This may seem like a surface level topic but I believe it goes much deeper than what you may be initially thinking. Yes physical strength comes to mind first and foremost. That is far from the whole picture, paired directly with objective strength is the mental cap that each individual sets upon themselves. Often people are limited by metal caps set upon themselves subconsciously far before an actual strength barrier is met. This cap comes mainly in two separate forms as intellectual and emotional. Some of this is good as the insane feats of strength that can sometimes arise in times of struggle would not be good for the body to do all the time.
Intellectual caps would show themselves as confusion. An inability to grasp what is happening. This is a normal part of learning a new skill but one that requires strength to push through. To continue forward is to accept the risk of future embarrassment and mistakes in the pursuit of this new skill. There is also a level of self forgiveness and patience that is required to avoid caving into frustration. Once you are aware that this is just part of the process you can sit with the discomfort until you are able to overcome it. Awareness is the first step to understanding and once this is understood one can work to improve upon it. As you improve your realize that this is a cyclical process as you grow and hit new barriers in each new pursuit.
Emotional caps on the other hand tend to show themselves as panic or freezing. When an emotional cap is met and one has not developed the necessary tools to get through it, it will result in an inability to respond appropriately to the situation. Having the ability to respond to any given situation is strength. Panic and freezing are responses that can be overcome with built strength, no one starts life with the skills to handle all situations so one must build the strength to do so. Working to overcome fears and weaknesses in safe situations can help you face fears and get through panic when it happens in your day to day life unexpectedly. Ensure you properly prepare with therapy or whatever else may be needed if it is an adequately powerful fear.
I think most would agree with this, even professional athletes would mostly agree that peoples limits are set mentally far more often then physically. Building mental toughness is apart of any athletes experience but does not solely happen within the physical realm. Pushing the body is a great way to start but you cannot ignore the mental side. Digging deep mentally to solve a problem is working a whole other type of mental strength. This is building your ability to focus. To be in a state of confusion long enough to start to see a way out. Learning how to navigate this state and propel yourself to a solution will result in an ability to understand physical problems much more quickly and help you build your skills.
Doing hard physical things gives you more energy and teaches you to push through fear and exhaustion. If you neglect the physical side you will find yourself in a mental fog and low on energy far more rapidly than if you were to build physical strength as well. They compliment each other and each will only make the other stronger resulting in a holistic strength that allows you to take on each realm with a calm and calculated response that is in your best interest.
So what is strength? Strength is the ability to handle difficult situations in a variety of situations from solving complex problem to fending off an attacker to keeping your cool with a screaming toddler. Strength is being able to handle what life throws your way whatever the circumstance. And that does not mean that weakness is the inverse, weakness is actually not only about a lack of having the strength for a given situation but also choosing not to learn how to handle that situation in the future.
Do you agree with my definition of strength? Let me know in the comments below. Follow my blog for email updates on when new posts go live.