Mental Toughness

“Discipline equals freedom.”
– Jocko Willink

Having a solid character.Being hardcore. An immovable attitude. Being unstoppable. These are all attributes that most men would want. However, the biggest obstacle to achieving such attributes of personality is the generality of the goal.


You want to be hardcore, a solid character, unstoppable-great. What does that mean? What does it mean to be hardcore? What does it mean to have an immovable attitude? What I am trying to get at is an essential part of the process of goal creation. When you make a goal, you want to be as specific as possible, and you need ways to measure your success, and gauge whether you are on/off track.


I want to be mentally tough. A great goal in general, but horrid if you really look into it. You have no specific idea of what you want as an outcome, you have a general picture, but nothing that tells you how to get there, or what is going to be there specifically if you do succeed. You are also unable to succeed because you haven’t defined success within the goal itself.

So let’s define mental toughness so you can have a road map to success when it comes to mental toughness. When I think of a person with mental toughness, I think of navy seals(such as Jocko Willink), batman(the people do not have to be real), generals, leaders, or Goku/Vegeta.


The goals are getting more specific, but it is not specific enough.  The question we should ask is, “what traits of those people make them seem mentally tough?”.


So when a navy seal or Bruce Wayne confronts a problem, they look at it with a calm face, and try to see what they can do in the moment, and in the future. They lay out what tools that they have at their disposal, and they execute a plan, and intelligently improvise along the way.

They are also incredibly fit and capable of doing the most difficult tasks.

So, let’s dissect what we have gotten so far.

Mental Toughness now equals a calm planning/execution in a time of turmoil, and impeccable fitness.


And I want to take a moment, and critique my own dissection. Do you see what I did wrong? If you haven’t, here’s the answer: the impeccable fitness. Sounds great on paper, but again, it is too general. What does it mean to be impeccably fit?



So let’s do what we just did all over again. When I think impeccably fit, I think of Rain from ninja assassin doing handstand push-ups, or gymnasts being able to move their bodies according to their imagination, instead of their imagination moving according to their bodies. Now we’ve got something.


Mental Toughness= Calm planning/execution in time of turmoil + Body moving according to imagination instead of imagination moving according to body.


This is our goal equation. We have defined the variables we need to get success, and now the next step is to get those variables. And every time you achieve success in gaining a variable, you understand how much closer you have gotten to your goal, and so things become easier to scale.


Now if I wanted to achieve the calm variable, I would advise one to read books on stoicism. Meditations, letters from a stoic. Then I would prescribe some way to test the growth in real life, and this part will be easier, because life will send hardships your way, whether they are planned or not. You could also make life harder on yourself on purpose. Why not try being homeless for 3 days? Or cut down the money your allowed to spend by half. Give yourself a crux that you know will make you uncomfortable, and toughen yourself up by hardening your soft spots.


The second variable is the easier variable to attain, so you might want to start with this one while reading the books on stoicism. What I would advise is 3 physical practices. You don’t have to do all three things at once, just make sure you have experience in them.

  1. Lift weights, to the point where you can lift your body-weight in bench press, squats, and dead-lifts.
  2. Martial Arts. You want to be able to fight in the way that you imagine. Can’t go wrong with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Muay Thai.
  3. Gymnastics. This will be the final step to moving to the motions of your own imagination.


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