Have you ever experienced challenges in your life — those times when you felt lost and had no idea how to keep moving forward?
Perhaps it was in a relationship or a business or maybe even a life and death situation.
How would you like to develop a mindset that could help you in overcoming challenges with anything that comes your way?
The reality is that at some point in life, we all go through struggle. But we get to choose how we respond to it. We have the power to build an unstoppable mindset. Any successful person alive today is a testament to that infinite capacity of the human potential.
Like any other muscle in our body though, the ability to overcome challenges needs to be worked out. This ability is in fact the most important muscle to build, because it gives you the confidence to face any challenge life throws your way.
These 20 methods will help you change your mindset about overcoming challenges in your life.
1. Seek out adversity
Struggle builds character. Often the moments in our life we are most proud of are the ones where we overcame adversity to accomplish something worthwhile. Do something that pushes you to your limits and beyond. Nothing will make you feel more unstoppable than revealing to yourself that you are capable of far more than you ever imagined.
2. Build a team
Success is a team sport. No one does it alone, so don’t try and be the first person in the world to do so. Find friends or family to work together with to drive your life forward. Get in a mastermind group or get an accountability buddy that you check in with every single day to monitor your progress.
3. Focus on the positive
We are all conditioned with what psychologists call “The Negativity Bias.” Unfortunately our brain has a natural inclination to focus on threats and dangers, even perceived ones we create. To destroy this evolutionary construct, throughout your day focus on what is positive and right about the world around you. Find reasons to appreciate everything around you.
The neuroscientist Dr. Matthew Lieberman has shown that the simple act of labeling our emotions reduces activity in the emotional brain and increases activity in the areas of the brain associated with focus and awareness. The next time you are stuck in an emotional pattern that isn’t serving you, label the emotion to separate yourself from the experience. This will allow you to then consciously choose a new one.
5. Choose new stories
We all tell ourselves stories about who we are, how the world works and what people are like. More often than not, as a result of the negativity bias at play, those stories are dis-empowering. Even when the economy is bad, many people are still making money. So you can choose to believe the story that the economy is bad, or you can write a new story that the world is ripe for the picking. If we are going to tell stories, we might as well tell ones that empower us.
6. Write a journal
Every time you find yourself stuck or facing a life challenge, write down your thoughts in a journal. This allows you to get out of your head and separate yourself from the impact of the experience. It brings the conscious brain into play while reducing the effects of the unconscious, emotional brain.
When Richard Branson was asked about his secret to productivity, his response was working out. For at least three days a week, do some sort of exercise. This has been shown to improve habits in all areas of your life and improve your overall self-confidence. It will also give you the energy to overcome the life challenges you might be facing.
8. Get out in nature
Psychologist Marc Berman has shown that interacting with nature improves the quality of a person’s life and their brain functioning as well. Every day, or at least once a week if you live in a big city, get out in nature and spend some time in the serenity of the great outdoors.
9. Celebrate your summits
Write down a list of all your successes you have achieved in your life. Every single one. Try to reach at least 50. Moving forward, any time you experience a win, stop and celebrate it. This will drive your brain to keep taking the actions that led to the pleasurable emotion.
10. Seek out new summits
Similar to a bucket list, write down a list of all the summits you wish to reach in the rest of your life. This gives you something to focus on. It gives you a reason to push through any struggle that might come up in your journey. Bestselling author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series, Jack Canfield has found that those who set goals and write them down are far more likely to succeed than those that don’t.
11. Anchor it in
Think of a time when you felt more confident than you have ever felt before. Now clench your fist. Keep doing this every day. Your body will start to associate the clenched fist with the feeling of confidence. So the next time you aren’t feeling very powerful, just clench your fist.
12. Time travel
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Go back in time to all those memories that have robbed you of your confidence and create new meanings to them. Cognitive psychologist, Elizabeth Loftus has shown that memories can be changed and even false memories can be implanted in people. What this means is that you can literally go back in time and change your memories simply by repeatedly picturing the event while anchored into a positive state, so the meaning of the memory will become a positive one.
13. Step into another person’s shoes
The next time you find yourself stuck and facing a challenge, ask yourself what someone you admire would do in your situation. Do what they would do when they go through struggle. One of the fastest ways to get what you want in life is to find someone who has it and do what they have done. The same can be done for a mental state as well.
14. Stand tall
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has found that a strong body language actually changes the inner workings of your brain. Practice standing tall and embodying a posture of unbreakable confidence everywhere you go. This will ingrain it deep into your mind and your being.
15. Use confident language
If everyday you use the word depressed, you will become so. Studies have repeatedly shown that when people have been exposed to words relating to old age, they walked slower than those that were exposed to younger words. They saw old words and thus acted old. Use words like powerful, unstoppable and confident as a regular part of your daily vocabulary.
16. Ask new questions
All thoughts are questions or answers to questions. If you disagreed with me, it’s because your mind asked is he right or wrong? Most people ask questions like, “What’s wrong with me?” Or “Why can’t I do this?” If you ask questions like that, your brain will find an answer. Instead, ask yourself questions like, “What is good about this situation?” “How can I make this work?” The questions you ask yourself shape your experience of life.
17. Schedule confidence
Tony Robbins says “If you talk about it, it’s a dream, if you envision it, it’s possible, but if you schedule it, it’s real.” Whatever you want to get done in your life, whatever challenges you want to overcome put it in a calendar and schedule it.
18. Be still
In his research, Dr. Andrew Newberg found that brain scans of meditating Buddhists had greater activity in the parts of the brain associated with focus and awareness than those that do not engage in some sort of meditation. For 10 minutes a day, sit in silence without distractions and just be with your thoughts. This will improve your ability to focus on finding solutions to challenges and creating the life you want to live — as opposed to being at the mercy of circumstances.
19. Get something done
Who doesn’t love getting results? If you want to figure out an answer to a challenge, take action and accomplish something. No matter how small, set a task related to your challenge and finish it to completion.
20. Make your desired actions automatic
The key to mastering self-control and willpower in the face of a challenge is learning how to build positive habits. Keep practicing a desired action for at least 30 days to make your new habit automatic and something you no longer have to think about. Practice building one desired habit a month to help you feel more accomplished and in control of your life.
In the comments below, I would love to hear other strategies that have worked for you to overcome life difficulties. If you have something you are struggling with, please share it so together we can figure out how to get to the other side of that wall.
Akshay Nanavati is a Marine Corps veteran of the war in Iraq turned adventurer and success consultant. Today, he helps people build an unstoppable mindset and grow a business online so that they too can live their dream lifestyle.