A while ago I answered this question on Quora:
“How can I become mentally strong, so that no one can dominate me, influence me and bring me down?”
The crux of the answer, for me, is:
- To know yourself
- To become unf*ckwithable
However, in giving my answer, it came to my attention that these are ends rather than means.
The challenge is HOW do you know yourself and become unf*ckwithable?
That is the premise for this article…
Creating good habits
Before we start, I just want to introduce you to some home truths:
- Knowledge is just entertainment unless you use it.
- Knowledge is worthless without action.
If you are here for entertainment, great, continue reading.
If you are here to take action, great, continue reading.
If you are here to gain knowledge, do absolutely nothing with it and then cry to your mom about people upsetting you, please leave now.
Harsh, I know, but I want you to improve.
Nothing would please me more than seeing an email that says: “Shaun, thank you so much for X. I think 99.9% of what you write is horse sh*t but I practiced this thing you recommended and it has significantly improved my life.”
These emails, although slightly insulting, are incredibly satisfying because it means I have planted the seed which has improved somebody’s life.
I cannot make you create good habits or teach you anything, I can only plant the seed.
The rest is up to you.
The only way to benefit from this information is to find the techniques that work for you and practice them consistently, until they become who you are – just like when you were learning the guitar, learning to drive or learning to sleep without the light on, without your mother, without a comfort blanket, without a dummy, without sucking your thumb or without being rocked.
Practices turn into routines, routines turn into habits, habits turn into your character and your character turns into your destiny.
The same goes with anything else – exercise, diets, meditation and being unf*ckwithable.
Practice until good habits become who you are.
Tactics on how to “understand yourself” and become “unf*ckwithable”
Below are some tactics you can use to understand yourself better and ultimately become unf*ckwithable.
1. Understand yourself by sitting in silence
I’m partway through an article entitled “silence is a great teacher” which explains the benefits of just sitting with yourself, in silence, watching your thoughts, listening to your body and asking yourself good questions.
If you need guidance on what good questions are, a quick Google search will give you the inspiration you need.
Within 1 minute of searching, I found this list – 101 Questions To Ask Yourself in Life
Sitting with yourself, watching your thoughts and listening to your body helps you to understand how you work. It really allows you to “know yourself” and become more attuned to your behaviours and reactions.
It also adds perspective to your life so you can love yourself that little bit more because you appreciate how much of a miracle your body is.
This is basically a form of meditation that allows you to be truly at peace and in touch with yourself, understanding how your mind and body works.
Appreciate the miracle of your mind and body, find peace with your thoughts and apply perspective.
2. Practice the art of apathy and focus on what you love
Care less about what others think and focus more on the things you love by practicing apathy daily.
Before you fly off the handle and start berating me for promoting apathy, read Be So Happy You Become Unf*ckwithable!
This is not an attitude of carelessness; it is being so “at peace and in touch with yourself” that you’re meticulous about what you care about.
If you want tactics for this, go lie in the middle of a supermarket, wear fancy dress in public or ask for discounts without stating a reason.
Here’s a fancy dress idea for you…
You will notice that after a few seconds of laughter, funny looks or rejection, no one really cares.
With practice, it will become easier and you will reinforce the habit of only caring about things that matter.
As for focussing on what you love, use point 1 above and my article How To Find Your Passion!
You can add extra focus by utilising visualisation techniques explained in The Ultimate Guide To Practical Meditation – How To Use Meditation In Everyday Life (coming soon).
3. Raise your awareness and drop the ego
Not worrying about others dominating you physically, mentally or emotionally and having the awareness to avoid such situations is what unf*ckwithability is all about.
This is achieved through a heightened awareness of yourself and the situation.
Understand when you feel uncomfortable and simply leave.
In my opinion, awareness is THE key skill in self-defence.
The vast majority of violent situations begin with a pre-warning. Location, people, posture, language, distance and tension, amongst other things, form all the evidence you need to avoid violence.
It is extremely rare to find yourself in a situation where you must react instantly, physically, mentally or emotionally, without any pre-warning.
The indicators will be there – read them, drop the ego and get out of Dodge.
If you can’t physically leave, then use “detachment” to analyse the situation and act appropriately.
Gaz explains detachment in his article Merging The Mind And Spirit.
It is also included in The Ultimate Guide To Practical Meditation – How To Use Meditation In Everyday Life (coming soon).
4. Love yourself and others by practicing loving-kindness
Practice loving-kindness by genuinely wishing for everyone to be happy, regardless of the situation, and expect nothing in return.
There is no special technique for this, just do it. Practice until it becomes a habit.
Some people find loving kindness-meditation it a bit “woo-woo,” but others find it their most impactful practice.
Loving-kindness meditation is explained in The Ultimate Guide To Practical Meditation – How To Use Meditation In Everyday Life (coming soon).
It’s also important to apply loving-kindness to yourself.
Love yourself and find inner peace by using some of the tactics explained above, including loving-kindness meditation, perspective, detachment and sitting with yourself in silence.
Be comfortable with who you are, what you love and embrace your weaknesses.
No retaliation, no distress, just peace and love for all – if this is your attitude to life, it makes it almost impossible for others to influence you.
Peace, love and forgiveness may remind you of your frivolous hippie days but when practiced with conviction, it develops the strongest of minds – Gandhi, Mandela, Mother Teresa, the list goes on.
5. Don’t get love, forgiveness and compassion mixed up with trust
You can love, appreciate and empathise with everyone but you don’t have to give them your house keys.
Becoming mentally stronger
Although I’ve given you some tactics to help you become more mentally and emotionally free, don’t get caught up on the tactics, they will differ for everyone.
Sit with yourself and find what you desire, what makes you tick, what makes you happy. You can often find these things when you let your mind wander.
For example, I turn my mobile phone off every night at 6pm so I can do the things I love like Jiu-jitsu, writing, playing the guitar, spending time with family, reading, etc.
99% of the population who own a phone (including “successful” people like Gary Vee) will think I’m crazy for this but I know it works for me.
So find your own tactics and be truly you.
I hope this adds a little more meat to the bones of things I’ve already written and at least provides you with something useful.
For another perspective on mental fortitude, read Gaz’s article: Don’t Be Mentally Tough. Be Mentally Soft where he argues that mental strength shouldn’t be the goal at all.
Let me know what you think by using the comments box below.
I can’t wait to hear from you guys.