Updated: Nov 10, 2021
Unstoppable determines the ability to commit to success. There is nothing fragile about it. Being unstoppable is the ultimate act of self-confidence. Of course, success itself isn’t always easy to define. There is the definition our parents or society provided to us. Then there is our own inner definition we might not even be fully aware of. Ultimately, success is what provides us happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment and personal growth – even when it means breaking with traditional views.
Whatever you choose to call success, being unstoppable will demand a lot out of you. Getting there will take clear focus and determination. There is a lot of discomfort that must be overcome along the way. A growing number of people see themselves as too fragile to deal with emotional discomfort. The results are growing anxiety disorders and depression. It stops us in our tracks.
Emotional fragility, quite simply, is the inability to experience uncomfortable emotions without becoming derailed. Anger will simmer and explode as rage. Disappointment turns into despondency and depression. Fear and criticisms can rapidly turn into panic attacks and chronic anxiety.
There are clear symptoms of emotional fragility. There are also practical cures that can put you back on the path to being unstoppable. First, let’s look at how fragility can stop you:
Consider these questions:
Are you able to make decisions (without analysis paralysis?) Choosing a career, a life partner, a marketing plan for your small business, an investment strategy, a lifestyle, or long-term goals require the ability to make decisions with confidence. Polling others for their opinions (or reassurance) extensively as well as an endless cycle of research, educational certifications/degrees, and ongoing planning without action are all examples of indecisive behavior. At some point a choice must be made, and the result is action.
Are you able to deal with adversity? Adversity abounds on the road of life, and choosing to pursue your dreams does not make you immune. There will be a few people and circumstances in your way. Are you strong enough to deal with adversity, failures, redirects and obstacles?
Can you handle criticism? No two people agree on everything, but we all have opinions, and many of us are happy to share them. Add to those external critics, the endless judgmental voices in our heads. Listening to them all is impossible and crazy-making. Handling criticism requires discernment. When you are self-aware, you can consciously choose whether a particular criticism has truth in it that might make you better, wiser or stronger. Otherwise, you can choose to not act on a piece of advice, without any guilt or resentment.
Are you persistent? Some things take a long time to accomplish. Earning and saving $5 million will take most people many years. Losing 100 lbs. takes time. Are you tough enough to persist? Fragile people aren’t persistent.
Are you trustworthy? Trustworthy people stick to their word, and honor their commitments – to themselves as well as others. Of course, conditions do change, and people do as well. If you are unable to do what you committed to, can you communicate and help ensure a reasonable plan B? Are you proactive, responsive, clear and reliable? Do you keep your promises to yourself?
Are you flexible? Can you change course when the situation calls for it? Or would you rather stick to what you know? How much change can you handle before you crumble? It’s not easy to take a new approach, especially if you have to start from scratch.
Are you generous? Generosity is the act of giving energy (time, money, knowledge) to others because you have an awareness that your own supply is ample rather than scarce. Generous people are generous with themselves first. They forgive themselves of past mistakes, so they can more readily forgive others. They take generous care of themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Most importantly, they love themselves, warts and all, generously, so they are able to be present lovingly for others.
Are you able to detach from a situation? Life is universally impersonal, and believe it or not, so are other people. It can be so easy to take a comment personally or to assume someone has unkind intentions. The truth is, people’s comments and actions are generally a much better indicator of their own experience and situations than any reflection on you. Detaching reduces your distractions, and allows you to accept a situation. Then you can respond appropriately to what is happening, rather than inferring motives, or trying to manipulate other people’s behaviors.
Do you stand for something? Values, beliefs, ideals, passions, purpose and vision are all expressions of our essential self. They are dynamic, rather than fixed, however, they form the necessary structure of our existence. Your individual goals and objectives are fragile themselves (if not entirely non-existent!) without a strong sense of your own meaning. It is difficult to be unstoppable if you are unsure what matters in the first place.
These are the hallmark qualities of someone who is unstoppable, and where they are lacking, fragility is present. Ultimately, fragility is about our cultural lack of fluency with emotions. But if you find yourself struggling in any of the areas above, what can you do to increase your emotional fluency and become unstoppable?
Basic practices to build your emotional muscle:
Become Curious. Not every thought deserves your attention – nor is it even necessarily true. Psychology agrees that our emotions precede our thoughts, but are not always registered at a conscious level. When we become curious about our thoughts and our feelings, observing them without judgement, they lose their sting and we learn a huge amount about ourselves. When we sense a strong emotion, simply ask yourself, why do I feel that way? Or what does this remind me of? Or – is this true?
Respect Yourself. We have all done things we were ashamed of or have regretted. However, the only way to restore a sense of high self-esteem is to act differently. The best way to do that is three-fold. First, redirect the negative internal chatter. Practice positive affirmations, which are a form of self-hypnosis, and through repetition can reprogram your habitual thought patterns. Know your inherent worthiness. Be aware of the promises you make to yourself (including how you will behave), and honor them in order to restore a sense of trust in yourself you may be lacking. Know what is acceptable and unacceptable to you personally, and then set a boundary. Remember: a boundary is something you will not cross, not something another person will not cross. So, if your boundary is infringed on, you know what action you will take to ensure you are in alignment with your own values.
Embrace Discomfort. Transformation happens when we become willing to do what we have not done. We prefer coping with chronic mild discomfort that the terror of the unknown. However, that is where real change is born. You don’t have to go into your darkest traumas – just take baby steps. When you feel hurt or afraid, first, simply acknowledge it for what it is: pain or fear. It doesn’t feel good. But that is all it is – a natural sign that a part of your needs to be acknowledged and attended to.
Stop Distracting Yourself. Our distractions take many forms – from pure busyness, to binging on Netflix, shopping, and yes, addictions. Some are more socially acceptable than others, but what they all have in common is that they distract us from our feelings and a clearer view of ourselves.
Recognize the Source of Your Power is Within You. Many people view the source of their “okay-ness” as outside of themselves. They might see money, material possessions, relationships, status, praise, or others’ respect and attention, as the source of their ability to feel good. In fact, all these things can feel tremendous. However, they also feel distinctly unsatisfying if we achieve them without a strong sense of our own inner power. When we are able to “plug in” to our inner self (our soul, higher self, God within, spirit self, etc.) not only do we experience a greater sense of success and well-being, we are less affected by external circumstances. The tsunamis of emotional upheaval resolve into gentle waves of awareness.
Certainly, every individual’s journey from fragile to unstoppable is as individual as their DNA. Nonetheless building a symbiotic relationship with our emotions allows us to step into a place of personal leadership instead of a constant cycle of victimhood. Owning who we are is a beautiful process that restores us to our wholeness which is utterly unstoppable. The success that comes from that journey is sweet and satisfying.