We all face challenges in life. But we all differ from one another the way we deal with the challenges. Some of us easily cave in under pressure, while some would emerge triumphant with each challenge encountered. It may simply appear that the first group belongs to weak minded and the second strong-minded. Then what is it that makes all the difference between the two? One can say the level of mental endurance.
With a high level of physical endurance, one can carry on with physical work for long time without getting exhausted. Similarly, with mental endurance one can stay course with the task at hand, until it is accomplished, without being distracted by challenges. With low levels of mental endurance, a hint of obstacles is enough to make us give up.
The good thing is we can boost the endurance level with mental exercise and will power, the way we can enhance our physical strength with physical exercise.
The key is developing the ability to focus on one thing at a time. It just means paying undivided attention to the work at hand. Some people find it difficult to live without some sort of background noise. For instance, some feel they work better listening to music. Unfortunately, human mental makeup is such that only one thing occupies the mind at any given time. When we try to read and listen to something at the same time, the attention oscillate between the two and we feel we are doing both. But we may end up with poor absorption on both counts.
A famous statement by Swami Vivekananda that difference in individuals lie in the level of their concentration is apt to quote in this context. Paying undivided attention to one thing helps enhance concentration levels, as well as it strengthens self discipline, will power and mental endurance.
To develop the ability for undivided attention, we may start with small activities that truly interest us. Even solving puzzles and crosswords, which requires focus and intense brain activity is helpful. During other activities like painting, observing oneself will help prevent the train of random thoughts that blunt the attention.
Once concentration level is raised, other things follow. And we will have the mental endurance that helps surmount every challenge in life.