Mental Will: What’s YOUR Marathon?


When was the last time your mental will was truly tested? Was it tested because of a proactive choice you made, or did the test come as part of reaction to something that happened TO YOU?

Much of the time, our mental will (mental strength) is tested when things happen TO US. It’s just a fact of life. Our physiology actively works to keep us from situations that might test us beyond recovery. We avoid things that are difficult; we work to make life easier not necessarily because we are lazy, but because we are likely hard wired to do so.

We get tested most often when we can no longer avoid it.

But…what if we actively sought out things that test our mental will – a personal marathon?

I know, not everyone will (or should)  go out and run a marathon, but the principle holds that when people voluntarily put themselves in a situation where their mental will  is consistently challenged they are better for it. Imagine months of arduous training followed by the ultimate challenge of the race itself. The result? People come away with a mental perspective that makes them stronger in all aspects of their life.

After all, if you can talk yourself in to getting up at 4:30am for months to knock out runs of 15, 17, 20 miles on the weekend, you can take on pretty much anything right?

That’s EXACTLY what I’m talking about!

You don’t have to run a marathon to build your mental will. But you have to do SOMETHING!

“Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise, just like the muscles of the body.”  – Lynn Jennings

Mental will doesn’t come from taking the easy road. It comes from hard work – not necessarily the kind of hard work that you are required to do – but from the hard work you seek out voluntarily.

So what’s your marathon?

Going back to school to finish that degree? Getting that second degree? Getting a certification? Starting a business?

Put the work in. The rewards will affect your life far beyond “crossing that finish line”.


Photo Credit: By Chris Brown (originally posted to Flickr as Marathon Runners) [CC-BY-2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons



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