“I can’t teach someone how to take a punch. That’s about internal fortitude, you have it or you don’t.”
Fortitude is the mental strength and courage that allows one to face pain, danger, adversity, difficulties, and even temptation, and not draw back. Without the mental toughness to not draw back in the midst of harsh conditions, you have lost before you even start.
Growing up, I was the fat kid and a cry-baby, and therefore attracted the attention of bullies. I was the king of drawing back. I couldn’t take a punch, didn’t want to take a punch, and would cower at merely the thought of taking a punch. Guess what? That mindset invited even more punches to be thrown my way, and not just physical punches, plenty of emotional ones as well, aimed directly at my core identity, “the guy who was easy prey.”
Everything changed once my mindset changed. Once I learned how to “punch” back, and to do so in a strategic and skillful manner, taking punches equated to motivational stimulus, not pain. The Warrior Culture of the Marine Corps, started out by teaching me how to physically punch back, but in the process, instilled a Mental Toughness mindset that took root and became internal fortitude.
Being able to take a punch might not be able to be taught, but the Mental Toughness mindset can be learned, and deliberately assuming that mindset, day in and day out, will eventually lead to an internal fortitude that is tougher than steel.
Mental Toughness is a process and a lifestyle. Controlling your emotions and conquering your fears is a game changer, without it, I shudder to think how dreadful my life would have been. I don’t go looking for adversity, I don’t go looking for a fight, and I don’t enjoy difficulties. On the other hand, difficulties don’t enjoy me either, adversity doesn’t much like me, and I actually like getting punched occasionally, it reminds me how much fun it is to win a fight.