What is Mental Toughness?
I was watching a movie recently, and a football coach told the following story to teach his team what mental toughness is. With the tiniest bit of artistic license:
There was an oil company building a pipeline through Alaska. Half the workers were from Oklahoma, and half were Eskimos. As the weeks wore on on this massive construction project, the Oklahomans couldn’t work near as long as the Eskimos because of the cold weather. The oil company had each group tested to see what gave the Eskimos the ability to handle the cold so much better. They performed every manner of blood test, body composition analysis, and took every measurement and reading they could. But they couldn’t find any physiological difference between the two groups.
They ultimately determined that the difference was mental toughness. The Eskimos knew it was going to be bitter cold. They accepted it, and they focused on the work at hand. The Oklahomans could never get past the cold. Their minds were completely occupied with how cold it was.
Don’t be an Oklahoman. Be an Eskimo.
That’s the best definition of mental toughness I have ever come across. Don’t obsess over how difficult the work is going to be. Accept that it is going to be hard, and do it anyway. Focus on the task.