Discover more from Super Sunday
Do You Have Emotional Stamina?
How to use your superpower to create lasting change
Super Sunday is a weekly newsletter helping readers explore and learn tools for developing success habits through mindfulness and mindfitness. If that’s your vibe, please share with like-minded friends to help me grow it.
Hello friends! 👋
As always, a warm welcome to our new members and a big thank you to everyone helping spread the word on this newsletter! 🙏
In last week’s letter I covered few points from “STUTZ”; the Netflix show directed by Jonah Hill and is a documentary on his therapist Phil Stutz. If you haven’t watched it yet, make this today’s entertainment sesh. 😊
Today, I’d like to cover one important concept I learnt from Phil and I mentioned last week as well - the idea of having emotional stamina.
Emotional Stamina simply means doing what I said I will do whether I feel like it or not. It is the ability to get back up after getting knocked down or experiencing a set-back.
For most of us, cultivating such ability is akin to having a superpower!
Let’s dive into different ways we can bring this to life as we design our days:
🩹 THERE WILL BE PAIN!
The first thing we have to come to terms with, and accept, is the reality that there will always be pain.
It is not a pessimistic view of the world to recognize this, rather a wise one. Once we respect this nature of life, and accept it, we can then be in a wise relationship with it.
We can work with it, appreciate it, and maybe even see the value in it. In doing so, we have the opportunity to alchemize suffering into flourishing.
Pain is indeed inevitable, yet suffering is completely optional.
During my mindfulness teacher training at Brown I was introduced to Dr. Britton Willoughby’s work, the Director of Clinical and Affective Neuroscience Lab at Brown, who taught a beautiful concept to explain the previous sentence.
She teaches us that when we get shot with an arrow that carries pain (loss, failure, etc..), we generally shoot ourselves with another arrow. The second arrow is all the unnecessary dialogue our mind engages in that causes further pain and suffering.
This is where mindfulness practice becomes a very powerful ally; it allows us to break these auto-response circuits, and choose a more suitable one instead.
How many of us mindlessly engage in such conversations regarding the different pains we face in our lives?
Is that an empowering conversation or a discouraging one?
Do we need discouragement when we are already experiencing pain from the first arrow?
Building a wise relationship with pain and having the wisdom to accept the inevitability of it occurring, empowers us to choose a suitable response to deal with that pain instead of creating further suffering.
When we understand this, we understand that we always have the choice between the pain of discipline and the pain of regret.
Which would you choose?
💪 WILLPOWER IS YOUR SUPER POWER
I will briefly touch base on a concept that I can talk about for days.
I do indeed believe that willpower is a super power, it is the most important driving energy for a successful life.
It is at the core of building emotional stamina, the core of building habits, the building block of discipline, and the ultimate force behind all action.
While some scientists believe willpower is finite, others believe it is infinite, yet some others believe it doesn’t even work.
I tend to agree with everyone, given the complexity of such a universal power.
Is it finite?
Yes! We all have experienced this and do so everyday - think of it like a battery bar, we start our day with a full bar and as the day goes on this willpower gets depleted making tasks harder to do, we experience what psychologists call decision fatigue.
So, we have to schedule our most important tasks first thing in the morning.
Is it infinite?
Absolutely! We all have experienced this as well - no matter how tired and depleted we feel, we will find energy for doing what we love even if it requires effort and even if it is late at night.
So, when we do what we love, we can find infinite motivation to do it.
Does it always work?
No! Willpower alone is useless in creating lasting change. If we do not believe in the value of the action we are taking, AND more importantly have an identity that is aligned with the change we want to bring, then we will find very creative ways to give up.
So, starting with an absolute clarity on who do we identify as is essential for the effective use of willpower.
Which brings me to the next and final point;
👁 HAVING CLARITY ON THE VISION
To truly use and activate this superpower we have to be very clear on who we want to be.
The trick I always use to create the change I want to bring in my life is to get very clear on WHO I want to be.
Once I do that, I decide on the action that is inline with that identity, schedule it first thing in the morning till I build enough connection with it.
Doing so consistently I develop infinite willpower to do it whenever I need - whether I feel like it or not, I will find motivation to do it.
I revisit this best identity in (pop quiz; do you remember the three sources of happiness I covered earlier?) …. my Self, Passion, and Relationship, and use it to decide the necessary action to show up at my best, every.single.morning.
It takes one minute to align your identity with your action in each, and these three minutes have the power to transform the day and in turn the rest of your life.
So, WHO are you at your best in your Self, Passion, and Relationship?
Seriously, stop for a second and envision that best version in each right now.
What is the #1 thing you need stop doing today because it is getting in the way of you showing up at your best in each?
What is the #1 thing you need to start doing today so you are showing up at your best in each?
The fastest way to create change is to stop the things that are not serving us.
Have fun with it, and take charge of designing your ideal life.
Some related topics come to mind as I wrote this and will unpack in the future; motivation, training willpower (it is like a muscle), and the impermanence of pain.
Have a Super Sunday! 💪