In this post, we’ll have a quick discussion on how to be relentless.
Life is an ocean filled with highs and lows. Some are blessed with higher highs, but regardless of how fortunate one is, none of us is immune to the disappointments that come when life refuses to give us what we want.
We all go through moments of defeat, and it’s how we handle these moments that dictates how our landscape of accomplishments will look like at the end of a lifetime.
How to be relentless?
When we think about relentlessness, the first picture that usually comes to mind is that of a person gifted with the ability to persevere amidst life’s challenges. They seem to have this inner strength that is able to turn frustrations into motivation, and that motivation into successes over and over again. Like any other kind of gift, most believe this trait is only given to a few people but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, being relentless can be an inborn quality, but it can be as much a gift as it is a skill.
If you’re not a part of the privileged few who have “the gift”, the next step is not to complain but to hone the skill until it’s as if it was inborn all along. This post is an attempt to help you, in case you’re a part of the second group of people.
1.Not all stubbornness is bad
Stubbornness is one of these things about life that happens to have been unfairly vilified. We put the trait in the bag of undesirable traits, and try as best we can to discipline it out of our kids.
Being agreeable is now synonymous with good, and being stubborn with bad. But is stubbornness really that bad? It depends, here is how.
If your stubbornness is a result of a constant need to be a contrarian, then yes it’s a bad thing. Lots of opportunities for growth and improvement can be lost if your ego is so fragile as to not being able to accept any suggestions from other people.
If the stubbornness is with regard to your life goals the story is different. It’s not enough to wish for something to get it. As you know there is a lot that goes into making a reality out of dreams. Life’s default answer for what you ask is “Not now. Maybe later”. The problem is that we confuse it with “never” and stop trying. Stubbornness from this angle is no longer just stubbornness, but relentlessness.
The key to relentlessness is the ability to bring yourself back from the chaos of a defeat. The quicker you can calm your emotions and go back to the drawing board, the quicker you can go back to the fight. The thing is that it’s difficult to realize you’re lost when in the middle of a hurricane. Relentlessness is at the end of the day a muscle. One that can only carry that which it has been previously trained to carry.
So the tip here is to start small. Train yourself to keep going when the consequences of losing are small. Train yourself to keep going when the urge to quit is not that high, and slowly build the muscle so you can take more challenges and tolerate more painful defeats.
3.Develop your ego
The next tip is to build your ego within healthy limits. Like stubbornness, the ego also gets a bad reputation. If you pay attention to the kind of people who seem to be controlled by their ego, chances are that you also see the kind of person who can persevere through adversity.
The problem with the ego is that most people focus on the extremes. The extremes in which the person loses their touch with reality and carry themselves as if they were gods walking on earth.
So don’t focus on extremes. In fact, use the extremes as limits or safeguards on your ego. The thing about the ego is that the more you grow it the more you feel like you can do. Suddenly you’re not so eager to limit yourself. You believe you can do more and as a result, you actually do more. You might think you can do everything, which is not true, but you sure do much more you would if thought otherwise.
4.Commit to relentlessness
The next tip might look simple but trust me, it isn’t. When you commit to never quit on something, especially if the commitment is public you have much greater motivation to keep going when the going gets tough. The embarrassment of being that person who proves their enemies right is often enough to push you to get back up at least one more time.
The beauty of these kinds of commitments comes from the exact same thing society frowns upon, and that’s our old friend: arrogance. For the most part, we tend to think that anyone who makes a public commitment to success is arrogant. We wonder what kind of person they are, and we secretly wish for their downfall. The thing is that on some level the person who makes the commitment, is aware of this since they also happen to be members of the human race.
So the tip is really to make the commitment in proportion to your desire to succeed. The reasoning is that the more you want to succeed, the bolder you should be on your commitments since bolder commitments come with them greater embarrassment if you do fail, which increases the motivation to keep going even after a big failure.
5.Watch your health
The next tip is to pay attention to your health. Often the one thing preventing us from being as relentless as we can is our health situation. Ill health drains resources from the body, the resources that could be used to resist the urge to quit.
The thing about health is that it often takes a while for one to realize that something is wrong, and most of the time it’s possible to get used to low performance to such a degree that one falsely concludes that it’s normal to not perform well.
This is by no means health advice, but there is a reason why we don’t like to feel sick in any way. It’s supposed to be an alarm showing that something needs to be fixed. To believe that not living at your fullest potential is normal is to believe that it’s normal for fire alarms to come off every day.
So if you haven’t felt well for a while, the next step is to consult a medical professional to get things sorted out. Sometimes, however, that won’t be enough. There are countless cases of people who felt unwell even though medical tests returned well. The doctor says you’re healthy, but you don’t feel like a healthy person is supposed to feel. Some of these people chose to take their health to their own hands and through lots of research found that something was in fact wrong and managed to cure it. Later, they are the same people who write best sellers and create popular courses on health, all coming from their personal experience. Never take out of the table the possibility that you can find the answer even if medical professionals can’t and be open to the possibility that you might be the person who can solve a very difficult health problem not just for you, but for countless other people who happen to be going through the same thing as you.
The ability to be relentless is a skill you can acquire and master. Just like a muscle, the more you exercise it the more you can handle it. Eventually, more and more people start to look up to you because they see something that looks like a gift when you personally know it’s not. The journey to get there is difficult and the most important thing you can do is to take the first step.
Here are a few book recommendations you can read to learn more about the art of relentlessness and to uplift your spirit when you run into difficulties and feel the urge to quit on your goals.
1.Can’t hurt me by David Goggins
2.Relentless by Tim Grover
3.The obstacle is the way by Ryan Holiday
It is all about knowledge and experience 😉
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