Developing mental toughness is a transformative journey that requires deliberate practice and a shift in mindset. In this blog post, we will explore the components of BECLASP:
These are the building blocks to cultivating mental toughness. Let’s delve into each element and discover how they contribute to your journey towards resilience and success.
Be, Don't Do: Embracing a Mindset Shift
To foster mental toughness, it is essential to shift from a mindset of doing to being. What does that mean? Rather than solely focusing on taking immediate action, and reacting without thought, embrace the opportunity before you. Allow yourself to be present in the moment, acknowledge your feelings and experience, and assess the situation, considering it from different angles. This shift in perspective allows you to approach challenges with intention, awareness, and a sense of purpose.
Expect Trials: Embracing Growth Opportunities
No one is immune to setbacks in life. Acknowledging this fact is actually a positive attribute! We aren’t being pessimistic here, just realistic.
Modern science defines the “happiness equation” as happiness is equal to our expectation minus our reality.
For example, imagine going to your favourite coffee shop to get some work done on your laptop. You get there, order, and while you sit down waiting for your drink you get your laptop out – only to realise the wifi is down.
Unmet expectation = Unhappy
Now imagine a different situation where you drop by the coffee shop for a take away because you don’t want to assume the internet will be good, and you know the connection is consistent at your office. Only to learn that the cafe is offering free internet with the purchase of a coffee, so you can sit in and enjoy the ambiance!
Surpassed expectation = happy
As well as experience happiness as the joy of thee moment, we also have to acknowledge it is partly due to expectations.
If you learn to expect, and accept, that at some point things will inevitably go pear shaped, it prepares you to navigate challenges with resilience. By acknowledging the reality of trials and perceiving them as opportunities for growth, you can cultivate a mindset that welcomes adversity and seeks lessons in every experience.
Control the Controllables: Empowering Your Responses
Mental toughness lies in recognising the aspects of a situation that you can control, and aspects that you have no influence over whatsoever.
This comes back to not being reactive. In some situations the only thing we have control over is how we choose to respond rather than react out of an animalistic instinct.
So in difficult situations, try to shift your focus to what you can influence: your mindset, attitude, effort, and responses. By directing your energy towards these controllable factors, you develop a sense of empowerment, resilience, and the ability to navigate through adversity.
Be a Learner: Cultivating a Growth Mindset
A crucial aspect of mental toughness is embracing a continuous learning mindset. Rather than fearing failure, view it as an opportunity for growth. We talk more about this in our blog on defining success which you can find here!
There will be times where expectations are unmet, where the best laid plans are scuppered, and you may be tempted to feeling frustrated and like a failure.
Rather than letting yourself sink into defeat, practice embracing challenges, seeking knowledge, and remaining open to new perspectives. By adopting a learner’s mentality, you can unlock your true potential and develop resilience in the face of setbacks.
Shush the Critic: Transforming Self-Talk
Our inner critic often undermines our mental toughness. As we’ve been talking about, mental toughness is all about self-talk, your inner dialogue. We’re sure we don’t need to tell you that we are all our own worst critics.
Whats the key? Don’t debate it, shush it! Just don’t give it the time of day.
Challenge negative self-talk and replace it with positive affirmations and constructive feedback. This type of encouragement – especially to one’s self – comes more or less easily in some cultures. So practicing this may seem foreign, and even uncomfortable at first. But by quieting the critic within, you create space for self-compassion, resilience, and personal growth.
Seek Practice: Building Resilience through Action
Building mental toughness requires intentional practice. Just like achieving goals (Check out our blog on setting SMART goals here!) you will have to actively apply the principles of BECLASP in your daily life.
Seek out opportunities to test your resilience, face challenges head-on, and embrace discomfort. Through deliberate practice, you strengthen your mental muscles and develop the resilience needed to thrive in the face of adversity.
Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it makes progress. So keep looking for opportunities to practice.
By incorporating the principles of BECLASP – Be, Expect, Control, Learn, Aware, Shush, and Practice – you can build mental toughness and enhance your ability to navigate life’s challenges! The mind is part of optimal health alongside body and spirit, and so we should train it, too! Embrace a mindset shift, expect trials as opportunities for growth, focus on controlling what is within your power, nurture a growth mindset, transform self-talk, and seek intentional practice.
As you embark on this journey, remember that developing mental toughness, like physical muscles, is not an overnight achievement but a continuous process of self-discovery and growth. Implement these changes and see how you are able to handle the ups and downs of life with a much more level head and heart.