People’s ability to keep up their spirits is being put to the test during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health concerns, job worries, and disruptions to day-to-day routines have combined to create a challenging situation for Americans and for people throughout the world.
But for anyone wondering whether they can persevere through these difficult times, it’s important to keep something in mind — others are likely counting on you.
Anytime you are in a tough place in life or in business, when you feel as if you cannot go on, you can summon energy from knowing you must carry the load so others can succeed along with you.
Whether it’s your employees, your co-workers, or your family, you do not want to let them down.
Here is the positive. People have inside themselves the capability to develop the kind of perseverance that will see them through the world’s current health and economic crisis — and through future crises they are certain to encounter. My tips for developing that level of perseverance include the following.
• Have a strong vision of the future. Olympic athletes often picture a perfect routine or a perfect race, playing it over and over in their minds until they can actually perform it. I attended West Point, and the only thing that kept me from dropping out of the demanding military academy was to visualize myself tossing my hat in the air on graduation day. I envisioned that day on every single one of the nearly 1,410 days I was on the academy grounds. People can get through our current difficult period the same way. Try to envision what success will mean to you once this crisis is over.
• Understand how others survived tough times. History is filled with stories of individuals or entire populations who struggled through the most difficult of times. Friends and family members who overcame health concerns, financial troubles, or personal tragedies can be the source of such stories, too. Look at how they prevailed over challenges or obstacles in life. Draw lessons and inspiration from what they did.
• Be okay with being uncomfortable. People who consistently challenge themselves are more likely to persevere when they fail or when they encounter difficult times because they don’t feel that failure is a permanent condition. The more times you put yourself out there in tough situations and fail, the more failure just doesn’t matter. Those who get comfortable and avoid risks don’t develop that fortitude.
The one major thing that I’ve learned about perseverance is that we can all become mentally tougher. In the end, the only thing that makes a person give up and quit are the thoughts that drive their final behavior; it’s all about mental fatigue. The question to ask yourself is this: Do you have the grit to overcome that fatigue?
Troy Nix (www.troynix.com), motivational speaker and author of “Eternal Impact: Inspire Greatness in Yourself and Others,” is the founder and CEO of First Resource, Inc., an association management company for U.S. manufacturers.