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What Can Gurkhas Teach Us About Mental Toughness

What Can Gurkhas Teach Us About Mental Toughness

Hope Everest

“Everybody comes to a point in their life when they want to quit. But it’s what you do at that moment that determines who you are.”

David Goggins

The Importance of Mental Toughness

It can be a mistake to wish for an easier life. The reality is that this is too often an unrealistic expectation. Our world is constantly changing and sometimes the conditions will be favorable to us and other times not so much. As an old saying goes, “you can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”. If we are serious about improving our life, it is mental toughness that we may need to develop rather than just waiting for things to get easier. 

Is Mental Toughness Something We Can Develop?

The right genetic inheritance may give some people a head start when it comes to mental toughness, but it is also something we can all can develop. It is all about our willingness to do hard things, and our resilience when confronted with things we find challenging. Mental toughness means being regularly willing to leave our comfort zone, and the more we do this, the more resilient we become.

The Gurkhas Provide a Great Example of the Power of Mental Toughness

The Gurkhas are one of the most respected and feared army units on the planet. They don’t come much tougher than these guys. These soldiers from Nepal demonstrate incredible levels of mental resilience, and most impressively, they seem to be able to do this while radiating a sense of calm. They are renowned for being friendly and good natured in day-to-life, but a force to be feared in combat.

Today the Gurkhas are strongly associated with the British army, but these two forces weren’t always such great pals. In fact, when the British first came across the Gurkhas it was as enemy combatants. This was back in 1814 during the Anglo-Nepalese War. The British were so impressed with the way the Gurkhas handled themselves in battle that they decided to recruit them and have been doing so ever since. There are currently around 4000 of them serving in the British army.

What Makes the Gurkhas So Tough

gurka 2
gurka 1

What Can The Gurkahs Teach Us About Mental Toughness? 

Self-discipline is considered a cornerstone of mental toughness. It is the ability to control our motivation, energy levels, thoughts, and feelings in such a way so as to achieve a goal. It is self-discipline that allows us to keep pushing when at other times we would give up. This is a skill that we develop by doing it. If we begin with even a small amount of self-discipline in our life, we can build upon it until one day we can do things we once might have thought impossible.

Adaptability is another mental toughness attribute that the Gurkhas can inspire us to develop. In order to succeed with our goals, we need to be able to adapt to what is happening in our life. If we are too rigid about how we go about things, we can be setting ourselves up for failure. No amount of self-discipline will be enough if we are on a path that is not sufficient to get us to our goal.

A major obstacle to achieving our goals in life is ambivalence. This is when we are not fully committed to what it is we are trying to do. This makes it all too easy to give up as soon as things get hard. An attitude where we don’t even allow failure to be an option can be what we need to succeed.

Getting competitive can help us to push ourselves beyond our normal limits. We don’t want to get too obsessed with winning, but the ego can help us push towards our limits.

Sometimes a lack of mental toughness can be due to underlying issues such as addiction, depression, trauma, or anxiety disorders. If that is the case, we will often require professional help. Here at Hope Rehab Thailand we are dedicated to helping clients reach their potential. Contact us now to find out more.


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