nature, without some mental edge. Being able to push your body right up to its physical limit is only possible with mental grit and determination.weakness is a choicePhysical muscle strength and fitness can only take a person so far, before the brain has to take over. Those who are insecure in their own abilities tend to give up before those who are mentally tougher, even if there is no physical difference in the abilities of the two people! This is where toughness begins, in that moment where the body begins to say ‘No’ and the brain overrules it, forcing the body to exert itself that bit more.

The second part of being tough involves building the body. Without the mental determination any exercise and muscle building regimen will falter after a very short time. Building a strong body and overcoming physical deficiencies is often a painful process. It is also not a process that can be rushed, which means coming back to the routine day after day, facing the muscle aches, stiffness and sundry issues that arise when the body is put through its paces.

As much as you dread the process initially, you will eventually begin to relish the task at hand, enjoying the bite of muscles taking on just a bit more than they are accustomed to and ending up stronger and better because of it! This is the beginning of toughness, as you start to thrive on challenging and pushing yourself and it is also the jewel of the exercise; over and above the prominent muscles, improved physique and better health.

Once you accept that challenges can be fun, and that rising to or beating a challenge can provide deep satisfaction, you are equipping yourself with tools that will help you navigate the problems that life will throw at you. Learning to set the bar higher and to aim for the stars will almost certainly guarantee that you reach, at the very least, the mountain tops!

So, now we come to the question: how tough are you really?

In a contest do you try as hard as you can to do your very best in all aspects or do you only try as hard as you need to stay comfortably in the pack? The first option shows toughness, the second shows an unwillingness to excel.

very toughDo you wince at the thought of living without the daily comfort of a milky latte, a hot shower and relaxing with some television at the end of the day, or are you happy to forgo all the comforts in exchange for expanding your comfort zone? The second option is for the tough, while the first one is not.

Finally, do you embrace all the challenges that life has to offer or do you carefully arrange your life so that everything is known, comfortable and easy? Be honest here, because we human beings tend to tell ourselves little fibs every day. ‘It’ll be okay if I miss out this exercise…’ ‘I’m doing alright, not quite to target but still…’ and so on.

The truly tough minded teach themselves to see clearly and learn to discipline themselves to keep going, through exhaustion, dissent and even apparent lack of progress until goals and deadlines are met. Once you have that mental toughness and discipline, everything else will follow.

From → Health

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