Mental Toughness: Relentless Optimism Rooted in Faith
Let me tell you a funny story and then a real one to illustrate what relentless optimism looks like.
There is the story of the little boy who was practicing his baseball skills. He was throwing a baseball into the air and then attempting to hit it with a bat. As he tossed the ball up, he was heard to say, “I’m the greatest hitter ever to play baseball!” Unfortunately, he missed the first toss. He threw the ball again and repeated the phrase, “I’m the greatest hitter ever to play baseball!” He missed again. On the third try, he repeated his positive statement about his ability to hit, but he once again hit nothing, but air. He stood there quietly for a moment and as he tossed the ball into the air, he was heard to say, “I’m the greatest pitcher in baseball!”
That story gives you a snapshot of relentless optimism. The challenges of life are many and few people find success on their first swing. You have to be able to keep on swinging, or if necessary, to be able to switch your efforts in a new direction without any loss of optimism.
Here’s my real story. In the early days of my career when I was still struggling with the basics, I had devastating failure. It was demoralizing and embarrassing and I was immersed in negative thoughts. The enemy crawled on my shoulder and informed me that I should quit. He asserted that I would never master the requirements to succeed in changing lives. I was so frustrated and angry at myself that I almost took his advice. But, I can remember shaking my fist at the sky and with tears in my eyes I said, “I refuse to quit! I may never succeed, but I will not quit!” Forty years later and having impacted thousands of lives through God’s help and power, I am glad I didn’t quit. What enabled me to maintain mental toughness? Optimism rooted in my faith.
Optimism (when it’s rooted in faith) contains several key components:
- A realistic confidence about your talents and skills and how you can put them into play
- A world view that sees abundance as opposed to scarcity.
- A belief that God has a “soft spot” for those who just refuse to quit.
I want to encourage you to keep on building your mental toughness. Wherever you are at today, it’s not your final destination. You can become the man or woman you dream of being and hundreds of lives will be impacted by your determination to relentless optimism.
When were you tempted to quit? Make a comment below. I’d love to hear your story. Also, be sure and subscribe to this blog. Next month, we will examine the fourth attribute of the mentally toughness, “the refusal to define yourself by the opinion of others.”