What does it mean to be strong? It's not the same thing that it meant thousands of years ago. Today, we're less concerned with physical strength than we are with cognitive strength. We're less concerned with how heavy of a rock we can pick up than how heavy of a problem we can solve.
When a problem is heavy, it weighs down on us. It takes up more space in our minds, and requires us to give attention to an experience that is both emotional and cyclical. The heavier the problem, the more difficult it will be to move from thought.
But the stronger the individual, the more capable he or she is at solving the problem.
The strongest of us are able to deal with more sh*t than the rest. We can take heavier hits and not flinch. But strength isn't something you're born with; it's something that's developed. Strong people have the most complicated pasts that have made them into the people they are today. Here's why.
1. To be mentally strong, you need to be able to navigate complexity.
It's often the complex issues that feel the heaviest to us, yet these are actually on the easier end of the spectrum.
Complex problems are made up of smaller problems. From afar, the complex problem may seem too complex to tackle, but once you break up the problem into each of its smaller parts, a solution can be found.
Seeing the solutions to a complex problem is something most of us aren't born with. For this reason, we need experience. We need to deal with complex problems and fail enough times to learn the solutions to those problems.
At the end of the day, we learn by failure. And a past filled with failure is certainly a complicated one.
2. You can't have faith in yourself unless you've gotten your hands dirty.
Strength is a combination of endurance and willpower. If you can do it and have the will to do it, you will do it.
It's will, however, that we cannot always find. We're all very good at coming up with excuses for ourselves, but in the end, what's really going on is that we're afraid. We're afraid that we may fail. We're afraid that we may make a mistake. We're afraid that we'll embarrass ourselves.
Why are we afraid? Because we don't have sufficient faith in ourselves. If you believe that you can accomplish whatever it is that you wish to accomplish, and have if you have faith in your skill set, then you will accomplish it. And even if it's not on the first try, it'll be on the second or third.
You see, true strength isn't about getting it on the first go; it's about failing and then finding the strength to try it again.
3. A complicated past builds durability and resilience.
Strength is not breaking when things get tough. It's holding yourself together when the average individual would let themselves fall apart. Strength is being able to take the hits, one after another, for as long as necessary. It's playing the long game, and playing to win.
Not until you see the complexity in the world around you, and find a simple way of understanding it, will you be able to find the strength necessary to come out on top.
It's not about conquering the world. It's about conquering yourself. You can't win the war until you after you find yourself on the battlefield.