How to Stop Being Weak and Start Developing Mental Toughness

By AAwosika07 | Philosophy

Nov 11

Allow me to describe your life for you.

I’m going to take a shot in the dark and guess you live in Western Civilization.

You don’t live in a third world country.

You don’t have to worry about where your next meal will come from. You’re not at risk of dying from diarrhea. You have a smartphone and watch Netflix. In terms of absolute wealth, you’re “richer” than sixteenth-century royalty.

Yet, you somehow find a reason to complain about something.

Something isn’t lined up perfectly for you to be able to achieve success easily. Something in your life is always someone else’s fault.

You pretend you believe in personal responsibility, but on the inside, you believe that nothing is your fault. At a deep level, you accept no blame for the lack of success in your life and you believe you’ve just been dealt a shit hand.

You’re weak.

The Truth About Personal Responsibility

Do I think you’re inherently worthless? No.

Do I think you’re a “sheep”? Yes and no.

Look, it’s not that you don’t have legitimate gripes in your life. I’m sure you do. But I’ve noticed lately that people have descended into deeper levels of weakness, self-pity, and complaining than ever before. And, ironically, this is all happening at the most prosperous time in human history.

I’m going to say this categorically. If you are not in poverty, you need to shut the fuck up and start working on your life. It’s your fault. And you’re the only one who can fix it. I’m not saying that to be mean, but rather because it’s the only message that’s going to be useful to you. It’s not really all your fault, but it’s best to act like it is.

Contrast what I’m saying with some of the narratives you’ve been learning lately:

  • You have your own special class of marginalized people to call your own
  • Everything in your life can be seen through the lens of power. Someone is exerting some power over you that’s causing you to live a subpar life
  • The only method to fix your life is to take from someone more successful than you and give it to you

You’re being spoon-fed these messages like a baby calf trapped in a cage to make Kobe beef.

Do you know how they make Kobe beef? They keep a calf in a cage where it can’t move so that it doesn’t build muscle mass. Then, they spoon-feed it fat so they can kill it and turn it into a nice juicy cut of meat.

I can’t think of a better metaphor for how the media and the institutions of our society are training you to become helpless.

You have to look at the incentives for them to do this.

First, why would you ever trust someone in power to help you in the first place?

Why would you trust a politician, a news website, or a section of the government? They have every incentive not to help you, not to fix your problems, and keep you in a permanent state of want so that the next crop of people can get elected.

Isn’t this obvious?

Sadly, it’s not. Some people really think they’re going to be saved.

Maybe that’s easier to cling to mentally than the truth. Maybe its the perfect coping mechanism and an antidote to the truth — that you won’t be saved, that the world is cruel and indifferent at times, and that you’re in for a rude awakening if you don’t do something about your life.

I used to blame it all on the media and institutions, but now I’ve come to realize that it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.

You want to believe their lies just as much as they want to tell them. We all want to stay in the dark, hide, and pretend instead of facing the truth.

All of this perverse energy manifests itself in the archetype I’m about to describe.

The Myth of the “Nice” Person

“Nice” people scare me much more than “aggressive” people.

Someone who openly admits they want power, money, status, fame, respect and world domination is much more trustworthy than someone who pretends they don’t.

See, deep down, most people aren’t really all that nice. Many of the “nice” “tolerant” and “socially conscious” people are some of the meanest, envious, insecure, power-hungry, and dangerous people you’ll ever come across.

Why are they dangerous? Because denying your own human nature to want growth and accomplishment just manifests itself in many nasty and even strange ways. Look at people who often go out to protests. Do they look sane to you?

This form of coping backfires. Always. You can pretend to be nice and never fix the weakness you feel inside of you, but that weakness will boil into anger.

I can tell many people are angry at the world because they feel powerless to change their own lives. Self-actualized people focus inward, not outward. They try to change the minds of people who are willing to listen, not force their message onto others. Weak people try to take power from others because they can’t generate it on their own.

If you go through life pretending to be nice, pretending like you don’t care about success, pretending like you don’t want more for your life…you have one of two very bad futures:

  • At best you’ll die underwhelmed, letting the world walk all over you in the process
  • You’re liable to snap or develop an estranged relationship with life itself

Don’t act like you don’t see what I see.

Don’t act like you don’t exhibit some of these behaviors. We all do. I do.

I love making excuses, blaming others, pretending I don’t want what I want, putting blinders on to the reality of human nature, and painting a narrative of life that suits my deep inner feelings of weakness.

The only difference between me and you?

I know that I love pitying myself. I understand that I weirdly enjoy it.

You have to understand that, at a deep subconscious level, you derive pleasure from self-sabotage and feeling weak. Once you understand this and embrace it, your life will change.

You’re not just fighting the societal overlords who want to make you as weak as possible, you’re gleefully helping them.

Stop.

Next, do the work it takes to be strong.

Understand – Being Afraid is Counterproductive and Dangerous

“A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once.” – William Shakespeare

Often, I’m blunt to the point of almost sounding cruel for a reason.

I’m representing how the world will treat you. I actually care about you enough to tell you the truth.

People seem to be under the impression that if they adopt this new utopian, participation trophy, nothing’s your fault narrative, reality itself will adapt to their way of thinking. Absolutely not.

The people who try to infantilize you are the cruel ones. I saw a news story about Oxford university potentially removing clapping in lieu of Jazz hands because the sound of clapping is disruptive for some students.

I can think of about ten billion more harmful things than clapping. And if someone is bothered by that, then they’re in for a huge surprise when they enter the real world.

Jonathan Haidt talks about this in his book The Coddling of the American Mind.

If you’re indoctrinated into a belief that allows you to perceive almost anything as a threat to your safety or act of aggression, you’re not going to function well in the real world.

I definitely think the whole “college snowflake” narrative is overblown, but I do know one thing for certain.

Being weak is not useful for your life. Even if you actually are weak, it’s not a good thing to remain weak. In the schoolyard, the bully is more likely to pick on the weak one. Life is the same way. Claim weakness, and you will not be rewarded with utopia, you will be punished for it.

I’m not an expert on exactly how the world works, but I’m near certain of a few things.

First, human nature isn’t changing anytime soon¬† — better to just understand and accept the dark aspects of it instead of getting upset about it.

Second, pretending certain realities don’t exist doesn’t change said realities, e.g., you can be body positive all you want but being overweight can and will kill you.

Third, deep down, you don’t want to be weak. You cling to weakness as a default because you don’t believe you can be strong. If you thought you had the strength to exert power over your own life, all of a sudden you’d be ambitious and want all the things you currently claim you don’t.

You want to take responsibility for your life. It feels better.

You want to be the main character in your story. You want to be the hero — the strong hero who overcomes challenges with courage.

How can you become this person?

Analyze the Extent of Your Own Victimhood

Until you create a real distinction between what is and isn’t your fault, you’ll stay stuck in a weak paradigm of blame.

In short, be honest with yourself.

Yes, you might lack resources that others have, but are you totally destitute and wholly incapable of scraping some resources or ideas to change your life? Probably not.

Yes, you might belong to a marginalized class. Marginalization definitely exists. But is said marginalization the only reason why you’re not succeeding in life? Probably not. I’m a black male writer, my business coach is a woman, I learned everything I know about blogging from a paraplegic mastermind, one of my favorite marketing experts is a woman who lives in Saudi Arabia — not exactly a feminist country. I can do this all day.

Sure, maybe parts of your life really aren’t your fault and really do keep you held back, but what are you going to do now? How does reflecting on the past in a negative way help you? How does feeling like a victim actually, tangibly help you?

You have to snap out of your delusion long enough to understand the real role you play in your own circumstances. Most people know they’re full of shit deep down, but they’re good at burying it. You’re good at burying it.

Unearth the truth and use it.

Start Priding Yourself on the Ability to Overcome Obstacles

I’ve talked about this often in articles I’ve written about building confidence.

You want to overcome the tiniest hurdles possible and overly congratulate yourself for doing so.

Begin to shift from priding yourself on your weakness to priding yourself on your strength. Adopt the attitude that life is unfair, but you’re dealing with it and thriving anyway.

In a way, it feels better to succeed as the underdog. Life screwed you over? Good. Get success as revenge. Sucess is always the best revenge.

It could be a little unhealthy to use a chip on your shoulder as fuel, but living with a “sedentary soul” is much worse.

Watch this video I made about just getting started with a new life path. You’re aiming to build momentum. Congratulate yourself for overcoming each little tiny challenge until you reach a tipping point.

If you can follow through with a goal that causes positive mental strain for say, six months, you can change your life forever.

Absorb Pain and Use It

I don’t want bad things to happen to me.

But now, I almost always look at pain, obstacles, and setbacks as teachers.

“Oh, you thought you had it all figured out, Ayo, try this left hook on for size.”

In my life, I’m trying to develop a “tough chin” like a boxer who doesn’t want to get hit, but also isn’t afraid to get hit, Once you realize your ego isn’t made out of glass, you get accomplish quite a bit.

You think things like rejection and embarrassment are a lot worse than they really are. Once you experience them a few times, it gets easier.

Also, you can learn to absorb pain and use it as fuel. Once you understand that most situations and emotions are sources of energy, you understand that energy can be shifted into different and useful directions.

I’m still full of doubt, but not like in the beginning. I’m certain I’m going to achieve most of my dreams. I just don’t know the exact degree of success or when it will happen. I get apprehensive sometimes, sure, but I’m no longer scared.

You can become like this one day — confident, fierce, brave.

It takes time, practice, and most importantly, it takes learning how to be okay with not feeling good.

You’re not supposed to feel good all the time. It’s your want for everlasting comfort and contentment that’s killing you slowly and turning you weak.

You don’t want a pain-free life. You want to have lived — bruises and scars are evidence of life.

Pressure bursts pipes. It also forms diamonds.

When will you choose to shine?

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