Over the years, I’ve had the honor of spending time with some fascinating people: Olympic and professional athletes, actors, astronauts, and political figures. However, I enjoy U.S. Special Forces the most. I’m fascinated not only by their stories, but their mental strength.
One individual, a navy SEAL, once told me about a time he was deep in the jungles of the South Pacific, when the helicopter they were in crashed and caught fire, severely injuring several team members. Despite being injured himself, he maintained his composure and helped rescue the remaining members of the group.
I asked if he every came remotely close to panicking. His answer: “Not a chance. That would have just made the problem worse.”
Whether it’s the battlefield or the board room, success relies on mental toughness and maintaining one’s cool under pressure. The following steps will help anyone build their mental fortitude, regardless of what they do:
There’s no way around it. Setting goals works.
One of the many reasons Navy Seals are so successful is their focus on goals. Each mission is broken down in to a series of short term goals. Being highly focused on the short term goals ultimately leads to a successful mission.
Goals focus the mind and help block out negative thoughts. The effect is extremely powerful.
Visualize The Objective
Recently, I had the honor of spending some time with a professional drift racer. Drifting involves intentionally sliding cars into and out of a series of turns.
When I asked this particular driver what he does to prepare for such a mentally challenging event, he indicated that he devotes a tremendous amount of time visualizing an upcoming race- every turn, straightaway and potential obstacle.
Performance by world class athletes has shown that visualization does work.
Spend time each day visualizing yourself successfully accomplishing your goals. This will focus your actions, build confidence and help you push through challenges.
Positive Self Talk
The most influential voice we hear is the one inside our head. Special forces as well as professional and world class athletes constantly practice positive self talk.
Regardless of how challenging the situation, these top performers constantly tell themselves they have the experience and training to handle it.
The mind can focus on either positive or negative thoughts, not both at the same time. Practice positive self talk to boost your confidence, self esteem and help give you attain your goals.
Navy Seals and other special forces routinely find themselves in high stress situations. Controlling the emotions that come with this type of environment is paramount to thinking clearly and making rational decisions.
When under stress, keep a clear head by focusing on solutions. In addition, breathing techniques help maintain emotional clarity.
Most of us will never find ourselves in the same types of situations as Special Forces. But training your mind like one will help you experience success in whatever you do.