Special Forces are known worldwide for their ability to beat the odds: whether fighting and eliminating an enemy force superior to their own, engaging in newsworthy hostage rescue situations, to undertake secret reconnaissance in a foreign country or simply by being a "member" of an elite combat unit in their country.
Undoubtedly, it takes a tough person to meet these 'life and death' challenges, taxing both physically and mentally, always on high alert to counter any imaginable threat. Special forces are not only feared for their tenacity, their Olympic fitness or their latest weapons, but for something more important still: their state of mind.
There are countless examples of Operators who were shot and fought on, continuing to fight the enemy as their bodies screamed at them to stop and give up. We can, therefore, study their thought processes to find out what makes these Men able to go through hell to achieve their goal and fulfill the mission.
What is Mental Force?
Mental toughness is forcing yourself to endure what you truly despise for longer than you think. Is it way too difficult? Too scary? Too repulsive? Too tedious? Too depressing? Too enraged? Maybe, but you'll stick it out anyway.
7 Mental Forces Techniques used in the Army:
Here you will find mental coping mechanisms to help you overcome the daily or life difficulties you have to face. You will learn how an operator is trained to deal with mental pressures by installing habits and changing perspectives: Find out how they push their limits.
MENTAL FORCE HACK #1: PERSPECTIVE
If you had $86,400 in your bank account, how upset would you be if someone took $10 from you? Yes, they stole it. Would you be willing to spend all of the remaining €86,390 to get them back? No, of course.
We all have 24 hours a day, 86,400 seconds. Don't let the 10 seconds someone stole from you with a negative comment, action, or attitude ruin your day. You have 86,390 seconds to live. Don't spend a single second dwelling on those meaningless seconds it took for someone to try and ruin your day. Don't give them that satisfaction.
MENTAL FORCE HACK #2: THE MEANING OF LIFE
The meaning of life is a question that has been asked since the birth of civilization. What does all this mean? You can look at the matter spiritually, biologically or emotionally. In our view, it boils down to one thing: self-preservation.
99% of everything you do in life is about self-preservation. This is how you are wired to think and behave. The same is true for everyone on Earth. Almost every action you and others take is for the preservation of the individual and the human race. Even those we may deem self-destructive would believe on a conscious or subconscious level that they are preserving their minds – including those who overeat, those with addictions, and even those who commit suicide. On a larger scale, why does a country go to war? Self-preservation. Everyone wants to preserve themselves. It helps to put things into perspective. When someone fights against you, just know this: no one is against you, they are only for themselves.
MENTAL FORCE HACK #3: THE INNER PLACE OF CONTROL
Introduced in 1966 by Julian Rotter, a locus of control is a psychological construct that balances the extent to which an individual believes they have power over their life – how much a person believes in “free will”. A person with strong internal control believes they can influence events and outcomes. Someone with a strong external power of control blames outside forces for life events.
Do you want to win some money? Those with a strong center of internal control will be the ones who go out and do it - the entrepreneurial types. These types of people are confident that they can succeed, they seek to learn, they thrive when faced with challenges, and they handle stress better.
Those with strong external control will be people who believe they have little or no control over their lives and the best way to gain wealth would be to leave it to external factors - buying lottery tickets in this case . They leave life events to chance, fate and the environment. People like this tend to be less successful in life and suffer more from mental disorders. They are quick to blame others, avoid responsibility, are more prone to stress and depression, and tend to have a victim mentality.
Internal locus types will assess life situations and label them as follows:
- I'm late because I haven't because I didn't plan ahead
- We lost the football match because we weren't playing well enough
- I didn't get the promotion because I didn't work hard enough
External locus types would subtitle the same situations by stating:
- I'm late because the traffic is bad
- We lost the football match because the referee was unfair
- I didn't get the promotion because the boss doesn't support me
What type of person are you? What do you want to be?
MENTAL STRENGTH HACK #4: THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION
Humans are natural pessimists and are often quick to turn their attention to all the difficult aspects of a task, however, this mental toughness hack allows you to totally change the way you approach a challenge. It changes your mindset. Suddenly the impossible becomes possible and it forces you to think that you can accomplish whatever you want, no matter what it takes.
You can apply this simple question to any number of scenarios; from long-term training for a special forces selection to completing basic military training or short-term completion of a 1.5 km running fitness test.
The underlying theme here is self-discipline - this mental toughness tip not only strengthens your desire to achieve your goal, or even makes it easier, but it helps you understand your own motivations. Ask yourself: "Are you looking for excuses to fail?" If you answered "yes" to the question and you're still procrastinating to achieve your goal, then you're looking for excuses to fail. You are not self-disciplined.
If so, you may not be as serious as you thought about your goal and you have to ask yourself why you want to achieve this goal in the first place.
MENTAL FORCE HACK #5: THE 70% SOLUTION
The US Marine Corps believes that a course of action that is planned to a 100% success rate is unrealistic and will most likely fail. As the saying goes, "No plan survives contact with the enemy."
This is where the “70% solution” comes in. A plan designed to be 70% successful is still very likely to succeed, but will allow room for possible adjustments and improvisation, thus making the plan flexible and more likely to succeed versus a rigid plan with no wiggle room. .
In an ever-changing combat environment, this very fluid way of thinking may seem dangerous, but it allows for response against your enemy's plan - allowing the leader to be both proactive and reactive. A leader would direct their assets by communicating the end goal to their team and let the people under their command understand their role to play on the shoe.
The next time you find yourself in an environment where decisions need to be made quickly, apply the “70% solution” to succeed and be agile enough to respond to your rapid changes.
MENTAL FORCE HACK #6: YOUR SOUVENIR BANK
Visualization is one of the most powerful things you have in your arsenal for mental toughness. When you find yourself in a new or stressful situation, your brain automatically tries to find a similar situation in your “memory bank” to guide you on how to behave.
Visualization “hacks” this automation because it allows you to create strong, repeated mental images. Shaolin monks in China use visualization to help them learn Kung Fu. They imagine themselves using their martial arts skills, going through the moves so that when it comes to using them for real, the skills are quickly accessible in the brain, allowing them to apply their Kung Fu as a second nature.
MENTAL STRENGTH HACK #7: FEAR IS USEFUL
Fear is a survival mechanism. When you perceive danger, a change develops in your behavior. Fight, flee or block in place. However, worrying about fear means that we suffer more in imagination than in reality. A survey included in the book “Nerve” by Taylor Clark revealed that people are more afraid of public speaking than of dying. Yes, at a funeral, statistically more people would rather be the one who lost their life than the one giving the eulogy!
Soldiers today are learning to understand their fear and realizing that it actually has many benefits. Fear keeps you focused, makes you see more clearly. It pushes you to keep going. It makes you walk faster and try harder. A German proverb says: “Fear makes the wolf bigger than itself”. Yet the battlefield is fertile ground for fear. There are so many things to worry about and here are some ways to counter it:
The first way to counter fear is to prepare for it. People are naturally afraid of the unknown. That's what military training is for. Navy Seals spend approximately 75% of their time on training and 25% of their time on operations. Similarly, SAS squadrons alternate between active duty, standby, and rest and recovery, with the least amount of time actually on operations. Skills and training are practiced constantly to the point where it becomes second nature (it puts an automatic response in the brain) to the point where it is boring so that when an operator is faced with a threat they know exactly how to defuse the situation.