Sometimes I wonder if comfortable modern life is making us soft and prone to suffer when confronted with adversity. We drive to work and sit in our central-heated office. We take breaks when we think we need them. We exercise irregularly and when we do we go as hard as we comfortably can, because eventually it is us choosing the intensity of what we need to endure. But life’s intensity is not like the resistance regulator on your home trainer, it’s not always free choice. At times we have to deal with adversity that we don’t choose. It is in those situations, when being tough helps you to keep your calm and protect your happiness and joy for life.
For most of us, everyday life doesn’t challenge us to the limits of our mental or physical capacity. Yes, some of us consciously seek challenges in jobs, sports or hobbies. This is great and may be beneficial, but is not the same as when life throws an involuntary challenge at you that you haven’t signed up for. Going for your lunch-break jog is simply not the same as running from a saber-tooth tiger that is eager to have you for lunch. When this metaphor comes into your reality, it counts to be prepared and know with confidence that you can endure. It is good to know that you are a tough cookie.
There is not much to being tough, it’s just another mental habit. The soft guy feels his legs burning on that uphill run and, just like the tough guy’s inner voice, his is telling him to slow down and walk a couple of steps. The fundamental difference lays in the response. The soft guy obeys the voice and slows down. The tough guy does exactly the opposite. He hears the voice and realizes that the last 100 meters of this run is an opportunity to make him a little tougher, a little more resilient, and less prone to suffering and therefore happier. in the long term. He goes harder because he chooses lasting happiness over immediate comfort.
So the next time you’re choosing a challenge or facing involuntary adversity, you can choose to realize the opportunity and go harder despite the discomfort. You won’t regret it. Choose your own happiness over comfort and…