Building Mental Resilience

Building Mental Resilience While Building A Business

Let’s be honest… Most people are afraid of failure. Maybe you are one of them too. Then, how to survive in the midst of adversity?

Let’s be honest…

Most people are afraid of failure, especially when it comes to business, mental resilience is one of the most sought after personal attributes of an entrepreneur. Basically, mental resilience is about how can we face challenges head-on and rise from adversity. This is an important part of achieving success—because real success is hard to find.

I am only now able to learn to accept “failure”. Even though in fact, when faced with failure, it feels like eating noni fruit (Morinda citrifolia) and drinking Brotowali herbal drink every day for months. It’s urgh…! I bet you don’t want to consume them—but in fact, they’re good for your health.

It’s bitter, of course.

Facing failure(s) is super hard at first. But after time, I feel some kind of new power growing in me, that I didn’t have before. It’s strange, but it feels good, eventually.

Then, how did I, after many times of adversity, could keep going forward and not just give up?

1. I know that no matter good I am at what I do, someone somewhere doesn’t rate me

I learned to be stoic. I will not try to control and can not rely on things that are outside me. What I can and will control is myself and what response I have to issue. I learned a lot, how disappointment towards others managed to consume me so that it brings more harm than benefit. I learned to control my emotions, even though sometimes I still lose. I practice regulating my breath and balancing my thoughts and energy for other things that are more useful—even though I can’t really get rid of the disappointment I feel.

“It is in times of security that the spirit should be preparing itself for difficult times; while fortune is bestowing favours on it is then is the time for it to be strengthened against her rebuffs.” 

— Seneca

2. Do things I’m not (yet) good at

The self-development industry is growing very rapidly, and the players always invite us to focus on things that we already have mastered and delegate things that become our weaknesses to others who are more capable. Basically, this approach has many advantages. We often can feel happier and can carry out work better when we focus on things that are already mastered.

But it turns out, constantly relying on our strength on things we already possess will not help us in the matter of mental resilience. Why? There is a cliché that said, “Your strengths are (also) your weaknesses.” For example, I am quite a persistent person. But the other side of the word persistent is stubbornness.

Although there tends to be a correlation between what we like to do with what we consider to be our strength, it is very possible to master things that are not too interested in us and do not control the things we love.

For example, I used to dislike marketing matters. But because running my own business with very little capital (read: often running out of money in the middle of the month), makes me “forced” to learn marketing, so that my business becomes even better. Now? I like this activity, and instead, become less skilled again in the field that I used to like (UX). It also shows my human side: instinctively, wanting to learn new things.

3. (Trying to) not to bear grudges

This is a super hard thing to do for some people, including me. But, when we hold grudges, then who wins? Certainly not us.

If we are constantly obsessed with a condition where someone wrongs us, then we will be trapped in a victim mode, while that person will just be happy and continue to live their lives. Who loses? Yes, we are, of course. Revenge is like quicksand which has a strong appeal and can bind. Be careful.

And as I said in the first point, being a stoic helps me to (trying to not to) hold grudges. And this also helped me to become a (hopefully) better person.

4. Don’t take everything that happened to you to be your personal matters

When experiencing insults, for example, either directly or indirectly, this insult seems to be intended as a personal attack, even though it is not certain. The reality is, when someone insults, they generally think of what is best for them and do not allow you to think or respond. If you feel underestimated because of it, try to see from their perspective. What happened in their lives made them act like that? That will help you judge whether personal insults are something they intend and how you should react.

5. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

— Albert Einstein

Being an optimist is difficult. On the other hand, blind optimism is also not a good thing. Being positive and having an open mind helps me to create good energy. And when this good energy spreads, it is also the good thing that I get.

I have often been sceptical and pessimistic that turns to unpleasant energy. Even I feel it. Such negative energy can be very overwhelming, and difficult to remove. Usually, I will withdraw from any social activities. I will stay at home or go anywhere alone until I feel better.

There was a time when I was suffering from an excessive anxiety disorder. My head feels heavy. I was crying constantly. My mouth wants to scream as loud as possible. I want to quit whatever I’m doing. Just quit and sleep, probably forever. But when I rethink again the reasons why I do the things that I do — work, business, and other activities—, I feel like I have new energy.

Life is like a wheel, sometimes we are on top, sometimes we’re on the bottom. When gravity pulls you back to Earth, always remember the reasons why you do the things you do. It will show you the right path.

And as entrepreneurs, we must always be able to identify the risks that we can / will face. That is why planning in business is super important that if at any time things we do not expect happen, we know how we plan for the future, and what we should do next. What if you don’t have any business plan? All I can suggest is, just being an employee, you don’t have to do business. You will not be able to give more value to anyone—yourself and your customers.

6. Congratulate yourself when you achieve small successes, but always acknowledge the failures you were successfully overcome

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

— Winston Churchill

It’s okay to congratulate yourself when achieving small successes (as long as it doesn’t go on and on). But we also need to reflect on the failures that happened before we achieve that success so that we can use that experience to learn and be careful in the future. When the reflection is complete, move on immediately, so we don’t get caught up in our self-doubt. It’s no use, ‘kay?

7. When things get really tough, tell ourselves, “I can cope with this.”

For people who are experiencing adversity, it is usually challenging for them to think clearly to get out of it. By saying to ourselves, “I can cope with this, and I can definitely get through this.” Without the need to think about these difficulties for a moment, and really focus on gathering positive energy within us. If you believe in God, just have faith that there is God who will help.

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.

— Henry Ford

No matter how difficult things are that we have to face, self-confidence is the most important. We must believe in ourselves. Believe that without the rain, there would be no rainbow.