Learn To Toughen Up

I was rereading the book “Devil At My Heels” recently, which is about the life of a man named Louis Zamperini.

This was a man who went through a lot of hardships in his life. More than any person needs to.

During WWII, Louis was a bombardier, and on May 27, 1943, his B-24 plane crashed into the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Louis, and two other people who were in the plane with him, managed to survive the crash.

But for the next 47 days, Louis drifted 2,000 miles in the Pacific, waiting in vain to be rescued.

During this time, Louis had hardly any food or water.

At night, storms would form, which would create monstrous waves. Some as high as 100ft. Louis would have to tie himself to the raft just so he wouldn’t be separated from it.

During the day, Louis had to fight off sharks.

And at one point, an enemy plane had come by and started shooting at the raft, forcing Louis to jump into the shark infested waters and hide from enemy fire for hours at a time

When Louis finally did get rescued, it was because he was captured by enemy soldiers.

For the next 2 years, Louis was a prisoner of war. He was tortured, humiliated, routinely beaten, starved, and forced into slave labor.

The only reason Louis made it through all this was because he was mentally tough.

Unfortunately today, the modern world has made everyone weaker.

Throughout the entire war, Louis’ problems were a result of shortage. Not enough food. Not enough water.

For people like us, however, the problems we face are now mostly because of excess. We have too much. Too much food. Too much time to relax. And too many choices.

For this reason, people today are no longer tough. Louis, however, was tough.

This is why I think it’s important to build into your daily lifestyle something that’s hard. Even if it’s something small. This can be taking cold showers, lifting weights, waking up at 5am, doing martial arts, or running every day.

Whatever it is, do something every day that toughens you up. If Louis wasn’t tough, he wouldn’t have survived long out on that raft. And he wouldn’t have accomplished all the great things he did afterwards either.


9 thoughts on “Learn To Toughen Up

  1. another beautiful put !

    we have actually lost our skills , our skills for survival .
    as everything has turned up so easy , we often find us swayed emotionally and find it hard to balance because we haven’t learnt it . For me even have things in excess we don’t know who we are and how to use them !!!

    your posts are always thought provoking

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Unbelievable. You rightly called Louis one of the toughest humans, as surviving and above all thriving under such hard circumstances really demands a lot from you.
    I actually liked your thought of doing something tough daily to gradually and eventually make oneself tougher.
    Well-written and aptly explained, Vincent. 🙂


  3. Wow Great book, shows how important is to be mentally strong. I couldn’t imagine being in the position he was in, and surviving. I love your advice, and anytime I complain or want to give up I will think of him. Thanks for sharing the awesome book Vincent!


  4. I understand your message, but I just think it’s more correct to say that many people even nowadays have to behave in a way we call “tough” because of the “tough” circumstances they live in. I may be as tough as Louis or a coward like many other people today or in the past (not that I want to find out).
    And yes, I like the “tough”-part-of-a-day idea at the end.


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