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Mentally tough people introduce change proactively through renewal, reinvention or innovation. Sometimes, as they confront unexpected obstacles, they adapt and find ways of transforming debilitating stress into creative tension. Like water in a flowing river one can adapt by flowing around over or under obstacles.
The problem, of course, is that our instincts, beliefs and mindsets invariably tell us, “Don’t fix it if it’s not broken.” This is where mental toughness is required. It’s the ability to sense the need for change and to make these changes before you need to.
When you are mentally tough:
- You can draw on confidence and won’t feel as threatened by changes in technology or politics, nor by changes in relationships, or even by the physical changes associated with aging.
- You can adjust some of the stress or anxiety reference point that play a significant part in governing how you behave when you are impacted by change. These reference points represent what you believe about well you are equipped for handling tough times. This impacts on what you are capable of doing or saying. You adjust reference points through taking small, incremental steps across limiting barriers, thus establishing new barriers.
I recall the catchy saying, “The learners will inherit the earth; the learned will find they are equipped for a world that no longer exists.” Put in another way: your rate of learning must exceed the rate of change in your domain. This means you may have been competent in the past, but a lack of ongoing learning will leave you behind.