Toughness is trait we see less of in our modern day society than ever before, due in large part to a lack of practice. Here are 8 ways you can adjust your mindset and your body to become a tougher human being.
1. Wake up EARLY, every day.
Having the discipline to get moving early, day after day, immediately gives you a competitive advantage over everyone still in bed. Not only will you get a few extra productive hours a day, but simply getting up this early builds character. Use the time wisely...get your workout in, build your side hustle, read, meal prep; whatever you don’t do during daylight hours because “you don’t have time”, get it done here. Don’t compromise your sleep, just cut out that extra TV to get to bed early.
2. Take a cold shower.
First thing when you wake up and then 30 minutes before you go to sleep. Aside from building pure resilience through uncomfortable conditions, cold showers have been shown to have a multitude of benefits, ranging from improved sleep to faster recovery and decreased stress levels. Taking every day tasks and turning them into lessons in toughness creates a lifestyle change that will mold your character.
3. Ruck somewhere at least once a week.
Throw some weight in a backpack and move your feet. Spending time under weight will test you mentally and physically and finding time to do it is easier then you think; maybe it’s at the gym, maybe it's while you're running errands or maybe it’s when you're walking the dog. You spend 30 minutes in traffic on that two mile commute to work anyway, why not build some physical fortitude by walking it instead, with 35lbs stuffed in your pack? Beyond the physical benefits, time under weight will build character because it's tough as sh*t.
4. Learn about a new current or historical event each week.
Whether it’s a podcast, news special, book or a documentary, educate yourself on the experiences of tough men & women of the past, present & future. Read up on war, on Olympians, on explorers, on individual feats of greatness in all arenas. Not only will you become more knowledgeable, but your mentality on what us as a species are capable of will change. Your new perspective will manifest itself in confidence and toughness as you take on daily challenges big and small.
5. Strength training each week.
The iron is one of the original professors of toughness, and it can teach you some amazing lessons in grit, both mental and physical. Spend time each week on the two big dogs of the lifting world, the squat and the deadlift. They’re both an art and deserve ample time to perfect and will challenge you constantly. The simplicity of picking up something heavy off the ground or sitting down and standing back up with something heavy on your back meshes beautifully with the realization that gravity doesn’t care who you are. If you haven’t put the proper work in, the bar ain’t moving.
6. Take on something that gets you out of your comfort zone - whether it’s a 5k, a 50 miler, learning a different language or other new skill, figure out what your comfort zone is and then push beyond it. Starting something as a beginner is humbling & brings great self awareness and appreciation for life.
7. Get in a fight (well...at-least train to).
Take a martial arts course, boxing class, learn to shoot, go to a jujitsu clinic. Few things develop toughness and confidence like knowing you can defend yourself. The rise of MMA has created a new generation of unsuspecting looking men and women who can break your arm and choke you unconscious in the blink of an eye when needed. Add self protection to your toolbox and hope you never have to use it. Exercise discipline by quietly maintaining your skills and let the confidence it gives you exude positivity both internally and externally.
8. Fail at something each week.
Fail fast and fail often. To have the confidence to fail not only makes you fearless but it makes you better at everything. Failures should not be seen as a result of your shortcomings or incapability, but rather as a result of pushing beyond your limits and stretching your uncomfort zone . Our world is a cut throat one in all arenas, developing toughness through failure and set backs will keep you hungry, driven and in a position to win next time.