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  • Writer's pictureA.S. Morris

Shin Kicking Shenanigans

There are countless quotes, books, sayings, poems, TED talks, billboards and bumper stickers that tell you how to amass mental fortitude. Everyone from Bruce Lee to Eleanor Roosevelt have shared their thoughts on how "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent." I personally struggle with many of these aphorisms. It is not that I can't appreciate the meaning behind them its likely my cynical side. Like really Eleanor why didn't I think of that. I am someone who admits freely to their flaws and areas for growth. Many of them I own and am perfectly okay with. Many of them I wish would iron themselves out so we could row merrily down the stream.

One quote that does resonate with me is by H. Jackson Brown Jr, he is an American author who has written a few bestsellers and perhaps best known for the New York Times gaffe when they misattributed a quote from his book P.S. I Love You to Mark Twain.

"Every person you meet knows something you don't; learn from them."

I truly believe people come into your life for a reason even if the reasoning for their appearance isn't known for some time. There are simply some people who are meant to be a part of you. For some reading this please know I am not trying to imply these are life sentences. Sometimes its a brief encounter at a dive bar, a much beloved playground friend, or a stranger on the subway; we all have these moments, these people. Some leave cherished lasting memories, some are still present, some we wish would just simply go away. The mature response would be take that piece, that knowledge you gleaned from that unpleasant or painful experience and let it drive you to a stronger positive presence. The immature response would be to kick them in the shins. I'll admit being immature is a lot more fun sometimes however, we are focusing on mental fortitude. So, please leave the shin kicking to the playground. Society has likely deemed me too old for such inappropriate shenanigan's. Lame.

So we have checked the box that shin kicking isn't allowed so lets continue down this yellow brick road to mental fortitude. Mental toughness is not a one size fits all; it examines how well you can handle stress, pressure, coping skills, ability to perform (consistently) at your peak level; this isn't a walk in the park. Heck when I read that list I think I'd prefer a walk in the park, at night, in the dark in Druid Hill. I was born and raised in Baltimore; I can make such claims. I have yet to provide you with any solid advice on how to develop ones mental toughness. I have only shared that kicking people is bad. I encourage you to reference Mr. Brown's quote above; you're welcome if you just learned something from me.

I will admit that it is easier, sometimes, to focus and get wrapped up in the negative things you learn from people. The things that feed your anxiety and simply knock your world off its axis. Even if there are 733 magical, mythical, marvelous things that you have learned from wonderful people, our brains (my brain) tend to savor the things that make you seem that the biggest lift you'll ever accomplish is a 5lb dumbbell.

Alright, so I need provide some tangible takeaways:

  1. Don't kick people in the shin.

  2. Don't let your world be knocked off its axis because one person, at one point in time had that ability (you still can't kick them).

  3. Cherish the highs, kindness and possibilities.

  4. Be authentic.

  5. Take solace in knowing you are not alone in this and that there is no race to the finish line.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - H. Jackson Brown Jr.

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