FORMER AUSTRALIAN CRICKET CAPTAIN, STEVE WAUGH, was known as the ‘Iceman,’ due his ability to stay absolutely focused no matter the pressure upon him. For us, our need is no different. Our lives are equally pressurised from time to time and we need ways of adjusting to this pressure.
Waugh told Test opening bat, Justin Langer, “If everything is going well, don’t get too carried away with yourself... And when things aren’t going so well, don’t get too down about it. Try to stay on the same emotional level wherever you can.”
This is the call to Adulthood so far as the character of our behaviour in the world is concerned. Being adult is the state of being reasonable, responsible, rational, reliable, realistic and logical—as much as possible. For better or worse, the person behaving adultly responds basically the same way each time, with no raucous highs and no screaming lows. (This is no dig at us who do have highs and lows—something I can personally attest to.)
The call to Adulthood is an ideal to strive for. More and more we do it, the more we’ll be adult, and the more we’ll show ourselves mature under the biggest of life’s pressures.
The rationale behind wanting to be adult is we chart a smoother course, for ourselves and others involved with us. We make fewer mistakes due to emotional upsets of pride. We therefore have less regrets. Our expectations don’t get ahead of reality so much as we finally understand that the vast majority of things cannot be safely predicted in life—not in the complete sense we’d like anyway.
And to the positive, our lives are simpler, wiser in effect, and we gauge the stuff of life not to finite situations and ‘feelings’ but to a broader view that sees a more truthful, and therefore more reliable, landscape. It’s the life prepared to take the emotional back seat, delaying judgment, verily aware of the snares common to life.
Mental Toughness – the Name of the Game
This, in sum, is the resilient life of mental toughness—an approach everyone needs if they care for genuine success in life and in relationships. We can control very little in this life. As we watch the tides of chance ebb and flow, with divine favour and cursing arriving indiscriminately, we shall learn that life is a fickle thing that warrants most of all a shrugging of the shoulders and a serendipitous laugh, independent of what she—that is, life—throws our way.
It’s the only way, as we remain focused on the real game. We’re less distractible, more prepared and our capacities for living are enhanced.
Come to wisdom in this way. When she finds us companionable she’ll inhabit us more and more, showing us continually more of her unsounded depths.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.
 Justin Langer, Seeing the Sunrise (Sydney, Australia: Allen & Unwin, 2008), p. 67.