What Is Strength?

TAGS: mentally strong, relative strength, Chris Tutela, absolute strength, Strong Mind, mental toughness, strength


What is strength? By definition, strength is the quality or state of being strong. We already know that in a physical form, strength comes in absolute and relative strength, as well as special strength. These are strengths that can be measured objectively and can be witnessed by others. But there are certain kinds of strength that aren’t typically seen by the naked eye. Kinds of strength that cannot be objectively measured. Some may look at a fighter and talk about their heart, toughness, and discipline. Something inside of that person doesn’t allow them to quit, even when they’re exhausted and don’t have anything left to give. The internal processes that occur between a man’s ears manifest in the physical form when everything is on the line. That goes for any sport or physical endeavor. We don’t always appreciate the journey we get to witness of what goes on inside of someone’s head during an athletic event or competition.

We also get to witness a form of strength when we see a single mother working two jobs, going to school, and raising children on her own. This takes hard work and is surely a measure of strength. Or how about the firefighter who puts their life on the line just to save the life of someone whom they’ve never met? Is that not a measure of strength? I believe that some are born into situations where they develop a capacity for tolerance of difficulty as a byproduct of their environment. Sometimes this capacity is developed through practice. And sometimes, it’s the combination of the two.

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Regardless, a strong mind has many benefits in this life. It allows us to stay on course for the life we want. Being mentally strong gives us the ability to recover from the hardships of life and continue living after tragedy strikes. We have the ability to accomplish whatever it is that we want in this world. I find it fascinating that some people will complain about how bad they've got it, or how much life sucks. I’m well aware that there are many people who have it much worse than I do, but everyone will face their share of hardships that certainly shouldn’t be dismissed. It’s those who have a strong perception of the life around them that become motivated to work harder and go after what it is they want, even though what they want could be very difficult to obtain.

When you are mentally strong you develop more discipline. If you follow Navy Seal Commander Jocko Willink, you know his famous slogan: “Discipline equals freedom.” When you’re strong enough to create the discipline to train, the discipline to wake up early, and the discipline to execute on achieving your goals, then you create the freedom to live healthy, the freedom to control your day, and the freedom to accomplish the things in life you want. The mentally weak are typically prisoners to an unhappy and unhealthy life that lacks fulfillment. They complain, get their feelings hurt, and blame others for their problems — which is why the never get the respect they feel entitled to. And it’s okay if you’re currently in a place of weakness for whatever reason. As long you’re willing to put in the necessary work to make the change. To change in any realm requires strength. Whether we’re talking about physical or mental strength, it can be trained and developed.


Let’s switch to physical strength for a second. In order to get stronger, you need to create a stimulus and have your body adapt to that stimulus to be able to move a heavier load. Mental strength can be looked at the same way. If you want to get mentally stronger, you need to create a stimulus and work against it. Most of the time that stimulus can simply be doing the shit you don’t feel like doing. Maybe that’s training. Maybe that’s reading or working on a project. Whatever it is, be sure to do it, and do it well. Especially when you don’t feel like it. Do the things that make you uncomfortable. When you force yourself to do shit that makes you nervous, you will adapt and the next time you do it you won’t be as nervous. This is so important for our overall development. When we do the things we’re afraid of, it makes it easier to do things in other areas that could be holding us back. If something makes you nervous, odds are that there is value in doing that thing. Do it and grow from it.

I also find extreme benefit in doing things you aren’t so great at. I started practicing martial arts in my late 20s. I sucked then and I still suck now, but I don’t suck as much as I once did. The challenges that you face and the experience you gain from learning new skills are invaluable. There are lessons to be learned when going through the difficulties of learning something that’s new and hard. That can come in the form of learning a new language, learning to play an instrument, or even learning how to paint. To repeatedly do something you’re not good at so one day you can be a little better can give you the strength and confidence you’re lacking in other areas of your life. It can also give us more meaning by taking pride in something and striving to get to that next level. Find something you’re interested in that you don’t know how to do, and then learn how to do it. You’ll be stronger for it by overcoming the ups and downs associated with learning a difficult task.

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Controlling what you eat should be priority number one for developing mental strength and discipline. If you don’t have the ability to control what you eat then how the hell could you control other areas of your life? Take control and decide what you will and will not eat. We already know the importance of good nutrition for health, longevity, cognitive function, performance, and physique transformation, but the discipline you can develop by sticking to a strict diet for several weeks or months often goes unspoken. Strict dieting has literally changed my life and can be applied to your life today. Do it.

Another great method for developing mental toughness is taking cold showers. There are many benefits to cold exposure, including a reduction of inflammation. However, it’s also a great way to test your ability to be uncomfortable. If you can withstand the discomfort for a few minutes in a freezing cold shower, you’ll also be able to withstand more of the hardships of life. Getting too comfortable will always spill over into other areas, so be sure to push yourself daily. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. One of the best changes I’ve made to my life is not hitting the snooze button. I’ll be honest: this has always been difficult for me, but I force myself to do it. I’m certainly not perfect, but 99% of the time I get my ass out of bed and take on the day. When you snooze, you’re telling your subconscious mind that a few extra minutes of shitty sleep is more important than whatever goals you’ve set for yourself and whatever tasks you have planned for the day. Instead, set the tone by getting out of bed the moment you hear that alarm go off. You’ll be stronger for it.

Mental strength and physical strength are two necessary components for a healthy, happy life of abundance. We have the ability to train and build both areas of strength. It’s our choice and, in my opinion, our right. Don’t fall victim to weakness in any area. Force yourself to do what’s difficult and take control of your life. Ironically, your life becomes easier when you consistently do what’s hard. Force yourself to do difficult tasks every day and live like it’s your duty to build a life of strength.


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