Strength is tangible. I know tangible means something you can touch, and you can’t really reach out and touch strength…but it’s something so prevalent from the tips of your toes to the top of your head…you can actually feel it.

Strength is something you carry around everywhere like your wallet. But it’s more than that. It’s in your head. In your heart. Strong people make Ralph Waldo Emerson right when he said, “What you do speaks so loud, I cannot hear what you say.” You don’t have to hear a person is strong. It is evident in everything they do.   

The difference between strength and toughness is that with toughness you can take a hit. Strength you can impose your will. Both are to be strived for, but being tough will only get you bruised and beaten. You need strength to get out of the corner. To beat the opponent back into the other corner. Strength will take you wherever you want to go.

I didn’t know how little strength I had, until I started building it.

I built my strength from learning from the Book of 5 Rings and Hagakure. I built my strength from writing  Urban Samurai. Not just because this is about toughness or strength or swords, because this is a passion of mine, and I’m pursuing it. That passion, that life in my body, has given me strength. I know it.

Four days ago, I received bad news per my career that if I got a year ago would have crushed my spirit. Sent me into a tailspin. Inner dialog would have flowed in sync with the alcohol I consumed. In this case, two days later, I made something else happen in a different area of my job…a better opportunity.

Not out of desperation. Out of confidence. I have built a toughness that has allows me to take a punch. And strength that allows me the ability to counter.

Strength to me is the lethal combination of confidence and ability. A person with incredible abilities but no confidence is near worthless. A person with incredible confidence and little ability is hollow. And while yes, this is mental strength I’m talking about, there are physical and mental tools needed to also impose your will.

Do you have strength already?

If you do, you may not know that answer right away. If you don’t you probably know it immediately, or you’re doing a hell of a job fooling yourself. I did.

So, how do you build strength?

A weak kid can start going to the gym and start lifting weights. After a year of regular workouts, that kid will be stronger. After 3 years of regular workouts, that kid will be strong. Period. And his biceps, triceps, quads, etc. are already in his body, all he needs to do is work them out.

Everything you need to be strong is already inside of you already. Everything. All the skills you need. All the muscles you need. Are you working them out? Are you working them out the right way? Your brain is a muscle. Do you work out your brain?

I read something in Newsweek that said many people have been claiming to boost brain function by eating certain foods, or doing certain things, and the only things scientists are pretty sure about is physical exercise and meditation. They mention video games as another, but I lump that video game claim in with logic puzzles and chess, and other ‘thinking games’. Games that don’t call for you to recall, but for you to really consider. These three things work your brain out.

To build strength read more, study people more, learn from anyone and everyone.

We all have heard that expression ‘play to your strengths.’ Think of where you want to be strong, and become an expert in that area. Make that place, where you want to be, an area of strength that you can play to.

Like everything great, this takes work. Like everything great, this is worth it.