Saturday, 6 April 2013

Tough, Tougher and Toughest.

Although this newly published I have written a few drafts of this post so far.

I was taken recently by the interaction observed on the TV from +The Biggest Loser Australia especially from +Michelle Bridges where she confronted one of the contestants stating that he was on the cross roads between #PussySt and #ManUpRd

I see that this statement is really asking the contestant about how Tough they are... Are they willing to push through the Tough stuff of exercise as a FAT PERSON to get to a position where they have built a greater capacity for themselves to break through physical and emotional barriers that have stopped them or held them back from success in the past.

Let us define #PussySt as the place where we are quitters, and at our worst where we listen to the overwhelming doubt and judgement of ourselves as incapable and unworthy for the want of better words AND define #ManUpRd as the place where we display GRIT, and grind to undertake a challenge that is understood to be difficult but we go out of our way to give it a CRACK.

Essentially where we as individuals or groups are placed in situations where we are tested to determine our TOUGHNESS.

BUT Toughness as I see it is a loaded statement.  For there are times where the Toughest of us are brought down into a screaming heap in situations where we would normally Thrive.  Toughness is and can be situational or dependent simply on the day that we are faced with the challenge.

Toughness or Resilience is something that must be developed though training.  If we look at +Michelle Bridges she did not get to her position by sitting down and eating an entire tub of Icecream.  She trained!!!!

I am often writing here about the challengers of our minds and we can utilise such tools as Positive Psychology, Mindfullness, as well as a range of other topics scattered throughout this blog to develop greater Mental Strength and the capacity to Thrive and have wellbeing.

I originally started writing this post prompted byn a article by Dr Vivian Diller PhD. Called the "'Un-Whining' in 5 Steps: Making Complaints Work For You!"

The article states that the Author has created a 5 step program where she utilises the strategies of Cognative Behavioural Therapy or CBT (which is used highly in people who have Mental Illness particularly Depression and Anxiety).

The steps she uses are set out below in relation to how to use them to unwhine:
  1. Identify the discomfort when you feel a complaint coming on. "Something is bothering me and deserves my attention."
  2. Consider an alternative proactive behavior instead of lamenting out loud.
    "Is there anything I can do that will alleviate my discomfort?"
  3. Tolerate the discomfort temporarily if no action can be taken right away.
    "Can I hang in there until I figure out a solution?"
  4. Shift expectations of yourself and others to lower the bar.
    "If I make some internal adjustments, perhaps my discomfort will be more tolerable."
  5. Think long-term change to avoid future complaints.
    "Perhaps I can alter my situation so that the discomfort is less likely to occur in the future."

In essence I agree with her article and believe that the steps can be useful.

But I guess my original thoughts were drawn to step 4 that discusses lowering the bar and to make the internal adjustments to ourselves to make things more tolerable.  I consider this based the topic and the title of the post about toughness.  The statement about  "lowering" the bar I suggest that there is a place for a lowering of the bar or a changing of the goal posts?   However I see this as a point that needs to be considered only after there has been a time where we undertake challenge...I may be delusional but challenge and conflict are seen by me as inherent elements of the human condition.

So if this is the case I suggest there is a place for raising the bar and working to come to a level of acceptance that there are times that we just need to "suck it up". In reviewing the article by Dr Vivian this step is undertaken within Step 3.  Where we tolerate the discomfort temporarily .

If we return to this topic from a perspective of exercise such as shown in +The Biggest Loser Australia we are actually putting the body under stress when we exercise which it then adapts to and get stronger and to compensate for the repeated level of stress that it is placed under. 

In getting to why I am writing about this at all, it is because, I have been questioning my own Toughness in the last week.  I was having significant issues with motivation, and a willingness to exercise that does play a large part in my life and wellbeing.  I was in effect beating myself up and putting extra stress on myself because I was struggling.

I suppose you could say I was doing it TOUGH.

I am a person who is Competetive! I may have mentioned earlier that I undertook a strengths profile and Competition was identified as an inherent personal strength of mine.  But the key thing that was recently brought to my attention is that we can overuse our strengths.  I use Competition a lot to motivate myself for myself and to motivate myself to do things for others.  But I have through the exploration of the best way to write this post (over the last week or two) realised that I have been overuinge this particular strategy to get me out exercising.  Using the statement of "Just Fucking Do IT" (JFDI) to much.  

I have from the overuse of this stratgey been experiencing burn out and this has affected my wellbeing with some rumination over why I cant JFDI.   One of the key elements that has allowed me to turn the corner is my friends, and family.  I was able to discuss these issues with them and the joy for me was that they listened WITHOUT JUDGEMENT.  This was a large part of the what I took out the article that it is Judgement that is often so detrimental to what it is that we wish to achieve.  This judgement can and often does actually come from within and having the capacity to be and feel heard has always been a great change agent for me! 

I am at the point where I am finishing this post feeling much better and have been out doing exercise and feeling better.  So in essence I have been successful in following the steps suggested in Dr Vivian article.  If I reflect on the manner in which I use this blog it is at present my whining board.  I write my experiences here and hopefully demonstrate that I am able to work through them.

I am Tougher today than I was last week.  I am likely NOT the Toughest that I have been or will be in the future BUT I am Tougher than I have been and persistant to do the work required to make it through this "GAME OF LIFE".

I encourage and suggest  anyone who reads this to seek resources that build strength within YOU to create TOUGHNESS but recognise as in sport the capacity to undertake good REST and RECOVERY is just as important as the ability to STRESS and STRAIN.

All going well you to can head down #ManUpRd! 

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