I have a guarantee for you.
You will encounter trials in your life.
I have another guarantee for you.
The ease with which you handle the trials you encounter will largely depend on how mentally prepared you are to handle challenging situations.
As children, whether in the classroom, on the stage, or the field, the adults in our lives structured trials for us. We were regularly presented trials in the forms of tests, performances, or competitions, and we knew that our performances were dependent on our preparation.
Did we study for the hardest test possible?
Did we practice our lines or routines to the point where they became as natural as brushing our teeth in the morning?
Did we train our bodies to endure beyond the length of the match, and to make the movements required of us instinctual?
These were always the questions that determined our readiness.
As children, our trials were often restrained to these formats, because the adults in our lives wanted us to remain innocent. We didn’t expect to deal with the kinds of trials that adults dealt with.
Nevertheless, some of the most traumatic experiences children experience come from trials that they weren’t prepared for.
As adults, we face unstructured trials with potentially severe consequences. How do we prepare for this new grade of trial? What do adult trials look like? How do we prepare our minds and bodies for them so that we can feel confident when they show up? And when will they show up?
There’s a gap here.
Adult trials may take the form of threats to our health, wealth, property, relationships, reputation, dignity, and human rights. These trials can come without warning, and for most of us, no supervisor is pushing us to prepare for them.
If you’ve experienced any of these trials, you know how disruptive they can be. Not only from the time they consume in the moments they occur but from the time they steal in the future when they create trauma that you have to resolve. The reason to prepare for your future trials is to reduce or eliminate the debilitating damage of the trauma they can create.
This is where you have to ask yourself, “what am I doing on a regular basis to prepare for my inevitable trials?”
Just as there are no life supervisors, there are also no life judges more critical than ourselves that walk among us. If you are pleased with how you deal with the trials in your life, you can stop reading now.
If you feel you could handle those trials better than you do, then decide to prepare better and start taking action.
Here are two rules I’ve been striving to live by for the last year or so that have prepared me better than at any point in my adult life for my inevitable trials.
1) Don’t do things that compromise my ability to handle trials.
This means I shouldn’t do things to my body or my mind that will weaken me. If I am compromised, I am sure to be less effective at dealing with a severe life trial. I can’t always control whether or not I’m compromised, but I certainly shouldn’t willfully compromise myself.
It’s worth mentioning that I have life experience with a complete inability to follow this rule. When that was my reality, addressing this inability WAS THE TRIAL. It was a daily trial, always creating micro-traumas and making me very susceptible to those more significant trials and traumas, which are the focus of this message. If you can relate to this, you have to handle this dysfunction first.
2) Do regularly place myself in stressful (but safe) situations so that I am not shocked by the stress that trials bring.
For me, this looks like intermittent fasting, getting choked out in jiu-jitsu, lifting heavy weights, and committing to demanding tasks like writing a book or building a company.
These two simple rules don’t make me bulletproof, and I don’t follow them entirely, but they do make me feel more prepared for the trials that life presents beyond my control. I know and accept that life will bring me my fair share of hardship, so now I willingly experience difficulty and discomfort and try my best not to weaken myself for the moments when I most need to be strong.
Two simple but difficult rules to live by. If these feel like rules that you are a long way from living by, pick one thing in your life that gets you closer to each rule and start working on it today. Then do it again tomorrow and the next day, until you barely have to think about them.
Mental, emotional, and even physical toughness today can lessen the effects of tomorrow’s traumatic experiences and keep us on track to living out our purpose.
Have a grateful day.