Today, we’re concluding our series on weak individuals by discussing how to avoid personal, emotional, and mental weakness.
Personal Weakness Leads To Despair And Failure
Life is difficult. There are diseases, wars, suffering, mayhem, abuse, and much more. You will be a victim of life’s cruelties. A loved one will get sick, your car will break down, your job will lay you off, etc. The best ways to deal with life’s many horrors and inconveniences is to become as strong as possible.
You develop internal strength by adhering to virtue. If you are courageous in small matters than you will be courageous when it’s time to face the office bully. If you are frugal in your daily life, then you will have money saved for when your car inevitably breaks down and you need a new one. If you are honest with yourself and avoid white lies then you can trust your judgment when you need to make a life-changing decision.
However, if you shirk personal responsibility and refuse to live your best life, then you will become weak and useless. Fail to be loyal today and you’ll have no allies tomorrow. Fail to be industrious on Friday and you’ll scramble to complete your homework on Sunday. Fail to be magnanimous today and you’ll never earn respect from your friends and family.
How To Become A Strong Individual
The weaker you become, the more life can freely thrash you and defeat you at every turn. Your internal strength is like any muscle because it’s developed through constant struggle and stressors. Only through combat, both large and small, do you develop the strength necessary to take on bigger projects and tasks.
However, when you are weak, you will lose out on life’s greater challenges and consequentially life’s greatest rewards. You’ll develop resentment as the people around you go forward and you stay stuck in your weakness. Quickly, you’ll become insecure, abrasive, or manipulative, so you can get your way and dominate everyone else.
Cruelty comes from weakness. Therefore, if you want to avoid becoming a weak individual who abuses power and hurts others then you’ll need to heed the following advice. Below I detail how to build your character, develop your mental strength, and overcome the pitfalls which create frail individuals.
1. Develop Internal Validation Through Honesty
Being dependent on the validation of others to have a sense of self-worth is self-destructive. For example, if you do the what your job requires and desperately need your boss to give you a hearty thumbs up at the end of each day, then you are emotionally dependent on his or her approval. You dependency means you’ll always seek applause from those in power even if they want you to do evil or morally-dubious actions.
What you’ll need is internal validation. Internal validation comes from setting challenging expectations for yourself and accomplishing those goals. Additionally, acting virtuously, kindly, and professionally will help you develop confidence in yourself.
Furthermore, never lie. If you have doubts about your current course, then listen to your internal objections. Maybe your inner voice is reminding you of the goals you wanted to fulfill. However, playing games will not help you reach those goals. Thus, you should be honest, listen to your internal voice, and pause your play time to focus on finishing your work.
Only Seek External Praise When You’ve Earned It
Strong individuals primarily need internal validation. Noticed I said primarily – we are social creatures and require recognition from others. However, we should never be obsessed with what others think.
For example, if your co-workers are struggling and you step up, take charge, and resolve their issues then, yes, it is reasonable to expect a little acknowledgment from your managers. If anything, you’ll want your hard work to help you secure a future promotion or a potential raise.
Your sense of validation and importance should come from what you do as an individual. Your ideas, behaviors, and actions should be under constant self-scrutiny. Therefore, limit your need for approval from others. Compare your actions to the 13 virtues and always compare yourself today to who you were yesterday. Seek to learn a skill, care for your loved ones, and be a virtuous person. These activities will make you strong and prevent internal weakness.
2. Develop Emotional Strength And Control Your Emotions
All three versions of weak individuals lack emotional control. Emotional control is difficult to master. Our emotions help our rational minds better understand what we love and value. However, they are volatile, strong-willed, and numerous. For example, rationally, you should ignore your anger when someone slights you. Emotionally, you should respond with gusto when you’ve been offended. The first desire is practical while the second is cathartic. Both wants are valid. Thus, your life should be focused on fulfilling your rational and emotional needs.
However, if you ignore your anger and bury it within you, you’ll pay the price. Your anger exists to help you identify when you have been wronged. If you ignore this emotional identifier, others will have an easier time of abusing and exploiting to you. Why? Because not all moments of exploitation are easily identifiable and we need our “gut feelings” (i.e. our emotions) to help us identify snakes.
On the other hand, responding to every slight with righteous anger will exhaust you. You’ll also push many people away, including those who may have offended you but did so out of ignorance. Potential allies will scurry away while enemies will make a mockery of you. Your lack of emotional control will make you weak, insecure, and easy to destroy.
Stay Emotionally Connected With Yourself
Whenever an emotion pops up, identify it. Are you angry? Sad? Happy? From here, try to understand why. Are you angry because someone cut you off at traffic or the poor performance you had at work today? When you start genuinely asking yourself questions, you can start exploring your feelings.
It’s important to develop emotional control, so you can prevent your emotions from controlling you. Your emotions are there for a reason: you’re angry at traffic because it is deeply inconveniencing and troublesome. However, the goal is to stop yourself from losing your temper, cursing, and honking incessantly.
When we are overpowered by our emotion, we react negatively to situations. This clouds our ability to think critically and we lose the nuance we need to productively resolve issues. A dominating person reacts passionately to situations because he or she lacks emotional control. If they could calm down, take a step back, and listen, they may learn their knowledge is limited.
There’s no easy path to internal strength and emotional control. But learning to control your emotions is crucial when trying to strengthen yourself as an individual.
3. Build Your Internal Strength And Build Your Willpower
Building one’s willpower requires intense focus. Your willpower is limited but can be expanded through a variety of means.
Firstly, avoid the things that drain willpower. Avoid trying people, wasteful activities, and the like. Next, set clear goals and understand what you need to do with your day. Having expectations always helps to bolster your willpower.
Lastly, reward yourself and find ways to enjoy your downtime. The more meaningful your rewards and victories become, the more eager you will be to try harder.
Why is willpower important? Weak individuals, like the deceptive, hurt and manipulate others because they refuse to work, build, or produce. However, if they had the gall, the willpower, and the tenacity, they could push through their lack of motivation and accomplish their goals on their terms.
Build your willpower and you won’t see a need to control or hurt others.
4. Seek Power For the Right Reasons
First and foremost, seek power over yourself. Having power doesn’t matter if you can’t gain a handle on your tiniest urges. It’s important to take the time to see what big and small habits you have and find a way to control those habits, so they don’t control you or mess up your life.
With that out of the way, we have to accept that positive power hierarchies exist. However, you may find yourself at the bottom of these hierarchies. If you’re tired of being on the bottom and wish to climb to the top – start climbing but for the right reasons.
For example, don’t seek to be the manager of a company because you want to hurt your co-workers. Seek to become the manager because you want to make the work conditions of your co-workers better. I fought to become the manager at a restaurant for a few months and I did all I could to help others. I advocated for better work hours, more equipment, and longer breaks. I improved the working conditions as best I could before I left.
It’s important to avoid pursuing action because you have malice in your heart. This malice will make you insecure because you’ll know power should be given to the competent and pure, not the vindictive and incapable. You should focus on contributing to hierarchies based on skill, competence, and magnanimity.
In conclusion: avoid seeking power to abuse. When you do gain power, hold yourself to the highest standard in order to prevent hurting those who are dependent on you.
5. Develop Humility. You Don’t Know Everything.
Humility is developed by understanding the world does not revolve around you. Accepting your limitations, acknowledging the existence of others, and continuing to pursue virtue are all required to develop humility.
Humility does not mean allowing yourself or what you value to be trampled and disrespected. Stand up for individualism and your personal happiness. Additionally, humility is not the opposite of pride but the absence of arrogance, i.e., an unrealistically positive view of oneself.
A humble person understands how little they know. He listens to the wisdom of others and uses their wisdom to improve. On the other hand, an arrogant individual refuses to heed wise words because he believes he is right. Such behavior is typical of a dominant personality. When you believe you know everything, you’ll never improve and people will become exhausted while interacting with you. Stagnation and loneliness are the fates which await arrogant individuals.
6. Avoid Weak-Willed People
You will always adopt the bad habits of your closest friends. If a friend constantly complains, then you will complain as well. You’ll lose emotional control and the opportunities to strengthen your mental fortitude. Such a “friend” will infect you with their ingratitude and will bring bad luck and ill will onto your life.
Many people I’ve known were negative and lacked the agency to improve their lives. Their pathetic mindsets soured my mood, killed my willpower, and destabilized my emotions. In turn, I performed horribly throughout the day whether at work or around my family. Being around people who do not believe they are masters of their own destiny will kill your drive and secure your failure.
Save your emotional energy, time, and willpower by avoiding these people. Spend time around strong individuals who will strengthen and challenge you.
Your Internal Strength Will Serve You And The Virtuous
Lastly, I want to stress how all individuals have weaknesses. I’ve always struggled with anger, arrogance, and insecurity. My goal has always been to take my weaknesses and adjust them to better serve my ends. For example, I am angry when I do not succeed instead of angry at a world I cannot control. I direct my arrogance towards silly things, such as my ability to pick at my nails, so I feel humiliated when my ego becomes too large. Lastly, when I am insecure I focus on my roles as a husband and father which prevent me from feeling worthless.
You have to integrate your weaknesses to overcome them. Do not deny them or bury them away. Weak individuals seek to ignore what needs to be improved. Accept who you are and start working.
The techniques above will help you develop inner strength. As an individual, the better you are as a person, the more good you can and will do for the world. Never settle and give in. Always seek to improve yourself, so you can help others do the same.
Avoid the call to be weak and cruel. Avoid the fate of the insecure, the dominating, and the deceptive. Become a strong individual for the good of yourself and the world.
- Of the three types of weak individuals (the insecure, the dominant, and the deceptive) which type are you most likely to be? Do you suffer from constant insecurities and lash out because of this? Or are you always desperate to be right? Or do you manipulate others to get what you want?
- Do you seek power for the right reasons? Are you usually driven by petty revenge or do you want to make the world a better place?
- Of the items on the list, which one do you struggle with the most? What about the least?
- What are flaws and weaknesses in your character do you wish you could change? How will improve these flaws?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash