Look at your dog, he or she is the cutest animal ever, always happy, that plays with his squeaky toys, and cries when you come back home. Now, think about a wild wolf. A playful mate for puppies, but ready to transform into a lethal predator. With a look capable of petrifying any other living being who sees it pass by, wolves are intimidating, fierce, and tough as hell.
Not the description of an animal that you can pet near the fireplace, right? This comparison is useful because it gives the opportunity to think about the reason for the substantial difference between a domestic and a wild animal.
Why is that useful to us?
While our dog spends his life playing and sleeping on soft, warm pillows with his belly full, the wolf can be often found starving while trudging in the snow and squinting against the wind, battling the cold, right in the middle of a days-long hunt.
Those experiences forge the mind and the body of the animal. The same thing is also valid for humans. If we live an extremely comfortable life we become the domestic dog, otherwise, if we are exposed to hard situations throughout our lives, we become the wild wolf.
Comfort feels really good in the moment, but it’s terrible in the long term because it doesn’t prepare us to face the difficulties that life inevitably will throw at us. Discomfort forces us to face issues that once seemed too much to bear, and face them with more confidence because we’ve become aware of our ability to endure hard times.
It’s crucial to intentionally choose to withstand daily, minor adversities, without waiting to be caught unprepared by the unplanned ones, because, by doing so, we’re forced to evolve and become more resilient.
“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” – Walt Disney
Below are three habits that can help you transform into the biggest and bravest wolf:
Exercise, if done correctly, is a great way to make yourself tougher. Push through the fatigue and finish that high-intensity session, or get that last rep in. This isn’t about injuring yourself, it’s about becoming aware of where your limits are.
The retired Navy SEAL David Goggins has conceptualized the 40% rule, in which he states that once your mind tells you “you’re done”, you’re really only 40% done. So when you feel that you can’t do that last set of burpees, shake it off, put your hands on the ground, and do it.
The hot water handle is right there, and it would be easy to turn it and have a nice warm shower, but don’t do it. Stay strong! The feeling of ice cold water running down your spine isn’t a pleasurable sensation, but it’s only that, a sensation, it won’t kill you.
Start with ten seconds and then, slowly, increase the time you spend under the cold water. The cold shower also increases alertness, speeds muscle recovery, relieves depression, and improves circulation.
3. Read stoic philosophy
Stoicism teaches the development of self-control and courage as a means of overcoming destructive emotions and the hardships that life will inevitably throw at us. Reading some books of the most well-known stoic philosophers turns out to be extremely useful to learn how to strengthen our minds.
Can it be done wrong? Of course! We can sustain a lot more struggles than what we think, but there is a limit to the amount of suffering that we can tolerate, and above that, it becomes detrimental.
To avoid this situation, we should operate on that thin edge. We have to discover it with experience, but after we’ve realized where that point is, we need to push ourselves there.
Consider it similar to what happens when we lift weights. Strength improves when you lift enough weight. When you lift too little, you don’t gain anything, and if you lift too much, you risk injuries.
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn
And what happens when life strikes?
Naturally, when life hits, it isn’t in our power to decide how strong the punch will be. We simply have to stay strong and keep moving forward through the pain and the struggles.
However, resisting the storm is easier if we’ve toughened our will and trained our bodies during the quiet times. So, consider implementing some form of daily challenge, and use it as preparation for the difficult times that will come.
While the dog, under the rain and the blowing wind, trembles from the cold and shakes from the fear, the wolf puts his head down and continues to walk, knowing to be strong enough to endure, until the sun rises again.