Why does it seem like some people always have the guts to push forward even after a massive failure. While some of us get panic attacks at the thought of just the ATTEMPT of something difficult. I've been on this quest for self-actualization sometime now, and it's lead now down some paths that I would never think to take. I search my memory of the first time I had to deal with the quit, or grit conundrum. First day at Air Force Basic Traning, nearly 20 years ago.
I've lived a very sheltered life and leaving home to join the Air Force was a defining moment in my life. I always knew the military was my path. I spent countless hours watching Stallone and Schwarzenegger movies from the early 90s. Badass guys running around blowing stuff up was cool, and I wanted in. The funny thing is that I was a skinny, nerdy computer hacker type, and my dreams of being Rambo were far from reality. Not wanting to be discouraged by outside influents, I just kept that dream to myself, never telling anyone until I already enlisted. I was worried my friend would make fun of me for even thinking about enlisting, and that my family would talk me out of it, and they probably might have done so. I didn't apply for any colleges after high school, I essentially "burned the bridge", giving myself no way to back out, but to enlist.
Waiting on the pad was like hell. It was fucking scary. I can still hear the boots tapping on the marble floor as the TIs come charging down the aisles. This was when I asked myself "What the fuck are you doing here?", I remember watching two kids quitting within two hours of arriving. Then the next day another kid quit. A week later the MAN that was assigned to the Flight fucking quit! If these tough guys quit what the hell am I still doing here I thought. The quit in me was STRONG, I just didn't dare to quit.
Two weeks ago by and we get assigned out uniforms. That day I saw my name tape on my uniform, there was no more Quit in me. How did I survive the initial shock of wanting to quit and just grind it out, well, here is how I mentally set my mind in these tough situations.
1) Purpose and meaning
Whatever you're planning on doing, what's its purpose, and why does it mean so much to you. I wanted to join the Air Force, because I felt a duty that drew me to that uniform, and it would be great meaning to my life, by having something outside my family that I could be proud of.
2) Make it a game
My military friends know this well. Supervisors will tell you just "play the game", I just followed along, my mind was not occupied with quitting when I was playing the game.
3) Be confident - trust yourself
No need to dig a bigger grave once you are already down there. Negative thoughts will only feed the Quit. Trust yourself and be confident that you will make it through.
4) Practice, Prepare and Visualize
I'm not always the best at this but when I practice and prepare, and visualize all the possibilities that could go wrong, there is no Quit in me.
5) Focus on improvement
Stop thinking of everything as a win-lose. I see this a lot with people trying to lose weight. So what you quit, if you didn't learn then you're going to keep fucking up. Focus on what you can do better the next time. I'm always looking for ways to improve myself, the winning is just a byproduct.
6) Have a team you can teach and learn from
Need I need to elaborate on this? When you go teach a skill you just learned, you learn it twice. You also build up confidence. Plus it is just nice to help someone. Also quitting is a lot harder when you are with your squad. Why do you think fitness boot camps are so popular.
7) Celebrate small wins
When I got through week 1, I celebrated with a small candy bar, when I got my first rank, I celebrated. In life, you're going to get a lot more of the small wins than LARGE victories. Large wins don't come very often, so take pleasure in a job well done. Chasing that 20 lb weight loss and not being happy about the 1 lb a week, is just a recipe for disaster.
8) Laugh Often, or find humor as much as you can.
Experts say that humor provides a powerful buffer against stress and fear. There is always something funny going on, even in scary times, keep your eyes open for those moments. I laugh at much as I can, and as often as possible during the hard times. The Quitter in you can stay quiet for a little while as you embrace in a little bit of laughter. Next time you are trapped in a stressful situation and feeling overwhelmed. Try to find the humor in how you even got there. It's a different perspective. Not saying it will always work but it is just another tool in your toolbelt.
Well, I hoped you enjoyed this blog, its a lot longer than my usually ones. Real true grit can be learned and taught. You just have to trust yourself and you will make it through that challenge. Once it's over you will thank yourself for the trouble.
Barking up the Wrong Tree
The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong
By: Eric Barker
I brought this book a month ago and its been super insightful. I highly recommend. it.