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HOT TOPIC Self-Empathy vs Mental Toughness - Which One Do You Find More Useful?

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MTF

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It seems to me there are two main schools of self-development.

One is closely aligned with spirituality, self-empathy, self-understanding, kindness, etc. If, for example, you're struggling to lose weight, you seek internal psychological reasons why. You try to understand yourself without making yourself feel bad as self-kindness is a big aspect of this school of thought. The goal is to pursue goals in an "enlightened" way, honoring your limitations, not being overly harsh with yourself, exhibiting inner peace, etc. Examples: Eckhart Tolle, Don Miguel Ruiz.

The second school of self-development is all about mental toughness. If you're struggling to lose weight, you don't rationalize your failures by looking for hidden past trauma. You simply tell yourself you're a b***** and keep pushing until you get what you're after. The goal is to get strong and then get stronger so that nothing breaks you. You don't use any of your weaknesses as excuses. You adapt and keep going no matter what. Examples: David Goggins, Jocko Willink.

Do you believe in self-empathy? Or do you believe it's BS and it's all about mental toughness?

Note that I'm NOT asking about your religious views. I'm asking if you think that self-empathy can be useful or if people use it as an excuse to avoid the hard work.

@Lex DeVille, I'm interested in your thoughts given your experience with the world of psychology.
 

Lex DeVille

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It seems to me there are two main schools of self-development.

One is closely aligned with spirituality, self-empathy, self-understanding, kindness, etc. If, for example, you're struggling to lose weight, you seek internal psychological reasons why. You try to understand yourself without making yourself feel bad as self-kindness is a big aspect of this school of thought. The goal is to pursue goals in an "enlightened" way, honoring your limitations, not being overly harsh with yourself, exhibiting inner peace, etc. Examples: Eckhart Tolle, Don Miguel Ruiz.

The second school of self-development is all about mental toughness. If you're struggling to lose weight, you don't rationalize your failures by looking for hidden past trauma. You simply tell yourself you're a b***** and keep pushing until you get what you're after. The goal is to get strong and then get stronger so that nothing breaks you. You don't use any of your weaknesses as excuses. You adapt and keep going no matter what. Examples: David Goggins, Jocko Willink.

Do you believe in self-empathy? Or do you believe it's BS and it's all about mental toughness?

Note that I'm NOT asking about your religious views. I'm asking if you think that self-empathy can be useful or if people use it as an excuse to avoid the hard work.

@Lex DeVille, I'm interested in your thoughts given your experience with the world of psychology.

I like a combination of approaches. I like to accept myself as I am, in this moment, while acknowledging that I can become however I want to be in the next with a choice followed by action. So if I let myself go sometimes, that can be okay because I know I can choose to change anytime I want.

I think this approach works well for me because I have a history of proving that I can create that change. That part may be particularly important, because if I didn't have that history, how would I know I could succeed? Before I built up a history of that habit, all I had were the successes of others (fitness, business, school) as proof of what was possible. So I had to build from that at first.

The things I think are most important now might be:

1. Ownership.
Ownership being either the choice to accept yourself so you don't have to hate yourself, or it can mean accepting that you are responsible for change and acting on the change when you want something different.

2. Willpower

The kind that is developed over time by testing yourself in different ways and pushing beyond your limits, even when that means through a process of self-acceptance. I mentioned letting go of expectations in your Insider thread. That was an area where I had to apply will to let go, which is different from applying will to push through (as in pushing through for another 10 pushups).

3. Openness to Change
This is like Ray Dalio's idea of radical open-mindedness and adaptability. By accepting that change is inevitable, and being open to flowing with that change, and letting go of expectations, and accepting that things are how they are and that I am responsible for feeling bad or good or any other way, then it all kind of comes together as a life approach that has been working pretty well for me.
 

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Gary Vee is a great example of a manic-depressive personality type (and a "mental toughness" guy). What we see are his mania periods, when he hustles-hustles-hustles. What we don't get to see are his depressive episodes when he's not that motivated or tough.

That's just human nature.

Ignoring your feelings and forcing yourself can only get you so far. It may work for some less sensitive personality types for some time, but for me, it always strikes back in one way or another.

To "get strong and then get stronger so that nothing breaks me" I needed to look within myself and love and accept myself as I am, with my strengths and weaknesses. That's what I see as the true toughness.
 
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It may seem like a cop-out answer, but I think whichever side you tend to is probably best tempered by at least some of the other.

In your example, the overweight person with a tendency to self-empathy might realise they're eating emotionally, & do therapy for a year & have a breakthrough & stop needing to emotionally eat, but frankly, they could probably also use a little kick or three to be adopting healthier habits whilst they're doing the therapy (because their health will not always wait patiently).

However whilst the strict "never break" people might get faster weight loss (if they're good at sticking to it & not just beating themselves up) they might not ever get to enjoy a doughnut again. As to them that's breaking, (Jocko's "sugar-coated lies" anyone?) but to the person who no longer feels the need to stuff a dozen in their mouths at moments of high emotion, might now be able to enjoy it for what it is - an occasional treat. And mental breakthroughs in one area can also unlock others.

I have a tendency towards the latter - the "failure is not an option & excuses are not tolerated" - with myself at least - I'm much more kind & empathic with others. But the dark side of that is it can devolve into a lot of negative self-talk if you're failing in any way to meet your own standards, which funnily enough doesn't always help. I have had to incorporate a bit of self-empathy to achieve more & feel better.

My consumption of self-help/motivational materials tends to reflect this these days - more discipline/blunt talk, but with a side of nurturing. To be honest, I think that's also a fairly good broad description of this forum, which is why I feel I fit in here. It also probably explains to a degree the gender ratios here too.
 

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Self-empathy is anabolic. Mental toughness is catabolic.
As with working out both making reps and resting are needed.
Too much mental toughness and you become an emotional cripple.
Too much self-empathy and you become a lazy bob who doesn´t make progress.
 

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Hey @MTF

Remember our discussion here?

So I think what you're pointing out is the central divide in modern self-help which has not been resolved with a clear winner yet. I call it "mindfulness" vs "CBT", or "Stoicism" vs "Buddhism". You call it "self-empathy" vs "mental toughness".

There are similarities between whatever the two approaches are called, but they are fundamentally opposed in their essence. I truly believe that they cannot be reconciled, and it seems through your post here that you tend to agree.

Now we are faced with the difficult question of which one is the better approach?

In my experience, I have seen that the MOST successful people are generally the tough go-getter type As, who push themselves, struggle to maintain a positive outlook, focus a lot on how they're talking with themselves (rather than detaching from the voice in their head), and so on. Not saying that there aren't exceptions... But this group is well represented by people like Goggins, Grant Cardone, Jordan Belfort, etc.

There's also the less numerous group who are still very successful - where people like Eckhart Tolle fit in (or Michael Singer who built a billion dollar company) - which take a more mindfulness-based approach, which relies less on changing and fighting thoughts (mental toughness), and more on openness and compassion (detachment + acceptance).

I sense that you're favoring the latter. Is this because it is true? Is it because this is a temporary retreat after the recent failure in your new venture? I don't know, only you can answer this. But I think you can dig gold out of it, because this is literarily the leading edge in self-help - solving this quandary. Would be excellent for your blog, of which I happen to be an avid reader (even shared it with close friends!).

Think Tony Robbins vs Eckhart Tolle. Personally I wish the self-empathy approach was the truth, but I fear the mental toughness one is.
 

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I'm asking if you think that self-empathy can be useful or if people use it as an excuse to avoid the hard work.

If this is strictly either/or.. siding with useful over an excuse. Combo of empathy and will is my approach as well!

Weak has or is the excuse. An excuse is not necessarily weak.

Perhaps the minds that seem to have little room for self-empathy and are extremely successful at their level have harnessed empathy without needing to explain it in those terms?

They have the willpower to do it again, do more, and do it better. Did they get that willpower from dominating it the first time, Fn it up the first or first hundred times? Empathy and will at work?

Using empathy as an excuse for weakness doesn't lead to a win. Using it to act on what needs to change does.

The high willpower brain uses the input to give them the best output as nearly default now, regardless of how it's assimilated. The subconscious doesn't so much care what we 'think' about it being there. : )


So if I let myself go sometimes, that can be okay because I know I can choose to change anytime I want.

Yeah! It's all in adaptability!

Consciousness is extremely adaptable, our own input to subconscious is adaptable, and our will is absurdly adaptable.

What we do is who we are. Why you tell yourself you do it is adaptable.

Do good, do our best and ask for forgiveness when we f up, even when that forgiveness or empathy is all within ourselves. Use empathy to encourage will and it becomes unstoppable..
 
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Kevin88660

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It seems to me there are two main schools of self-development.

One is closely aligned with spirituality, self-empathy, self-understanding, kindness, etc. If, for example, you're struggling to lose weight, you seek internal psychological reasons why. You try to understand yourself without making yourself feel bad as self-kindness is a big aspect of this school of thought. The goal is to pursue goals in an "enlightened" way, honoring your limitations, not being overly harsh with yourself, exhibiting inner peace, etc. Examples: Eckhart Tolle, Don Miguel Ruiz.

The second school of self-development is all about mental toughness. If you're struggling to lose weight, you don't rationalize your failures by looking for hidden past trauma. You simply tell yourself you're a b***** and keep pushing until you get what you're after. The goal is to get strong and then get stronger so that nothing breaks you. You don't use any of your weaknesses as excuses. You adapt and keep going no matter what. Examples: David Goggins, Jocko Willink.

Do you believe in self-empathy? Or do you believe it's BS and it's all about mental toughness?

Note that I'm NOT asking about your religious views. I'm asking if you think that self-empathy can be useful or if people use it as an excuse to avoid the hard work.

@Lex DeVille, I'm interested in your thoughts given your experience with the world of psychology.
I don’t think it is a valid comparison. The Eckhart group is more like philosophical or spiritual enlightment.

The second group like david goggins is more like learning the psychology of execution.

They are essentially aiming for different outcomes. Are you trying to get more awareness and enlightenment or you want to focus more and get more things done?

If you want practical measurable results, david goggins is going to be much more relevant.

The missing element is not really self-empathy, in my point of view. You can try to instill the psychological toughness to achieve without losing the touch of self-empathy. One example is Tony Robbins, who is able to balance between toughness and self-empathy. I think thats why he has a large female fan base. Ya but I know that is the exception rather than the norm.

The mental toughness attitude is a subset of the military philosophy towards things. This is as old as human civilization itself. It is still one of the most effective form of execution philosophy till date.

The fanatical practice of self-indoctrination in search for the limit of performance.

Money motivate people, only to a certain extend. In war you need to have a set of value, belief and culture to sell the idea to people to risk their lives to die in the worst way imaginable.

If you can only transfer a fraction of that will power for your personal secular goal, I think it probably will do wonders. Of course easier said than done, but probably a good direction.
 

DiamondDog

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When I'm out of shape, I look at myself in the mirror and think "what a pathetic piece of shit you are". Then I rationalize it and start dieting.

It's a combination of both. Metal toughness is the fire that starts the process for me but then I sit down and relax. I accept who I am and try to work with what I have: all my flaws and virtues.
 

MTF

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I like a combination of approaches. I like to accept myself as I am, in this moment, while acknowledging that I can become however I want to be in the next with a choice followed by action. So if I let myself go sometimes, that can be okay because I know I can choose to change anytime I want.

I didn't want to make it a black/white decision as often a combination is the best approach. But it's always more interesting to ask people to commit to just one. This way you can figure out what they value more.

The kind that is developed over time by testing yourself in different ways and pushing beyond your limits, even when that means through a process of self-acceptance. I mentioned letting go of expectations in your Insider thread. That was an area where I had to apply will to let go, which is different from applying will to push through (as in pushing through for another 10 pushups).

That's interesting because most would say that if you had to apply willpower to not act (which is what letting go largely is about) vs pushing through then it's not "mental toughness." I feel that "tough" people often completely ignore the mental issues and that they too may require self-discipline.
 

MTF

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Gary Vee is a great example of a manic-depressive personality type (and a "mental toughness" guy). What we see are his mania periods, when he hustles-hustles-hustles. What we don't get to see are his depressive episodes when he's not that motivated or tough.

That's just human nature.

Ignoring your feelings and forcing yourself can only get you so far. It may work for some less sensitive personality types for some time, but for me, it always strikes back in one way or another.

To "get strong and then get stronger so that nothing breaks me" I needed to look within myself and love and accept myself as I am, with my strengths and weaknesses. That's what I see as the true toughness.

Brilliant observations, thank you for posting that. Gary Vee is indeed a good example of such a person. But then you have "more enlightened" Tony Hsieh who also struggled a lot.
 

MTF

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In your example, the overweight person with a tendency to self-empathy might realise they're eating emotionally, & do therapy for a year & have a breakthrough & stop needing to emotionally eat, but frankly, they could probably also use a little kick or three to be adopting healthier habits whilst they're doing the therapy (because their health will not always wait patiently).

Makes sense, as long as it doesn't make them develop other eating disorders. I eat emotionally so for many years I kept tracking calories. But then I realized I was constantly stressed out because I was constantly deprived, having to track every calorie and budgeting for treats (which would inevitably ruin my diet as detailed below).

However whilst the strict "never break" people might get faster weight loss (if they're good at sticking to it & not just beating themselves up) they might not ever get to enjoy a doughnut again. As to them that's breaking, (Jocko's "sugar-coated lies" anyone?) but to the person who no longer feels the need to stuff a dozen in their mouths at moments of high emotion, might now be able to enjoy it for what it is - an occasional treat. And mental breakthroughs in one area can also unlock others.

I once read an article about people being abstainers or moderators. I think Gretchen Rubin came up with this:


It comes down to this:

When dealing with temptation, I often see the advice, “Be moderate. Don’t have ice cream every night, but if you try to deny yourself altogether, you’ll fall off the wagon. Allow yourself to have the occasional treat, it will help you stick to your plan.”


I’ve come to believe that this is good advice for some people: the “moderators.” They do better when they avoid absolutes and strict rules.


For a long time, I kept trying this strategy of moderation–and failing. Then I read a line from Samuel Johnson, who said, when someone offered him wine: “Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult.”


Ah ha! Like Dr. Johnson, I’m an “abstainer.”


I find it far easier to give something up altogether than to indulge moderately.


I'm 100% an abstainer. I think I have an addictive personality. I can't eat just one cookie and be done. So if the goal is to lose weight and keep it off, I can't have any treats whatsoever or I'll eventually fail again.
 

MTF

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Self-empathy is anabolic. Mental toughness is catabolic.
As with working out both making reps and resting are needed.
Too much mental toughness and you become an emotional cripple.
Too much self-empathy and you become a lazy bob who doesn´t make progress.

Interesting concept. Many people find David Goggins to be what you described. But it's often difficult to tell who's really an emotional cripple and who's simply not showing much of their inner world.
 

MTF

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In my experience, I have seen that the MOST successful people are generally the tough go-getter type As, who push themselves, struggle to maintain a positive outlook, focus a lot on how they're talking with themselves (rather than detaching from the voice in their head), and so on. Not saying that there aren't exceptions... But this group is well represented by people like Goggins, Grant Cardone, Jordan Belfort, etc.

I guess here we need to consider what being successful means. If just financially, then it's possible. But if in all areas of life, I highly doubt it as many of type A people can't ever feel fulfilled (unless they're working).

I sense that you're favoring the latter. Is this because it is true? Is it because this is a temporary retreat after the recent failure in your new venture? I don't know, only you can answer this. But I think you can dig gold out of it, because this is literarily the leading edge in self-help - solving this quandary. Would be excellent for your blog, of which I happen to be an avid reader (even shared it with close friends!).

Actually I tried to make them sound equal. By nature, I'm very, very skeptical of spirituality. I'm now reading more about it and often roll my eyes when I encounter the crazier stuff. I also refunded some books because I couldn't stand the abstract "awakened" verbiage.

But having said that, because of my recent experience, I did learn that constantly pushing may be another trap, too. You may end up realizing a few years down the line that you were chasing something you never needed.

Thank you so much for your kind words about my blog. I appreciate you sharing it with your close friends.
 

MTF

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Using empathy as an excuse for weakness doesn't lead to a win. Using it to act on what needs to change does.

100%. I think that's one of the key differences between people who are, let's call it, "smart spiritual" and who are just "spiritual" without actually translating it into anything. But in the end it comes down to whether you really want the change. If not, no amount of mental toughness or spirituality will help.
 

MTF

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I don’t think it is a valid comparison. The Eckhart group is more like philosophical or spiritual enlightment.

The second group like david goggins is more like learning the psychology of execution.

They are essentially aiming for different outcomes. Are you trying to get more awareness and enlightenment or you want to focus more and get more things done?

Yeah I gave these examples just to better explain what I had in mind. This wasn't just about entrepreneurship.

Oprah Winfrey would also be closer to the "spiritual" side and so would be Bob Burg (over, say, Grant Cardone).

The missing element is not really self-empathy, in my point of view. You can try to instill the psychological toughness to achieve without losing the touch of self-empathy. One example is Tony Robbins, who is able to balance between toughness and self-empathy. I think thats why he has a large female fan base. Ya but I know that is the exception rather than the norm.

I think that Tony is fully on the "spiritual" spectrum, of figuring out your needs, visualizing your future, etc. I don't remember him talking much about self-discipline or pushing; he's more about (often pseudoscientific) psychological strategies rather than brute force military style.
 

MTF

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When I'm out of shape, I look at myself in the mirror and think "what a pathetic piece of shit you are". Then I rationalize it and start dieting.

It's a combination of both. Metal toughness is the fire that starts the process for me but then I sit down and relax. I accept who I am and try to work with what I have: all my flaws and virtues.

I do the same and then hate myself while everyone tells me I'm not out of shape. But I guess that's a different topic; if you're prone to mental issues the mental toughness approach may exacerbate them.

Self empathy, actually, made me tougher.

In what ways?
 

Black_Dragon43

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I guess here we need to consider what being successful means. If just financially, then it's possible. But if in all areas of life, I highly doubt it as many of type A people can't ever feel fulfilled (unless they're working).
It is a strange thing personally... for me work also gives meaning to my life and I do have the tendency to work 24/7 or if I'm not working just to rest. I'm what you'd call your classical type A personality. I have a hard time being happy just being. I have to exercise will-power to lift weights, go to the gym, and do the other things that I know are good and necessary for a balanced life. But work, I can work almost non-stop hah!

It's an interesting debate - some would argue that the more "self-empathy" types are able to achieve success with less effort (the whole idea of effortless doing)... This being a good example of such an article: Personal Power vs. The Power of Now (Mind vs. Spirit) ?
Actually I tried to make them sound equal. By nature, I'm very, very skeptical of spirituality. I'm now reading more about it and often roll my eyes when I encounter the crazier stuff. I also refunded some books because I couldn't stand the abstract "awakened" verbiage.

But having said that, because of my recent experience, I did learn that constantly pushing may be another trap, too. You may end up realizing a few years down the line that you were chasing something you never needed.
Hmmm but if you are ambitious, then doesn't ambition push you towards that growth, even if you don't need it? I find that this does happen for me.
Thank you so much for your kind words about my blog. I appreciate you sharing it with your close friends.
You're welcome! :)
 

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I tend to favor the "no excuses" side of the spectrum. After discovering the importance of locus of control's effect on one's success, it really finalized that for me. Excuses suck.

This is not to say I won't have self empathy...

For instance, with being out of shape... It has been a long journey here, to build a habit that has stuck and will continue to improve my life long term. I am now going to the gym daily. I'm not where I want to be, but I am still in the best shape of my life. I can both want more for myself and also be happy to be here vs where I was. There is no excuse in being right there, in that spot. Until...

Saying this is just a process and I need to "give it time" to really get where I want, while simultaneously eating candy on the couch... That is when it becomes an excuse.

The same can be said about failure in business. They are to be expected, but intelligently mitigated. My RE mentor chalks up losing money as "getting to go to school." He makes a point to get big lessons out of his failures. If you start to realize that losing certain battles is inevitable and the only thing that really matters is winning the war in the end... That gives me peace in the process.

Should you blame yourself when a failure does happen? It depends. Was it your fault? If it was your fault, accept it, but learn from it. Don't beat yourself up over it. Don't tell yourself you are broken. That's bullshit. If you give it power over you and you let it blockade you from doing anything similar again, you are harming your future in exchange for the comfort of today.

Comforting myself at the expense of my own confidence? No.

Understanding that this is a journey and a process full of ups and downs? Yes.

There is a balance. Would I blame myself if I owned a sports bar that was essentially closed down at gunpoint? No. Who would have seen that coming?

The way I see it, we can either let inevitable failure and difficulty erode our confidence over time or build our wisdom. I choose wisdom.
 
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peterb0yd

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Is a battery stronger when it has more positive or more negative?

Grow both equally.

Self-empathy helps me attract.

Discipline helps me push back into alignment when I'm stuck in my head.

I'll say this. Meditating for extended periods of time to face my demons head on (demons being feelings of apathy, lust, frustration, anger) with nowhere to hide has been both the hardest and most empowering thing I've ever done.
 

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I think this depends on the person. For me, the cycle has been the following:

1) Flog myself multiple times a day for how much of a failure I am
2) Feel bad and swear to do better. "Hold myself accountable."
3) Develop a plan
4) Act on plan for some period of time (usually a few hours)
5) Flog myself again for failing.

As you can probably imagine, this method doesn't work too well. To get out of it, I needed a lot of self compassion. Being compassionate towards myself doesn't create any forward momentum, though. But, if you don't believe in yourself, no amount of discipline will help. Once I got to a point where I believed in myself, I needed to apply a bit of mental toughness.

This has been a learning process for me, and takes continual adjustment.
 

Kevin88660

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I think that Tony is fully on the "spiritual" spectrum, of figuring out your needs, visualizing your future, etc. I don't remember him talking much about self-discipline or pushing; he's more about (often pseudoscientific) psychological strategies rather than brute force military style.
I think quite the opposite is the case. Tony is just repackaging the “get tough, no excuse” into a more acceptable version.

He is always starts with his speech saying how he is interested in figuring out how people didn’t lose hope and achieved massive success despite having the odds stacked against them.

He also talked about how you should have a “must do attitude” and visualizing about what you want to motivate you. He always talks about how people who will have started with worst situation imaginable and achieved much more, without literally spelling out “do not find excuses”.

To me he is saying the same things in a more indirect and less offensive manner. Basically he takes great effort to avoid being seen as condescending.
 

MTF

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I think quite the opposite is the case. Tony is just repackaging the “get tough, no excuse” into a more acceptable version.

He is always starts with his speech saying how he is interested in figuring out how people didn’t lose hope and achieved massive success despite having the odds stacked against them.

He also talked about how you should have a “must do attitude” and visualizing about what you want to motivate you. He always talks about how people who will have started with worst situation imaginable and achieved much more, without literally spelling out “do not find excuses”.

To me he is saying the same things in a more indirect and less offensive manner. Basically he takes great effort to avoid being seen as condescending.

You're right and I was wrong. I watched this video and it's super clear that Tony is all about training the mind like a muscle, which is essentially building mental toughness. He does mention he's very spiritual but I'd say that it's in the background compared to his training.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6Zbykf7hqk
 

MTF

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It is a strange thing personally... for me work also gives meaning to my life and I do have the tendency to work 24/7 or if I'm not working just to rest. I'm what you'd call your classical type A personality. I have a hard time being happy just being. I have to exercise will-power to lift weights, go to the gym, and do the other things that I know are good and necessary for a balanced life. But work, I can work almost non-stop hah!

I get it. It also depends what work is for you. If it's only about "productive" material actions but no inner work (like learning how to relax, be in the moment) then things can get out of balance.
 

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For instance, with being out of shape... It has been a long journey here, to build a habit that has stuck and will continue to improve my life long term. I am now going to the gym daily. I'm not where I want to be, but I am still in the best shape of my life. I can both want more for myself and also be happy to be here vs where I was. There is no excuse in being right there, in that spot. Until...

That sounds like the happy medium. I think that I tend to berate myself for not being where I want to be. So in a way, mental toughness creates this reluctance in me because I think that it's worthless. No matter how hard I try, I'm still not there. But then you can say it's because of impatience and other issues like body image which belong to the "spirituality" spectrum.

Should you blame yourself when a failure does happen? It depends. Was it your fault? If it was your fault, accept it, but learn from it. Don't beat yourself up over it. Don't tell yourself you are broken. That's bullshit. If you give it power over you and you let it blockade you from doing anything similar again, you are harming your future in exchange for the comfort of today.

I'd like to emphasize that sometimes it's good not to do something similar again until you really figure out what you did wrong the last time (the real reason, not the symptoms). If you're in the wrong mental state, you're bound to repeat the same mistakes - even if you accept your failures and "learn" from them (focusing on symptoms over the real reason; like for example a bad business strategy as a symptom but a distracted mind as a true reason).
 

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I'll say this. Meditating for extended periods of time to face my demons head on (demons being feelings of apathy, lust, frustration, anger) with nowhere to hide has been both the hardest and most empowering thing I've ever done.

Great observation, thank you for that.
 

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As you can probably imagine, this method doesn't work too well. To get out of it, I needed a lot of self compassion. Being compassionate towards myself doesn't create any forward momentum, though. But, if you don't believe in yourself, no amount of discipline will help. Once I got to a point where I believed in myself, I needed to apply a bit of mental toughness.

I feel that. And I think that's where self-compassion is truly useful - to build the foundation of self-confidence and self-respect for smart, mental toughness driven, action-taking later on.
 

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I think this depends on the person. For me, the cycle has been the following:

1) Flog myself multiple times a day for how much of a failure I am
2) Feel bad and swear to do better. "Hold myself accountable."
3) Develop a plan
4) Act on plan for some period of time (usually a few hours)
5) Flog myself again for failing.

As you can probably imagine, this method doesn't work too well. To get out of it, I needed a lot of self compassion. Being compassionate towards myself doesn't create any forward momentum, though. But, if you don't believe in yourself, no amount of discipline will help. Once I got to a point where I believed in myself, I needed to apply a bit of mental toughness.

This has been a learning process for me, and takes continual adjustment.
^^^ this.

It looked the same for me. Then once I let go of that pressure, let myself feel compassion for myself, accepted and believed in myself, my self-confidence skyrocketed. I have lots of internal motivation now, and only sometimes need some mental toughness to get me going.

In hindsight, I also see how all my "you are a piece of shit you lazy bastard!" self-talk had 0 chance of success lol.

@MTF - this is such an important thread. Thank you!
 

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^^^ this.

It looked the same for me. Then once I let go of that pressure, let myself feel compassion for myself, accepted and believed in myself, my self-confidence skyrocketed. I have lots of internal motivation now, and only sometimes need some mental toughness to get me going.

In hindsight, I also see how all my "you are a piece of shit you lazy bastard!" self-talk had 0 chance of success lol.

@MTF - this is such an important thread. Thank you!
haha so true. Though, if you believe in yourself, the 'you're a piece of shit' pep talk might work just fine. For me, though, I would have responded, 'yeah, I guess you're right.'
 

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