We often get caught up in the idea that being “tough”, depends on our strength, speed or stamina. That we only fit the bill by running marathons, lifting heavy weights, or sitting at the top of the Aphrodite leader board. Sure, this is influential. But only scratches the surface.
It’s tricky to really put a label on “tough”. The dictionary says “strong enough to withstand adverse conditions or rough handling”, “strong”, “resilient”, “sturdy”, but we know there’s more to it. And for this reason, we’re going to redefine it.
Toughness comes down to consistency
Consistency has a bigger impact than anything. It’s more powerful than strength and speed and will take you further than stamina and talent.
Consistency is possessed only by a few. Most people allow their lack of progress, fear of failure, or the cockiness gained from their achievement and illusion of being “safe”, affect their drive to continue challenging themselves. The ability to block out all the noise and keep pushing regardless, is the crucial part. That’s consistency. That’s the real definition of tough.
Toughness is what you do every day
Being “tough” does not come down to a single achievement. Toughness is the continuous, daily grind of giving everything you’ve got to reach a goal. Then after you get there, you give even more.
It’s being faced with so many “minor” decisions every single day. And choosing the right one. Get up or stay in bed? Water or soda? Go out for a run or out for dinner? Stairs or elevator? Movie or sleep? – the decisions most people don’t think make a difference, but actually overtime, become the difference.
Toughness is admitting weakness
The biggest misunderstanding is that toughness, leaves no room for weakness. That’s not tough. That’s sabotage. We told you that toughness comes down to consistency. And consistency comes down to sustainable development: the ability to push your body to its limits, but also give it the downtime it needs to do so.
It’s experiencing a moment of weakness in everyday life and having the ability to not let it get to you. So what you had a cheat meal, an easier training session or missed out on a PB? If you are mentally strong enough to be ok with this, because at the end of the day you know that tomorrow, it’s business as usual…you’re tough!
Weakness is not defeat. Weakness is the moment after you’ve given your best, and right before you give even better. You want to be tough? Then sometimes, you’ve got to be weak.
Toughness is a state of mind
Last of all, toughness is not what happens in the gym or on the training ground. It’s not the result of a competition, comparison or race. Toughness happens in your mind. Only you can determine your own toughness. And if someone questions or doubts it, only you know the truth. In the end, this is all that matters.
Unlike time, weight or distance, toughness cannot be measured or faked. It’s a power. An emotion. A feeling. An aura. One that comes with continuous hard work in the long run, and focus and determination every single day. It’s the will to never give up. To accept setbacks, cut yourself some slack, and from time to time, admit weakness. Because at the end of the day, you know this is not you giving up. But instead, preparing to give even more.