Mental Toughness: Optimistic Enthusiasm as a Form of Realism

For myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else. --Sir Winston Churchill

Mindset and developing mental toughness are often preached in the world of law enforcement but, how many people in our profession live the life, walk their talk of developing the mindset and creating and nurturing the skills (mental and physical) that make you safer and more effective on the street? How many organizations in the law enforcement profession have created the atmosphere, the right climate that helps in ensuring that proper attitudes are prevalent through the ranks? Are the command relationships established in your organization that develop mutual trust,  necessary in handling crisis and solving complex problems on the street?

 mental toughness

Seth Godin in his latest blog post asks: How does your organization respond to new opportunities? His question is directed to businesses but it got me to thinking about our profession. Are we open to new ideas, new ways of utilizing tactics and techniques or are we in law enforcement still wrapped up in the status quo and doing thing a certain way because its the way it’s always been done? What effect does this have on our effectiveness and safety as we challenge the status quo and respond and handle crises? What effect does optimism or pessimism have on the street cop as he deals with the unknowns and uncertainties of the job?

“If your organization is both pessimistic and operationally focused, then every new idea is a threat. It represents more work, something that could go wrong, a chance for disaster. People work to protect against the downside, to insulate against the market, to be sure that they won't get blamed for anything that challenges the system. In organizations like this, a new idea has to be proven to be better than the current status quo in all situations before it gets launched.

On the other hand, an organization filled with people who are rewarded for shaking things up and generating game-changing products and services just might discover that outcomes they are dreaming of are in fact what happen. The enthusiasm that comes from believing that this one might just resonate with the market is precisely the ingredient that's required to make something resonate.” ~Seth Godin

Are we learning from our past and leveraging lessons learned? Are we adapting our attitudes from pessimism and status quo, to that of optimism and creating and nurturing the mindset necessary to win in the moral, mental and physical dimensions or, are we still stuck in the zero-defects mentality and applying yesterdays tactics, following checklists  and policy and procedure blindly hoping to win? Are we CYA oriented or are we willing to take the calculated risks necessary to protect and serve and solve problems in our communities?  Good luck or good sound tactics be you a pessimist or an optimist, the choice is yours.

Stay Oriented!