With all the events and restrictions of past year  you might think: ‘it’s  ok to feel a bit: ‘meh…everybody does’.  Someone once said that a problem shared is a problem doubled:).  According to Yuval Noah Harari ‘s Homo sapiens human progress was possible due to the ability of humans to share stories and gossips. More than that, pointing to a common enemy, it has been the rulers leadership method most used in the past millennia. In fighting our common enemy, the COVID pandemic, our government managed to keep people united and its spread sort of manageable (some might debate it) for the first part of last year.

Unfortunately, the civic obedience while  waiting for the big boss government to save us, transformed us in victims of circumstance with the only hope of surviving through this period while waiting for the vaccine to bring us salvation. 

In The Netherlands  we are soon celebrating a year since the first lock-down started and it is a sad milestone. The reservoirs of patience, perseverance and strong will are depleting and the general mental fitness is taking a hit. If you wander what mental fitness is, it is the capacity to deal with life challenges with a positive rather than a negative mindset.   I was fortunate to win a coaching grant for Shirzad Chamine positive intelligence April last year and it proved to be the inspiration I need it.  

Some cynical people challenged me in the past, as to why do you need to be so positive and wanting to thrive. What’s wrong with being critical and just surviving if you just feel tired, frustrated or angry. Some people might say that negative emotions are good, they give you a …. in the backside and help you get your act together to deliver. Well, I tend to disagree. If performance comes as a result of a motivational push, it will not last long and it will cost your overall happiness. I know I made some wrong choices because of it, like applying for a role I didn’t  want out of jealousy or out of frustration. Eventually, it didn’t end up well.

So, if thriving is what we want. How can we get more of it, and how can we stop all those negative feelings, from messing with our head and our ability to think clearly.

Well it is about building your mental muscles when you don’t need them. If we want  to have beach ready abs, you don’t start training during the holiday, you do it before by going to the gym or practising on the mat at home. 

In partnership with  Shirzad’s positive intelligence company we started to offer mental fitness  training as part of our coaching practice and I am must confess the results exceeded even my expectations.  It’s not about the high-end training, it’s not about my coaching skills, it’s not about Shirzad’s wisdom, it is simply the level of challenge and difficulty people have to face nowadays and the sense of urgency to change that makes the Thrive with positive intelligence so effective.

About 10 days ago, Irina Palarie and myself  led two panel sessions about it and we shared the key principles for thriving instead of surviving by increasing your mental fitness and positive intelligence:

  1. Mindset – If you’re not physically fit, you’d feel physical stress as you climb the stairs.   If you’re not mentally fit, you’d feel mental stress, such as anxiety, frustration, or unhappiness as you try to deal with work, family and relationship challenges. You can train to become mentally fit.
  2. Definition – PQ is the measure of your Mental Fitness. It’s the best predictor of how happy you are and how well you perform relative to your potential. Unfortunately, 80% of people score below the minimum level of mental fitness (PQ) required for peak performance and happiness.   
  3. Science – With recent breakthroughs in neuroscience, cognitive behaviour and technology we can now improve our mental fitness, but we need to do something about it, we need to train our muscles,  just like we go to the gym.
  4. Method – There are 3 root core muscles that you can train to increase your PQ:
    1. Intercepting your Saboteurs – housed in the left side of your brain, the reptilian one.
    2. Nurturing your Sage – unique mental powers (i.e empathy, passion, curiosity) housed in the middle cortex
    3. Self-Command – if you would have command over your brain you wouldn’t  stress out over what you can’t control, push away self-doubts, recover from disappointments immediately, and spend little time in anger, regret, or blame. 

A good friend, Koen Timmermans, reminded me of a very powerful quote that sums up nicely, why thriving is so much better than surviving and worrying. 

‘If it can be solved there is no need to worry and if it can’t be solved, worry is of no use’ (Dalai Lama XIV)

P.S: If you want to find out more about mental fitness or you just want to pick my brain on something that bothers you, DM me and for our free open events and articles : https://mothersasleaders.com/


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