Saturday, December 14, 2013

Back to Mental Health in 13 Steps

Mental toughness is back in fashion in executive coaching. It was never out of style in sports: mindset separates winners from losers. But you can be your own mental coach. Here's how


Mental make-up is not about 'mental training'; it is about your view on knowledge, the nature of man and his place in the universe.

This posting is dedicated to @GoosR 

Recently Rush Limbaugh talked about mentally strong people and the 13 things they avoid. These 13 points were first published on Forbes and were compiled by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and a licensed clinical social worker. Limbaugh offered his perspective (transcript), and we will add ours from the Objectivist point of view in a final comment.

Of course our minds are not shaped by 'things we avoid' or by five minutes daily 'mental training'. Mindset depends on your life's philosophy and your view on the nature of man and his place in the universe.

The postmodern, deconstructivist point of view is devastating to a man's mind: it was designed for that specific purpose. The idea, that reality depends on one's perception, that morality is a group specific subjectivism, that objective knowledge is impossible and that man has no free will but is determined by sheer social and physical chance, are mind killers of and by themselves.

Here then are 13 points to start your mental recovery. And here's our advice to top it up: start taking up Objectivist philosophy!

Number one

Mentally strong people do not waste time feeling sorry for themselves. "You don’t see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’ve been mistreated. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair," and they don't get bogged down in the unfairness of life.

Let me tell you something. If these things are not in order, that is a great one to be at number one. I can't tell you. That one dovetails with not giving people the power to offend you. I think mentally tough people realize that they're not like most people, and to get all worried about being offended or, "Gosh, this isn't fair," it's beneath people that don't have time for something like that. The reality of life is that most people are not considerate. Most people are doing nothing but thinking about themselves all the time. So that's really, I think, a key element of toughness.
It stems from free will. The realization that you are in charge of your life and are free in the choices you make. Victims, people who let themselves and their lives be determined by others are the playthings of society or any other other social group, or alternatively are the slaves of their own genes, their neurological make-up or some other outside, deterministic power.

Number two

Mentally tough people do not give away their power. And that is part and parcel of not being offended all the time. "Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad." Put up some boundaries and don't let that stuff affect you, especially if it isn't true.

You know, if I could wave a magic wand and change people, it would be don't worry about what people think of you, particularly people that don't know you. People that don't know you, it doesn't matter what they think. You and what you think of yourself is what matters, and if somebody thinks things about you that aren't true, forget it. Nothing you can do about it, and it's a total waste of time to try to change that.
Goes to Ayn Rand's Second Hander. If you follow your values and stay true to them you derive self- esteem from your integrity and your moral decisions. People without values must obtain self- esteem in the second hand, by popularity and how other people think of them.

Number three

Mentally strong people embrace change and welcome challenge. Their biggest fear - of they have one - is not of the unknown but of becoming complacent and stagnant. An environment of change and even uncertainty can energize a mentally strong person and bring out their best.
Anything you throw at a mentally healthy person is seen as an opportunity to sharpen the mind and to become even better at dealing with the unknown. 

Number four

Mentally strong people do not waste energy on things they cannot control. "Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people." They don't experience road rage. You don't know what's going on in that car that may be driving erratically and running red lights.
The metaphysical is a given we must accept; it cannot be changed. But, since it can be changed the man-made must never be accepted. Lost luggage may be due to chance, in which case we have no choice in the matter. But if an airline makes a habit of losing people's luggage, a serious complaint and 'voting with one's boots' is in order.

Number five

Mentally tough people do not worry about pleasing others. There it is again. That's a variation of not worrying about what other people think of you. The thing is, you can't please other people. Well, it's everybody else's responsibility to be happy. Somebody's happiness is not your job. Somebody being content and happy is not your responsibility. And if you let somebody throw that off on you, you're gonna be miserable.

If you're in a relationship, romantic relationship, marriage, anywhere at work or whatever, and if you let somebody make you responsible for their happiness, your goose is cooked. A, you're dealing with somebody that can't be happy anyway. And number two, you can't do it. Happiness is an internal thing. Contentment is an internal thing, and it results from the pursuit of it. It doesn't just happen.
Ayn Rand's work is filled with appropriate quotes: "Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values". "I swear by my life, and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine". "Love is our response to our highest values". "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute".

Number six

Mentally tough people do not fear taking calculated risks.
If you have made the right deductions and reductions on the basis of the law of identity, and weighed to pros and cons, you've mapped reality and know what's involved. You make your life's decisions on that basis. 

Number seven

Mentally tough people do not dwell on the past.
The past is what it is. It can't be changed. Accept it, deal with it, and move on. 

Number eight

Mentally tough people do not make the same mistakes over and over again.
Only idiots do the same thing over and over again, and expect different results. Keep tweaking! 

Number nine

Mentally tough people do not resent other people's success. That's a toughie because human nature is such that -- I mean, somebody that fails up, you're gonna resent them. That's a tough one. 
I don't agree with Limbaugh on that one being tough. Socialism breeds on the exploitation of human envy. Just keep your eye on the ball. 
"A creative man is motivated by desire to achieve his values, not by the desire to beat others". 

Number 10

Mentally tough people do not give up after failure.
You've just got one life! Make the most of it. Never, ever, ever, ever give up! 

Number 11

Mentally tough people do not fear time alone. "Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. They use their downtime to reflect, to plan, and to be productive. Most importantly, they don’t depend on others to shore up their happiness and moods. They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone."

Number 12

Mentally tough people do not think the world owes them anything.

And number 13

Mentally tough people do not expect immediate results.

Original source, including 'exercises' to train the mind ;-)

Related