How to Use This Time to Build Mental Toughness

Ayodeji Awosika.jpeg

Article by: Ayodeji Awosika

Publication date:

I'm going to start off with a quote:

“Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.”

You can substitute the word "people" for "men" and this older quote rings true in 2020 and beyond.

In today's society, we've grown to look down upon many of the traits that helped build the society in the first place:

  • Personal responsibility
  • Mental toughness
  • Perseverance
  • Pride

Over time, you've seen the slow deterioration of this type of culture and it's been replaced with the 'it's not your fault' culture. Leading up to the current situation we have right now, your societal overlords have been preaching this doctrine that you should be upset, offended, or outraged at anything that hints at the slightest level of judgment, even if it's warranted.

You've been taught that should be accepted just as you are, regardless of how little investment you've put into yourself and your self-improvement. You've been taught that anything less than total emotional stability doesn't suffice -- you should feel good at all times, you should behave as you like without penalty, and you should pat yourself on the back for all of it,

We've become a society of complainers, railing against the one per cent, even though the fact that making $30,000 a year puts you in the one per cent of the entire world. Nothing is on us to solve anymore -- we exercise our personal responsibility by going to the voting booth and sharing social media posts about climate change from iPhones built in sweatshops.

We're soft.

And you can't even say that word anymore, soft, but I will. I made a YouTube video a few months ago titled "How to Stop Being a Little Bitch." That's the type of wisdom we all need right now.

Is the situation serious? Yes, very. Is the crisis having an impact on all of us, direct or indirect? Surely. But for that vast majority of us, our biggest challenge is simply having to stay at home and not turn into lazy shells of ourselves. Some people have lost jobs, and that sucks. Some people have lost loved ones, and that's awful.

But think about your current situation. Is it that bad? Can you persevere?

Look at past generations. People went through real plagues -- waking up each morning wondering whether or not their spouse or their children would be alive. The siege of Stalingrad took 900 days and we can't tolerate staying home for a couple weeks or months? I was a little thrown off by current events and then I snapped out of it. I was worried about something as trivial as being able to focus on my business. Viktor Frankl survived a concentration camp and wrote a book after.

Don't get me wrong, modern society is much better when it comes to the net positive, but we have lost some of that courage that past generations had.

Everything is so comfortable. You're dealing with withdrawal symptoms right now. You took all the comforts and freedoms of your life for granted and you're now only noticing them because they're gone.

Even now, you can still watch Netflix, have Postmates deliver food to your door, order the things you need from Amazon, etc.

Everyone loves to talk about things like self-improvement and stoicism until it's time to practice them.

Well, now is your chance.

I saw a Tweet, a few actually, that said something along the lines of "You's okay if you're not productive. You can watch T.V. and gain a little weight. Don't put so much pressure on yourself. Times are hard. We're all emotionally dealing with [...] blah blah blah."

Look, like I said, times are dire, especially in the hot spots and major hubs where the real damage is being inflicted. If you're in one of those situations, you're forced to either let it break you or use it to get stronger. If you're like me, simply having to stay home and not living in one of those major hotspots, then you're really just on an extended timeout. Use it.

Maybe this comes across as insensitive, but if you've read my writing long enough you know sensitivity isn't the core element of my message. Why? Because your feelings don't change your life. They get in the way.

From a general self-improvement perspective, your feelings (rooted in ego) are the number one reason you're stuck in the same place in life. People literally abandon all their hopes and dreams, spend their lives doing things they hate or tolerate, and go to the grave with regrets simply because they can't handle getting their feelings hurt and their egos bruised a little bit.

Who are you going to let win -- your feelings or your soul?

Use this time.

Is self-improvement only supposed to occur when life is perfect? Don't the lessons apply now more than ever? Isn't this the perfect opportunity to test yourself? 

From the looks of it, this is going to take a while, maybe quite a while. How are you going to come out of it?

99 per cent of people are going to come out of it having gotten no better at anything, all the while being hypnotized by the media at an even deeper level than usual. They'll come out of it with an even deeper reliance on the institutions of society and a lower level of personal agency. They'll draw no lasting lessons from it and as soon as life gets back to normal they will go right back to taking everything for granted.

Me? I'm starting to gain energy. The solitude has helped me better articulate what I want from life. I'm spending more time on exercise and learning than usual. I'm developing a deeper level of confidence.

It's been two weeks now. You've watched all the shows on Netflix (I watched Tiger King too). You can only be idle for so long. If you're locked in the house, then lock in on what you're going.

Let hard times make you stronger.


Ayodeji is an author on a mission to help people improve their lives by getting them to ask smart questions, experiment, and develop the skills they need to accomplish whatever they want to accomplish.