Mental Toughness and Achieving Dreams

One thing that I’m becoming more aware of is the importance of mental toughness. I consider myself highly motivated, but maybe I’m too generous in this self appraisal. I do work hard, but there are also times in my life where I just don’t do enough – this happens too regularly if I’m honest about it. Achieving something worthwhile in life often requires exceptional effort and sacrifice. I’ve no problem mustering a good effort, but a lot of my ambitions require more than this.

A few months ago I wrote a blog entry called, ‘The Price I Pay to be a Writer’. I was being honest about the sacrifices involved in my choice of career, but I have to remind myself that this is a path that I’ve chosen. I gave up a good career in nursing (and a not so financially rewarding career in teaching) to pursue this dream. Getting what you want is always going to come with a price.

Developing Mental Toughness

During the last few months I’ve devoted a lot of attention to learning Muay Thai. This martial art has provided me with plenty of demonstrations about the importance of mental toughness. I plan to step into the ring at some stage, and this has meant training at an intensity that is beyond anything I’ve ever dealt with previously. I’m finding that the training is a lot more mental than physical. Mental toughness is about pushing yourself even when every cell in your body is crying out to stop. Without this push beyond my comfort zone there will be no way that I’ll be ready to fight.

I’m finding that by developing this inner strength is just like developing muscles; the more you push yourself mentally the better you become at it. This mental toughness can then be used in every area of life. It not only means that I can work through physical pain. It also allows me to spend an extra hour earning money or doing those things that need to be done. By just pushing just that little bit my life improves and I feel good about doing it.

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6 thoughts on “Mental Toughness and Achieving Dreams

  1. I agree with you, EXCEPT when injuries like bruised/cracked ribs are involved. And as I get older, I also seem to learn beter the art of when to really push and when to pull back a bit. I’ve been guilty of pushing long past when i should have realized that there has to be a balance too. What is true for me, is that *both* actually take a kind of even keeled, wiser sort of mental toughness and self knowledge. I learn as I go…

    1. Hi Mary, I agree that it is important to know personal limits. I’ve found in Muay Thai that dealing with injuries is just part of the whole experience. Those who practice full-time seem to be always working around injuries.

  2. Paul,

    If you like martial arts, have you ever thought of taking up the art of Wing Chun Kung fu? This martial art revolves around economy in movement low kicks and arm work. It’s not so physically demanding as most and you won’t get injured all the time.

    1. Hi Mark, I’ll probably stick with Muay Thai for now. I did practice Kung Fu for a few years, but not Wing Chun. Maybe I’lll give it a try later. I used to read a lot about it because of the Bruce Lee and Ip Man connection.

  3. having watched my ex- go through his first mma fight, i understand (kind of) what you are talking about. i think the glamour of fighting is quickly lost when all the sweating in the gym takes place.

    you really need to have a passion for it. or. it just won’t happen.

    maybe you just need the right motivation…like you have to fight for your family’s honor or something equally “braveheart”ish 😛 55555
    Lani recently posted..i live in thailand

    1. Hi Lani, I don’t think I’ll be fighting for the honour of my family, but it is something that I’ve wanted to do for so long. My real opponent is fear and winning that battle is important to me. I’m impressed that you ex fought MMA – of course he is a shit for being your ex 🙂

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