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Critical Things Mentally Tough People Do Differently

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They Get Enough Sleep

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of sleep to increasing your mental toughness. When you sleep, your brain removes toxic proteins, which are by-products of neural activity when you're awake. Unfortunately, your brain can remove them adequately only while you're asleep, so when you don't get enough sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc by impairing your ability to think—something no amount of caffeine can fix.

Mentally tough people know that their self-control, focus, and memory are all reduced when they don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep, so they make quality sleep a top priority.

If Sleep is it, then my entire college career was a successful boot camp for Seal Team 6... I'm talking 12 hours a day!

You slept 12 hours a day in college? Wow. 

Sure did, if I wasn't partying I was pretty much sleeping. 

College life back in my day was basically going to or coming from partying – especially at the beach (and we went to both Florida coasts, often on the same day).  This quality fun alone was good enough to create a daily appetite for sleeping long and luxuriously...

Add to that work ethic my year round training and playing varsity soccer and it's quite natural to sleep until the afternoon ... even grab an early evening nap every now and then.

Sounds like you did the most with your time there! Did you ever study? :)

I didn't buy the text books, I didn't study and I never went to class – except for only the mid-term and final.  So showing up twice a semester for each class was my maximum effort.

Once I realized classes were all based on multiple choice tests and graded on a curve it became simple perfunctory compliance and significant cost savings ... all thanks to basic statistics.

You are a Master of Loopholes!

Well, maybe so ... 

Perhaps if you realize I worked and paid out of pocket for my own college education then it's not hard to understand why I had a much different perspective than most of my peers who were getting subsidized by parents or government to attend school.  

I realized then that higher education was simply a certification requirement to get on with life, but with a huge social experience opportunity to be had in the making.  So I then reasoned that any silly old degree will serve well enough in life, but the social part of college was something one could either fail at miserably, show up at meekly and not inhale, or succeed at wonderfully by having many, many incredible adventures.

I shot for wonderful successes every time.

I'm still smiling about them ...

PS  Never in any professional setting was I asked about my GPA but once – on the American Stock Exchange.  The guys working there and making millions a year were disappointed it wasn't lower ... 

I never realized a low GPA could be seen as a positive!

All oldschool tradesmen will tell you that ... back in the day there was an inverse correlation in valuing new recruits between those with high aptitudes for book smarts (i.e. know-it-alls) from those with progressive direct experience (i.e. learn-it-alls).  

One naturally displaced opportunity for the other, but among tradesmen there was greater respect for those who earned achievements outside of academia... and more disrespect for any achievements within it.

They literally said they woulda liked me more if I had an even lower GPA than I did, or even flunked out.

If only I knew this when I was going through school, I would have been much less stressed. 

I'm not sure this same cultural resonance holds true today (fewer tradesmen jobs), nor ever did hold true in the MBA/corporate executive or other professional filigreed-paper loving industries ... 

Seems like Silicon Valley is the last place left that still rewards a lack of academic pretensions handsomely, nor penalizes those that actually have them.  

So Adam, I think you did quite alright no matter where you ended up on that continuum – stressing out not included.

Yeah, it just would have been good to do so with less wear and tear. 

This is incorrect:

They Limit Their Caffeine Intake

Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline, the source of the fight-or-flight response. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response to ensure survival. This is great when a bear is chasing you but not so great when life throws you a curve.

When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyper-aroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. Caffeine’s long half-life ensures you stay this way as it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body. Mentally tough people know that too much caffeine is trouble, and they don’t let it get the better of them.

Adrenaline is not the pre-determinant nor pre-cursor of fight or flight responsiveness in the body or lack of rational thinking, adrenaline is the biological consequence of extreme fight or flight circumstances.  

The ratio of dietary Omega 3 to 6 fatty acids determine which prostaglandins are primary and what your physiological hormone and mental state trends towards: either relaxed, contemplative and rational or reactive and on environmental high alert.

Drinking coffee and tea doesn't matter in the least... you're fatty acids have already set your stage as to whether or not you Freak out in a moonage daydream oh yeah!

Yeah, the downside of this article is it has no science. It's just one person's opinion listicle. 

Just saw this posted by Geegee now I was never a LeBron or Federer but I was pretty good back in the day – sleeping 12 hours might have done the trick!

You'd be unstoppable if you got 12 hours of sleep every night.

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