True Grit: It’s Tough to be Mentally Tough
Great advice that is biblically correct and life-wise too!
By Ed Delph
June 4, 2018
Here are some thoughts from author James Clear on mental toughness. I call this 'true grit.' Truth-driven mental toughness.
“Have you ever wondered what makes someone a good athlete? Or a good leader? Or a good parent? Why do some people accomplish their goals while others fail? What makes the difference?
"Usually we answer these questions by talking about the talent of top performers. He must be the smartest scientist in the lab. She’s faster than everyone else on the team. He is a brilliant business strategist. But I think we all know there is more to the story than that.
"In fact, when you start looking into it, your talent and your intelligence don’t play nearly as big of a role as you might think. The research studies that I have found say that intelligence only accounts for thirty percent of your achievement — and that’s at the extreme upper end.
"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.”
Notice what James Clear says in his last sentence, “…you can do a lot to develop mental toughness.” Let me give you a few examples here of truth and potential that can set us free and get us to our goals if we have the mental toughness to what the truth says.
The first example has to do with success in life. ‘When I woke up this morning I asked myself: What are the secrets to success in life? I found the answer right in my room. The fan said: Be cool. The roof said: Aim high. The window said: See the world. The clock said: Every minute is precious. The mirror said: Reflect before you act. The calendar said: Be up-to-date. The door said: Push hard for your goals. And last, but not least, the carpet said: Kneel, pray and have a nice day.’ (author unknown)
This house story might inspire us, making us feel good momentarily. But without mental toughness, applying this thought in our attitude, outlook, and behavior is impossible. Motivation is fickle. Willpower comes and goes. Emotions are easy glum, easy glow.
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 over and over, and over again. Mentally tough people don’t have to be more courageous, more talented, or more intelligent — just more consistent and persistent.
This liberating thought inspires many people. “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.” (Mary Engelbreit). This thought is true and powerful. Yet most people, after the initial inspiration and emotional response, will go right back to the mental wheelchair of looking back. Mental toughness turns potential into reality.
The last example is of Noah in Bible days. He completed the construction of a huge ark when no one had ever seen rain or a boat. He was a “preacher of righteousness” for 120 years to thousands of people with just seven converts. Noah was the wisest, most mentally tough man that ever lived because he floated his stock when the rest of the world was going into liquidation. (I couldn’t resist that.)
James Clear offers some final thoughts. “When things get tough for most people, they find something easier to work on. When things get difficult for mentally tough people, they find a way to stay on schedule.
There will always be extreme moments that require incredible bouts of courage, resiliency, and grit, but for 95% of the circumstances in life, toughness simply comes down to being more consistent than most people.”
John Wayne in the movie, True Grit, was not the smartest, wisest or most talented. However, he was the most consistent. It’s tough to be mentally tough.
Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com