Tap Into Your Inner Strength
2,400 years ago, a Greek mercenary army ended up in a terrifying situation. They had fought their way deep into Persia, helping a challenger to the Persian throne, Cyrus the Younger. Triumphant in all their battles, everything was going well for the Greek war party.
Suddenly the tide turned; Cyrus died and with him expired the reason for the Greek mercenaries being in Persia. Graciously, the Persians had offered the warriors safe passage on their way back to Greece, but then treacherously broke the deal—during an evening banquet, the Persians captured and murdered the Greek leaders. Leaderless, scared and surrounded by enemy troops, the soldiers knew they too would be killed in the morning—a depressed mood set in at the Greek camp.
Xenophon, a young man, accompanying the Greeks in Persia, along with a few remaining leaders, took charge of the 10,000 mercenaries. They knew that by breaking out of the camp and making their way home without Persian assistance, they would be beset by difficulties at every turn: mountainous territory, impassable rivers, lack of supplies and hostile tribes. To survive this ordeal, they would need to dig deep and find within themselves previously untapped inner strength.
In his book ‘Anabasis’, Xenophon describes the 10,000 Greeks’ journey back home. It’s one of the greatest stories of endurance and survival ever recorded.
Just like Xenophon and the 10,000 searched for and found inner strength, so can we all. We are unlikely to ever come across a situation as challenging as what they faced. But we still meet with difficulties. Life is not always easy, or even most of the time. We encounter problems every day. And for each of those troublesome circumstances, we can locate in ourselves untapped power to deal with them well:
Is your overbearing manager in one of his moods and picking on you? You’ll find patience and endurance to handle their stinging remarks while maintaining your cool. You’re the duck, and those comments are the water off your back.
Or you’re hurting at the gym putting in your reps. Your brain’s injury protection mechanism is kicking in too early—you feel sharply increasing pain levels. But you know that every additional rep from here on is ten times more effective. So you dig deep to push beyond the hurt and complete another three reps.
We always can find more inner strength to handle unpleasant conditions better.
There is an Amazing Hulk in each of us.
“In the case of everything that befalls you, remember to turn to yourself and see what faculty you have to deal with it. If you see a handsome lad or woman, you will find continence the faculty to employ here. If hard labour is laid upon you, you will find endurance. If reviling, you will find patience to bear evil. And if you habituate yourself in this fashion, your external impressions will not run away with you.” – Epictetus